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Full text of "The practical works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, with a life of the author, and a critical examination of his writings"

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THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 



THE 



>■ 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



THE REV. RICHARD BAXTER: 



A UFE OF THE AUTHOR, 



AND 



A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF HIS WRITINGS, 

BY THE 

REV. WILLIAM ORME, 

Al'THOR OF " THE LIFK OF JOHN OWEN, D.D.j" "bIBLIOTHECA BIBLICA," ETC 



VOL. VIL 
IN TWENTY-THREE VOLUMES. 



LONDON: 
JAMES DUNCAN, 37, PATERNOSTER ROW. 

MDCCCXXX. 



I 



1 I 




LONDON: 



PRINTED BY MILLS, JOWETT, AND MILLS, 
BOLT-COURT, FLEET-STREET. 



THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 



VOLUME VII. 



CONTAINING 



A TREATISE OF CONVERSION; A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED j 
NOW OR NEVER. 



I 



VOL. Vll 



RICHARD EDWARDS, CRANE COURT, FLEET STREET, LONDON. 



CONTENTS 



OF 



THE SEVENTH VOLUME. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

Preface * • iii 

Introduction 13 

The Text explained 15 

How Conversion, Repentance, Regeneration, Vocation, Sanc- 

tification, agree or differ 18 

What an unconverted state is, and what Conversion is, ac- 
tively and passively taken 22 

The first part of Conversion is the change of the mind, 

1 . From ignorance, by illumination 24 

2. From inconsiderateness to sober consideration 25 

3. From unbelief to true believing 26 

4. It healeth their errors about God, and the necessary mat- 
ters of salvation 28 

The second part of Conversion is on the heart or will, which 
hath, 

1 . A new inclination and complacency 32 

2. New intentions or ends 38 

3. New choice of means j 1. Principal, Christ and his Spirit 44 

2. Subservient j as, 

(I.) Confession of sin, with godly sorrow 51 

(2.) Earnest prayer to God- 55 

(3.) The word read or heard 59 

(4.) The communion of saints 63 

4. The will hath new resolutions 67 

5. The next part is in new affections, which are, 

(1.) A new love and hatred 71 

(2.) New desires and aversion 72 

(3.) New delight and sorrow 73 

(4.) New hope and despair 76 

(5.) New courage and fear 78 

(6.) New anger 81 

(7.) New content and discontent * 85 

Conversion makes men to become as children : in humility, 

teachableness, and beginning the world anew 87 

Conversion changeth the life, which, 

1 . Beginneth with a holy covenant with God, described . . 98 



CONTENTS- 

PAGE 

2. Sin is actually forsaken, and cast away 104 

3. Even omissions : the man hath another work to do. . . . 109 

4. A new tongue followeth a new heart Ill 

5. And new company, usually. 114 

6. Conversion makes men compassionate the unconverted 1 15 



CHAPTER II. 



That none but the Converted can be saved, is proved, 

1 . From express words of Scripture 120 

2. By Scripture reasons : 

1. From Christ's office 122 

2. From the drift of the Gospel 125 

3. From the work of the ministry 126 

4. From God's providences 127 

5. From all men's duty ................ 1 138 

Quest. Are there not many born of godly parents, baptized, 

and well educated, and that need no Conversion ? Answered 129 

Reasons: 1. From God's absolute dominion and will 131 

2. From man's state, and God's government 132 

3. From God's nature 134 

4. From God's offer, and their refusal of salvation 136 

5. Frorh the flat impossibility 139 



CHAPTER III. 



I 



Use 1 . There is a heaven to be obtained 141 

2. Of examination : whether you are converted. Reasons 

moving hereto 143 

Things to be inquired after 151 

Signs of an unconverted person 154 

3. For awakening, and humbling the unconverted 1^6 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE MISERY OF THE UNCONVEKTED. 

1. They are no children of God, and members of Christ. ... 151 

2. They have no hope of salvation till converted I64 

3. No sin pardoned iqj 

4. They are satan's slaves I70 

5. They please not God • 174 

6. Are in continual danger of hell 181 

7. No cause of one hour's peace and true comfort 182 

8. Their many warnings will multiply their misery 184 

9. The further they go the worse 186 

,10. Lose a hfe of blessedness, which they might have 18/ 



CONTENTS. V 
CHAPTER V. 

THE BENEFITS OF CONVERSION, 

PAGE 

1. To be delivered from the power of satan 190 

2. United to Christ 193 

3. A member of the catholic church 195 

4. All sin pardoned ibid. 

5. Reconciled to God » -^ » 197 

6. Adopted sons of God 198 

7. Have the Spirit of Christ 199 

8. The promises are theirs ibid. 

9. All their service pleaseth God 200 

10. Angels attend them ' 01 

11. Communion with the church 202 

12. Christ's intercession 205 

13. All things are theirs, and work for their good • • • 208 

14. In a safe case to die 210 

15. The heirs of glory, which they shall possess 211 

16. The new life is the happy beginning of everlasting life, 

and peace, and joy 215 

17. No evil canbefalhim, which may be a sufficient reason to 

lay by these joys 218 

18. The further they go, the greater their happiness 222 

19. Conversion makes men useful to others ••••.... 225 

20. It rejoiceth the angels, and Christ himself 226 

A persuasion on the foregoing grounds 228 



CHAPTER VI. 
A Use of Exhortation ; set on by ten questions 230 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE HINDRANCES OF CONVERSION, WITH DIRECTIONS CONTRARY TO 

THEM. 

Hindrance 1. The wilful neglect of means, where the cavils 

against the means are answered 25 1 

Hindrance 2. Bad company 262 

Hindrance 3. Gross ignorance of those truths that should 

be the instruments of conversion 265 

Hindrance 4. Unbelief * 270 

Hindrance 5. Inconsiderateness 272 

Hindrance 6. Hardness of heart 274 

Hindrance 7- The great esteem and interest of the world* • • • 283 

Hindrance 8. Custom in sin, subduing reason to the flesh* • • • 286 
Hindrance 9. Foolish self-love, cherishing presumption and 

false hopes 288 

Hindrance 10. Counterfeit graces, or hulf-conversion, occa- 
sioning self-deceit 290 



vi CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Hindrance 11. Living among strong temptations and occasions 

of sin 291 

Hindrance 12. The scandalous lires, and many opinions of 

professors 293 

Hindrance 13. The ill education of children 295 

Hindrance 14. Striving against the Spirit of grace 297 

Hindrance 15. Unresolved ness, and half-purposes 298 

Hindrance 16. Delay 302 

Hindrance 17. When good beginnings are not followed on • • 304 
Hindrance 18. A misunderstanding of some Scriptures, and 
erroneous thoughts of God's ways. As 1 . Mistaking the na- 
ture of Conversion. 2. Thinking sanctification is but acon- 
ceit. 3. Or that godliness is more ado than needs : an- 
swered in twelve questions. 4. Trusting to their own good 
meaning, and works. 5. Misunderstanding particular pro- 
mises : as that '' Whoever believeth, calleth on the name 
of the Lord," &c. '' shall be saved." 6. False thoughts of 
predestination, and God's grace. 7.111 conclusions from 
men's impotency. 8. And from the unprofitableness of our 
willing and running. 9. And from God's hardening. 10. 
Placing holiness in mere opinions and siding. 1 1 . False con- 
ceits against ordinances: 1. Family duties. 2. Against 
joining with our assemblies, on pretence of their pollution : 
of our no-ministry : no-baptism. 3. Against singing Psalms 304 

Hindrance 19. A proud, unteachable frame of Spirit 323 

Hindrance 20. Wilful obstinacy 324 

Conclusion 325 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED 

TO TURN AND LIVE. 

A PREFACE to the Unsanctified, exhorting themto Turn ) and 

answering some objections cccxxxiii 

The text opened 355 

Doct. I. It is the unchangeable law of God that wicked men 

must Turn or Die 357 

Proved , 358 

Object. God will not be so unmerciful as to damn us : Answered 359 

Use 362 

Who are wicked men, and what Conversion is ; and how we 

may know whether we are wicked or converted 363 

Applied 369 

Doct. II. It is the promise of God that the wicked shall live if 

they will but turn j that is, unfeignedly and thoroughly turn 378 

Proved 380 

Doct. III. Godtaketh pleasure in men's conversion and salva- 
tion ; but not in their death or damnation. He had rather 

they would Turn and Live, than go on and Die : Expounded 383 

Proved 386 



CONTENTS. vii 

PAGE 

Doct. IV. The Lord hath confirmed it to us by his oath, that he 
hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he Turn 
and Live : that he may leave man no pretence to doubt of it. 389 

Use. Who is it then that takes pleasure in men's sins and 
death ? Not God, nor ministers, nor any good men . . 390 

Doct. V. So earnest is God for the Conversion of sinners, that he 
doublethhis exhortations with vehemency,"Turn ye,turnye.** 394 

Applied 396 

Some motives to obey God's call and Turn 397 

Doct. VI. The Lord condescendeth to reason the case with 
unconverted sinners, and to ask them why they will Die. 406 

A strange disputation. 1 . For the question. 2. The disputants ibid. 

Wicked men will die, or destroy themselves ibid. 

Use. The sinner's cause is certainly unreasonable 409 

Their seeming reasons confuted 414 

Doct. VII. If after all this, men will not Turn, it is not long of 
God that they are condemned, but of themselves, even of 
their own wilfulness. They Die because they will Die, 
that is, because they will not Turn 425 

Use 1 . How unfit the wicked are to charge God with their 
damnation. It is not because God is unmerciful, but 
because they are cruel and merciless to themselves 430 

Object. We cannot convert ourselves j nor have we freewiU. 
Answered 434 

2. The subtlety of satan j the deceitfulness of sin j and the 
folly of sinners manifested 435 

3. No wonder if the wicked would hinder the conversion 

and salvation of others ibid. 

4 . Man is the greatest enemy to himself . , .;-*^.i; . ...... 436 

Man's destruction is of himself, proved . .» vu/ irr ibid. 

The heinous aggravations of self-destruction 441 

The concluding Exhortation 443 

Ten Directions for those that had rather Turn than Die . . . 446 
Five prayers : one for families j one for the Lord's day ; one 

for a penitent sinner ; one for children and servants j one 

in the method of the Lord's prayer, being an exposition of it. 452 



NOW OR NEVER. 



Preface. The question resolved whether a man may be saved 
in any religion, that is serious in practising it? No religion 
will save a man that is not true to it, and serious, and dili- 
gent in practising it. Why the author rather publisheth 
such common necessary things, than confutation of the ma- 
ny calumnies published against himself. His expectations 
from men j and answers with Tertullian about sufferings. 
An advertisement about a passage cited out of the Homilies. 



viii CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

His justification for opposing scorners and enemies of holi- 
ness, out of the church Homilies. A passage about Philip 

-Nerius, the Father of the Oratorians cccclxxiv 

The text opened 487 

Doct. I. The work of this life cannot be done when this 

lifeis ended 488 

Doct, IT. Therefore, while we have time, we must do the 

work of this present life, with vigour and diligence .... ibid. 

1. Time cannot be recalled 489 

2. Life shall never be here restored 491 

3. There is no doing this work in the life to come 493 

What it is to do it with our might 494 

Some cautions 496 

Instances of the work to be done with our might 497 

What might have we ? Answered 508 

How to rouse up ourselves to seriousness ibid. 

What to think of them that oppose a holy, serious diligence 

in the service of God 511 

The greatness of the sin 513 

Especially if they are preachers 515 

What it is in religion that hypocrites hate 517 

Seneca's testimony for seriousness 520 

A terrible passage in our Homilies against scorners at godliness 523 

The greatness of their sin 524 

Object. It is not godliness, but humour, faction, disobedience, 

hypocrisy, &c. Answered 532 

Advice to the flocks 535 

Object. Be not righteous overmuch. Answered 537 

Exhortation to serious diligence • «• 538 

Object. 1 . I have lost my time. Answered 544 

Object. "■-.. I have opposition and hindrances 545 

Object. 3. 1 am dull and cold 546 

Directions and cautions 547 

Reasons for pleading this cause with ministers 549 

The Exhortation re-enforced 551 

The devil's design to make use of diflFerences in smaller 

matters against Christianity and godliness itself 554 

Such differences, sects, divisions, shall be no excuse to the 
ungodly, but aggravate their sin, as being against that 

which all sects and parties were agreed in 555 

What that religion is that we call men to be serious and dili- 
gent in, 1. To live according to the principles of faith 

that among Christians are past controversy. Ten named ibid. 

2 .To do that materially that all are agreed on. Ten duties named 56Q 
3. To do that in the very manner of God's service that 

all are agreed in. Ten particulars mentioned 564 

Object. I will never believe that God delights in long and 

earnest prayers, or is moved by the words of men. Answered 574 
Object, Is not your strict observance of the Lord's day a 

controversy. Answered 576 

The Conclusion exhortatory 577 



TREATISE 



OF 



CONVERSION, 



J^R CACHED AND NOW PUBLISHED FOR THE USE OF THOSE THAT 

ARE STRANGERS TO A TRUE CONVERSION, ESPECIALLY 

THE GROSSLY IGNORANT AND UNGODLY. 



If an^ man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things are passed away ; behold 
all things are become new. 

2 Cor. v. 17. 



VOL. VII. 



TO THE INHABITANTS 



BOROUGH AND FOREIGN 



KIDDERMINSTER. 



Dearly beloved Friends in the Lord, 

As it was the unfeigned love of your souls, that hath hither- 
to moved me much to print v^^hat I have done, that you might 
have the help of those truths, which God hath acquainted 
me with, when I am dead and gone, so is it the same affec- 
tion that hath persuaded me here to send you this familiar 
discourse. It is the same that you heard preached : and 
the reasons that moved me to preach it, do move me now to 
publish it ; that if any of you have forgot it, it may be 
brought to your remembrance ; or if it worked not upon 
you in the hearing, yet in the deliberate perusal it may work. 
I bless the Lord that there are so many among you that 
know by experience the nature of conversion, which is the 
cause of my abundant affection towards you, above any 
other people that I know, (especially in that you also walk 
in so much humility, unity, and peace, when pride and divi- 
sions have caused so many ruins abroad). But I see that 
there is no place or people on earth that will answer our de- 
sires, or free us from those troubles that constantly attend 
our earthly state. I have exceeding cause to rejoice in very 
many of you ; but in many also I have cause of sorrow. 
Long have I travailed (as Paul speaks. Gal. iv. 19.) as in 



IV PREPACK. 

birth, till Christ be formed in you. For this have I studied 
and prayed, and preached ; for this have I dealt with you in 
private exhortation ; for this have I sent you all such books 
as J conceived suitable to your needs : and yet to the grief 
of my soul I must speak it, the lives of many of you declare 
that this great work is yet undone. I believe God, and 
therefore I know that you must every soul of you be con- 
verted, or condemned to everlasting punishment. And 
knowing this, I have told it you over and over again : I 
have shewed you the proof and reasons of it, and the cer- 
tain misery of an unconverted state : I have earnestly be- 
sought you, and begged of you to return ; and if I had 
tears at command, I should have mixed all these exhortations 
with my tears ; and if I had but time and strength, (as I 
have not,) I should have made bold to have come more to 
you, and sit with you in your houses, and entreated you on 
the behalf of your souls, even twenty times, for once that I 
have entreated you. The God that sent me to you knows 
that my soul is grieved for your blindness, and stubborn- 
ness, and wickedness, and misery, more than for all the 
losses or crosses in the world, and that my heart's desire 
and prayer for you to God, is, that you may yet be con- 
verted and saved. But alas ! I see not the answer of my 
desires, some few of you (andi thank God they be but few) 
will not so much as come to me, nor be willing that I should 
come to you to be catechised or instructed. Some of you still 
quarrel with the holy way in which you must walk if ever you 
will be saved. Some of you give up yourselves to the world, 
and thrust God out of your hearts and houses, and have not so 
much as a chapter read, or an earnest prayer put up to God 
nor once a savoury word of heaven, from morning to night. 
I would there were none of you that secretly hate the dili- 
gent strictness that God hath commanded us, and think this 
daily care for our salvation to be more ado than needs ; as 
if you had found out something else, that better deserved 
your care and diligence, and would better pay you for it. 
Too many among you are carping and cavilling against those 
humble, godly Christians whom you should carefully imi- 
tate ; you are hearkening after and aggravating all their 
infirmities, and charging them as hypocrites, because they 
will not be as careless as yourselves : but you consider not 



PREFACF. V 

that in so doing, you censure yourselves, and speak the 
greatest terror to your souls, that you can imagine ; for if 
they that go so far be hypocrites, what will become of you 
that come not near them? If they that set their minds on 
the life to come, and think nothing too much that they can 
do to be saved, be yet but hypocrites ; if they that dare not 
swear, or curse, or drink, or whore, or deceive, or wilfully 
live in any sin, are yet but hypocrites ; what then shall be- 
come of such as you, that so much neglect a holy life, and 
live so much to the world and flesh, and never did a quar- 
ter so much as they for the saving of your souls? If the 
righteous themselves are scarcely saved, (that is, with much 
striving and suffering, and with much ado,) and if hypocrites 
cannot be saved at all ; where then shall the ungodly and 
the sinners appear*? Your Judge hath told you that " ex- 
cept your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the 
scribes and pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the 
kingdom of heaven ^" If these men then be no better than 
pharisees, you must exceed them, or there is no possibility 
of your salvation. Go beyond them first, and then you may 
the better condemn them. Till then, you doubly condemn 
yourselves that come so short of them. If malice did not 
blind you, you would have seen that this stone which you 
cast at others, would fly back in your faces. 

But above all, it is the odious, swinish sin of tippling 
and drunkenness, and such like sensuality, that declareth 
too many of you to be yet strangers to conversion. I have 
told you the danger of it : I have shewed you the word of 
God against it, resolving that drunkards shall not inherit 
the kingdom of God ^, and commanding us not to keep com- 
pany with you, or to eat with you ^. I have told you, and 
told you an hundred times, with what a face these sins will 
look upon you in the end. And yet all will not do, for 
aught yet I see, as I found you I must leave you ; and after 
all my pains and prayers, instead of rejoicing in the hopes of 
your salvation, I must part with you in sorrow, and appear 
against you before the Lord, as a witness of your wilfulness, 
and negligence, and impenitency. Ah Lord ! is there no 
remedy, but I must leave so many of my poor neighbours 

» 1 Pet. iv. 17, 18. Matt, xxiii. 33. •» Matt. v. 20. 

c 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. ^ 1 Cor. v. 11—13. 



VI PREFACE. 

in the power of satan, and in a slavery to their flesh, and a 
contempt of heaven, and a wilful neglect of a holy life? Is 
there no persuading them to cast away their known and 
wilful sin ; and to seek first the kingdom of God and his 
righteousness ? Must I see them condemned by Christ that 
would have saved them ? Must my preaching and persua- 
sions be brought in against them, that were intended by me 
for their conversion and salvation ? O, what is the matter, 
that we cannot prevail with reasonable men in so plain a 
case ? Can they imagine that sin is better than holiness ; 
or that it is better to obey their flesh than God ? Do they 
think that this life will last always ? Or that the pleasures 
of sin will never have an end ? Or that they shall never be 
called to a reckoning for all this ? Can they imagine that 
heaven is not worthy to be sought, and eternal things to be 
preferred before those that are transitory ? Or that a care- 
less, loose, and fleshly life will be better at last than a life 
of diligence, obedience, and holiness ? O that we did but 
know what to say to these men that would go to their 
hearts, and bring them to their wits, or what to do for them 
that might turn them from their sin, and fetch them home 
to God, and save them. Is there no hope to prevail with 
them before they find themselves in hell ? Poor miserable 
souls ! O that I knew but what to do for you, that might 
do you good, and save you before it be too late. But alas ! 
what should we do more ? If my life lay* on it, I cannot 
persuade a drunkard from his filthy drunkenness, nor a co- 
vetous man from his worldly mind and life, how much less 
to a thorough conversion, and a heavenly conversation ? 
The example of their godly neighbours at the next doors 
will not allure them, but they will go on towards hell with 
the voice of prayers and exhortations in their ears ! The 
reproofs of their neighbours do but anger them, and they 
cry out, that all is said in malice : as if it were a malicious 
thing to go about to save them from sin and hell. Minis- 
ters cannot prevail with them in public nor in private. 
Many of them will speak me fair ; but they will not be per- 
suaded to turn and live a holy life. And if neither neigh- 
bours, nor friends, nor ministers can be heard; if con- 
science itself cannot be heard ; if the God that made them, 
if Christ that bought them cannot be heard ; if the plain- 



PREFACE. Vll 

est Scripture cannot be regarded ; ^f mercies and afflictions, 
if heaven and hell cannot prevail to draw a sinner to be 
willing to be saved, and for so reasonable a matter, as to let 
go his filthy vice and vanity, and to be ruled by his Maker 
rather than by his flesh ; then what remedy, and who shall 
pity them that sees them in damnation ? 

Neighbours, my request to you is now but this much ; 
and as your friend, as your teacher, I beseech you deny me 
not so small a matter : even that you will be but at so much 
labour, as to read over this book to yourselves, and with 
your families ; and that you will consider of it as you go, 
between God and your own hearts, whether it be not a mat- 
ter that concerneth you to the quick : and that you will 
daily beg of God upon your knees to give you this neces- 
sary mercy of conversion. Away with your known sins, 
and with the unnecessary company and occasions that 
would draw you to them. You were baptized into the name 
of the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier : and will you hate 
sanctification, or refuse it, or neglect it ? You say, you be- 
lieve the communion of saints, and will you abhor their 
communion, and choose the company of ignorant, ungodly 
men ? Well ! if after all this you be still the same, and any 
of you shall appear before the Lord in an unconverted state, 
this book, besides the rest of my labours, shall witness to 
your faces, that you were told of the danger, and told of 
the necessity of a thorough conversion. And you that now are 
always telling us, that all are sinners, and quiet yourselves 
with this, that all men have their faults, shall then be con- 
vinced to your everlasting confusion, that there is so great 
a difference between sinners and sinners, the converted sin- 
ners and the unconverted, that the former shall enter into 
the joy of their Lord, when you with the rest must be cast 
into perdition. Matt. xxv. 13. That you were forewarned 
of this, is here witnessed against you, under the hand of. 

Your faithful monitor, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

Kidderminster, 
June t, 1657. 



TO 



THE READER 



AN ACCOUNT OF THIS SLENDER WORK. 

You have here presented to you a common subject, handled 
in a mean and vulgar style, not only without those subtleties 
and citations, which might suit it to the palates of learned 
men, but also without that conciseness, sententiousness and 
quickness, which might make it acceptable to the ingenious 
and acute. If you wonder why I should trouble the world 
with such an ordinary, dull discourse, as I owe you an ac- 
count of it, so I shall faithfully give it you. Besides my 
defect of leisure and acuteness to satisfy the expectations of 
these sharper wits, I did here purposely avoid that little 
which I could have done. I was to preach not only to a 
popular auditory, but to the most ignorant, sottish part of 
that auditory ; for it is they that are principally concerned 
in the matter. And knowing that the whole nation abounds 
with such, I was easily persuaded to permit the press to offer 
it to their view, and that, as it was preached without altera- 
tion. For the subject, I know it is the most needful that 
can be offered them. The reason why they must be con- 
demned is, because they are not converted ; and were they 
but truly converted they would escape. To convert a sinner 
from the error of his way, is to save a soul from death, and 
to cover a multitude of sins * : to convert them, is to pull 
them out of the fire^: it is to recover them out of the snare 
of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will s. 
Conversion is the most blessed work, and the day of con- 
version the most blessed day that this world is acquainted 
with. It takes a slave from satan, and a hand from his ser- 

• Jaraes v. 19, 20. »' Jude 23. « 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. 



PREFACE. IX 

vice ; it addeth a subject, a son, a member to the Lord 
Jesus : it rescueth a soul from everlasting torments, and 
maketh him an heir of everlasting joys. And for such a 
work, we can never do too much. And alas, the most are 
little sensible of the nature, or necessity of this change. 
Many that say, they believe in God as their Creator, and in 
Christ as their Redeemer, do declare that they are deluded 
by their deceitful hearts, in that they believe not in the 
Holy Ghost as their Sanctifier : for they know not what 
sanctification is, nor ever much looked after it in them- 
selves. The commonness and the greatness of men's ne- 
cessity, commanded me to do any thing that I could for 
their relief, and to bring forth some water to cast upon this 
fire, though I had not at hand a silver vessel to carry it in, 
nor thought it the most fit. The plainest words are the 
most profitable oratory in the weightiest matters. Fineness 
is for ornament, and delicacy for delight ; but they answer 
not necessity, though sometimes they may modestly attend 
that which answers it. Yea, when they are conjunct, it is 
hard for the necessitous hearer or reader to observe the 
matter of ornament and delicacy, and not to be carried from 
the matter of necessity ; and to hear or read a neat, concise, 
sententious discourse, and not to be hurt by it; for it 
usually hindereth the due operation of the matter, and keeps 
it from the heart, and stops it in the fancy, and makes it 
seem as light as the style. We use not to stand upon com- 
pliment or precedency, when we run to quench a common 
fire, nor to call men out to it by an eloquent speech. If we 
see a man fall into fire or water, we stand not upon manner- 
liness in plucking him out, but lay hands on him as we can 
without delay. I shall never forget the relish of my soul, 
when God first warmed my heart with these matters, and 
when I was newly entered into a seriousness in religion : 
when I read such a book as Bishop Andrew's Sermons, or 
heard such kind of preaching, I felt no life in it : methought 
they did but play with holy things. Yea, when I read such 
as Bishop Hall, or Henshaw's Meditations, or other such 
Essays, Resolves and witty things, I tasted little sweetness 
in them ; though now I can find much. But it was the plain 
and pressing downright preacher, that only seemed to me to 
»e in good sadness, and to make somewhat of it, and to 



X PREFACE. 

speak with life, and light, and weight : and it was such kind 
of writings, that were wonderfully pleasant and savoury to 
my soul. And I am apt to think that it is thus now with 
my hearers ; and that I should measure them by what I was, 
and not by what I am. And yet I must confess, that though 
I can better digest exactness and brevity, than I could so 
long ago, yet I as much value seriousness and plainness ; 
and I feel in myself in reading or hearing, a despising of 
that wittiness as proud foolery, which savoureth of levicy, 
and tendeth to evaporate weighty truths, and turn them all 
into very fancies, and keep them from the heart. As a 
stage-player, or morris-dancer differs from a soldier or a 
king, so do these preachers from the true and faithful mi- 
nisters of Christ : and as they deal liker to players than 
preachers in the pulpit, so usually their hearers do rather 
come to play with a sermon, than to attend a message from 
the God of heaven about the life or death of their souls. 

Indeed, the more I have to do with the ignorant sort of 
people, the more I find that we cannot possibly speak too 
plainly to them. If we do not speak in their own vulgar 
dialect, they understand us not. Nay, if we do so, yet if we 
compose those very words into a handsomeness of sentence, 
or if we speak any thing briefly, they feel not what we say : 
nay, I find, if we do not purposely draw out the matter into 
such a length of words, and use some repetition of it, that 
they may hear it inculcated on them again, we do but over- 
run their understandings, and they presently lose us : that 
very style and way, that is apt to be a little offensive to the 
exact, and that is tedious and loathsome to the curious ear, 
whose religion is most in air and fancy, must be it that 
must do good upon the ignorant, and is usually most sa- 
voury and acceptable to them. Upon such considerations, 
I purposely chose so coarse a style in the handling of this 
subject : for I preached and wrote it, not for the judicious, 
but for the special use of the most senseless, ignorant sort. 
And indeed, I am very sensible that herein I have not 
reached the thing that I desired ; and yet have not spoke 
half so plainly as I should : especially, that there wanteth 
that life and piercing quickness, which may concur with 
plainness, and a subject of such necessity doth require 
The true causes of this were, the dulness and badness of ny 



PREFACE. XI 

own heart, and a continual decay of the quickness of my 
spirits, through the increase of pituitous scotomatical dis- 
tempers, together with that exceeding scarcity of leisure, 
which weakness and oppressing business have caused. But 
if God will give help and leisure, I shall seek a little to 
amend it, in something more which on the same subject I 
have begun. 

One other reason that moved me to consent to this pub- 
lication, is the scarcity of books that are wrote purposely 
on this subject : though, on the by and by parts, I know 
that nothing is more common in English, yet on this sub- 
ject purposely and alone I remember scarce any besides 
Mr. Whateley's " New Birth," (and some Sermons of Re- 
pentance) : and indeed I have long persuaded all that I had 
opportunity to persuade, to buy that book of Mr. Whateley's, 
and to give them abroad among the ignorant, ungodly peo- 
ple. And if I had seen any such fruit of my persuasions as 
I desired, I think I should never have published this. But 
when I could not prevail with the one sort to buy them, nor 
with the other sort to give them, I resolved to print some- 
what on so necessary a point, were it never so meanly done, 
if it were but that I might have some books to give myself 
to some that need, and also that the newness and other ad- 
vantages might entice this book into the hands of some, 
that are never like to read those, which heretofore I have 
commended to them. 

One thing more I observe is like to be offensive in this 
writing, and that is, that the same things do here and there 
fall in, which formerly have been spoken. I confess my 
memory oft lets slip the passages that I have before written, 
and in that forgetfulness I write them again : but I make 
no great matter of it. The writing of the same things is 
safe to the reader, and why then should it be grievous to 
me •" ? not because it is displeasing to the curious, till I set 
more by their applause, and take the approbation of men for 
my reward. I like to hear a man dwell much on the same 
essentials of Christianity. For we have but one God, and 
one Christ, and one faith to preach ; and I will not preach 
another Gospel to please men with variety, as if our Saviour 
and our Gospel were grown stale. This speaking the same 

h Phil. iii. 1. 



Xll PREFACE. 

things is a sign that a man hath considered what he speaks 
and that he hath made it his own, and utters not that which 
accidentally falls in. And it is a sign that he is still of the 
same belief, and doth not change, and that he loves the 
truth, which he so much dwells upon ; and that he looketh 
more at the feeding of men's souls, and strengthening their 
graces, than at the feeding of their itching fancies, and mul- 
tiplying their opinions. For it is the essentials and com- 
mon truths (as I have often said) that we daily live upon as 
our bread and drink. And we have incomparably more 
work before us, to know these better, and use them better, 
than to know more. The sea will afford us more water after 
we have taken out a thousand tuns, than a hundred of those 
wells and pits from whence we never yet fetched any. I 
speak not against the need of clothing the same truths with 
a grateful variety in representing it to the world, nor against 
a necessary compliance with the diseases of some itching 
novelists in order to the cure ; but only give you an account 
of this publication, by him that had rather be charged with 
the greatest rudeness of style, than with the guilt of neg- 
lecting what he might have done for the saving of one soul. 

RICHARD BAXTER. 



A 



TREATISE OP CONVERSION. 



MA'rrHEW XVIII. s. 



Verily I say uriio you, except ye be converted, and become as little 
children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 



Beloved Hearers, 

Though the Gospel doth not presuppose grace in men, 
but bringeth it to them, yet doth it suppose them to be 
men, and therefore endued with natural principles. And 
though there is not enough in nature to convert men, yet 
doth grace find some advantage in nature for its reception, 
and somewhat which it may improve for a further good : 
otherwise we might as well plead with beasts as men. 
Supernatural light supposeth natural ; the doctrine of 
faith supposeth reason ; and he that would draw you to be 
everlastingly happy, doth suppose you so much to love 
yourselves as to be willing to be happy, and loath to be ab- 
solutely miserable. I come not therefore to persuade any 
of you to these things, which are supposed : we are not sent 
to entreat men to be men, or reasonable creatures, or to love 
themselves, or to be willing to be happy ; I will not be be- 
holden to any of you for this, for you cannot do otherwise : 
but we are sent to tell you where your happiness lieth, and 
where not, and to advise you to exercise your reason aright, 
and to know the way to happiness, and take that course by 
which it may obtained. 



14 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

I must confess to you that ever since I knew what it was 
to be a minister of the Gospel, what labour it must cost, and 
how cold a reward is to be expected from our hearers, and 
what a troublous errand we come upon, in the judgment of 
the most, I never could think any thing below the pleasing 
of God, and the saving of the souls of our people and our- 
selves, to be a motive suflSlcient to draw a man to this em- 
ployment. Nor do I think it meet to come once into the 
pulpit, with any lower ultimate ends than these. He that 
is a minister for lower ends than these, in heart and deed is 
no minister of Christ ; but as he seeks himself, so will he 
serve himself, and must reward himself as he can ; and no 
wonder if he be unfaithful in all his course. And he that 
preacheth one sermon for lower ultimate ends than these, 
will seek himself, and not Christ, and so be unfaithful in 
that sermon : and if such study smooth words and fine sen- 
tences, which tend more to please, than to save men's souls, 
it is no wonder. Considering these things, when I had 
purposed this day's work in this place, I remembered in 
whose name I must speak, and on whose errand I must go, 
and therefore that from him I must receive my message : 
and I remembered also to whom I was to speak, even to men 
that must be everlastingly happy or miserable, and that are 
now in the way, and have that to do in a little time, which this 
their everlasting state doth depend upon : I remembered also, 
that Christ hath assured me that of the many that are called, 
few are chosen ; and that most men perish, for all the mercy 
that is in God, and for all that Christ hath done and suffered, 
and for all the grace that is offered them in the Gospel ; and I 
considered the reason, even because they will not receive 
this grace, nor entertain Christ and the mercy of God, as it 
is offered to them. I therefore resolved to preach to you, 
as one that hath but one sermon to preach to you, and 
knows not whether he shall ever speak to you more, and 
therefore to choose no lower subject than that which your 
life or death depends upon, and to handle it as far as I am 
able accordingly, with that plainness as a matter of such 
concernment should be handled with. If my business hi- 
ther were to be thought a learned man, or to procure your 
applause, or to please your ears, I should then have pre- 
pared some pleasing matter, and tried to have adorned it 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 15 

with some flourishes of wit, and presented it to you in a 
mixture of languages, which you do not understand, and 
with such pretty jingles and gaudy allusions as carnal fan- 
cies are used to be tickled with ; but knowing that this is 
not the way to please God, but to please the devil, nor to 
save myself, or those that hear me, but to hinder the salva- 
tion of me and you, I soon resolved not only to avoid the 
study of such unprofitable, carnal ostentation, but even to 
study to avoid it : for I should be loath to please satan any 
way by the doing his work, but doubly loath to please him 
in preaching the Gospel, and to be serving him in the 
choicest service of my Lord. 

Will the Lord but bless the word that I shall speak to 
the conversion of any souls here present, I have the ends 
I come for ; and shall believe that I have cause to bless his 
name that sent ine hither to day; and in hope of this suc- 
cess, which I have begged of the Lord, I shall cheerfully 
address myself to the work. 

The occasion of these words of Christ, was the carnal 
thoughts of his disciples concerning the state of his king- 
dom, as if it had been of earthly pomp and glory, like the 
great monarchs of the world ; and also their carnal, aspiring 
desires and contrivances to get the highest place in his 
kingdom. They found these conceits among the Jews, and 
nature easily entertained and cherished them, which is so 
dark and so disaffected to higher things. Christ thought it 
not yet seasonable to give them the full discovery of his 
kingdom, it being reserved for the Holy Ghost, who was mi- 
raculously to possess them, and teach them all things in 
Christ's iDodily absence, that the world might see that his 
doctrine was not of his devising, but from above : but yet he 
presently falls upon that sin which these inquiries did dis- 
cover in them ; and before he fully telleth them the nature 
of his kingdom, he plainly telleth them what they must be 
if they will have a part in that kingdom. It may seem a 
great doubt, whether the disciples were at this time uncon- 
verted, that Christ telleth them of the necessity of a con- 
version, or whether it be but a particular conversion from 
some particular sins that he here speaks of; as there is a 
general conversion or repentance necessary to the unrege- 



i^ TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

nerate, and a particular conversion or repentance necessary 
to the godly upon their particular falls. To this I answer, 
1. Judas was undoubtedly unconverted, and so did conti- 
nue. 2. The apostles were then ignorant of many truths 
which afterwards became of absolute necessity to salvation ; 
as Christ's death, resurrection, ascension, the nature of his 
kingdom, 8cc. Yet I dare not say, that they were not in a 
state of salvation when they were thus ignorant of them, 
because they were not then fundamentals, or of absolute 
necessity, as afterwards they were : but yet Christ might 
well tell them tliat these truths must be believed hereafter, 
and they could not have that eminent measure of faith which 
was proper to his more illuminated church after his ascen- 
sion, without believing of them. Yea, if they had not be- 
lieved them when they were made fundamentals of absolute 
necessity to be believed, they had ceased to be true disciples 
of Christ. And whether there be not some noble effects of 
this Gospel-doctrine upon the heart, which are also proper to 
the church after Christ's ascension, as well as these articles 
of belief were proper to them, and so that this text may 
speak of both, I leave to further consideration. 3. Many 
think that it is but a particular conversion and repentance 
that is here spoken of; that is, from this sin of ambition 
which the disciples did now manifest : but then they ob- 
serve not that it will hence be concluded, that a true dis- 
ciple may by a particular sin be in such a state, that if he 
should die in it, he should not be saved. But others that 
are learned and godly think that no hard conclusion, as 
long as God will not suffer them to die in it. 4. I pur- 
posely forbear to trouble you with the names of expositors, 
but I make no doubt but they are in the right, that suppose 
that Christ doth here reprehend their ambition, by describ- 
ing the contrary temper of his true followers, shewing them 
the absolute necessity of conversion, without any determi- 
nation whether they were or were not converted at present : 
he telleth them that except they be converted, humble per- 
sons, they cannot be saved, but doth not determine that 
now they are otherwise. And indeed it seemeth not likely 
that the disciples of Christ had not then that conversion 
and humility of mind that was of absolute necessity to sal- 
vation : these words may well be used to converted men, to 



TREATISE OF CONVEKblON. 17 

shew them the necessity of that conversion which they 
have. As if a Christian begin to grow covetous, you may 
say, except you be a man converted from earthljrminded- 
ness to heavenlymindedness, you cannot enter into the 
kingdom of heaven ; which doth not deny him to be already 
converted. Though as to our present purpose the matter 
is not great which of these be taken for the sense, because 
they all afford us that doctrine that we shall gather : for if 
there be no salvation without a particular conversion from 
a particular sin, much less without a conversion from 
a state of sin. But the plain sense of the text I doubt not 
is this ; as if he should say, * You strive for pre-eminency 
and worldly greatness in my kingdom ; why I tell you my 
kingdom is a kingdom of babes ; it containeth none but the 
humble that are small in their own eyes, and look not after 
great matters in this world ; and though nature be proud, 
yet except you be (now or hereafter) converted men, and be- 
come as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom 
of heaven.' By the kingdom of heaven is here meant, both 
the estate of true grace, and so of glory. Not as if conver- 
sion were a preparation to their entering into this kingdom 
as begun on earth, but it is their very entrance itself, and so 
the beginning of it. The doctrine we shall hence handle, 
shall be given you in no other but the words of the text, 
lest I seem to force them. 

Doctrine. It is a most certain truth, protested by Jesus 
Christ, that except men be converted and become as little 
children, they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

The order which we shall observe in handling this, is, — - 

I. To shew you what this kingdom of heaven is. 

II. What it is to be converted, and particularly what to 
become as little children. 

III. Confirm the doctrine from other Scriptures. 

IV. I shall give you the reasons why no man can enter 
into the kingdom of heaven that is not converted. 

V. We shall make use of all, and therein shew you the 
hindrances of conversion, the marks of it^ the motives to 
it, and the Directions for attaining it ; as the Lord shall en- 
able me. 

I. The kingdom of heaven is taken in Scripture both for 
the state of grace and glory. As all men are by nature in 
VOL. VII. c V . 



18 ' TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

the kingdom of satan here, by a willing obeying of him, and 
hereafter to be tormented by him ; so all the converted are 
by grace in the kingdom of Christ, by a willing submission 
and obedience here, and hereafter to be glorified by him for 
ever. This is all one kingdom, because there is the same 
king and the same subjects ; yet they are diversified in this, 
that one is the way or means to the other, and that the laws 
and duties which belong to us in the way, are not all the 
same as those that shall continue at the end. It is called 
the kingdom of heaven, both because the king is from above, 
and not a mere man as earthly kings are, and reigneth in 
heaven invisibly, and not as earthly monarchs whom you 
may see; and because it is heaven which all grace and 
means, and duties do tend to, and it is heaven where is the 
end and full felicity, and the most glorious part of the king- 
dom. The Guide and Sanctifier of the church also is from 
heaven, even the Holy Ghost : the law is from heaven by 
the inspiration of the Spirit : the hearts of the subjects are 
heavenly, and their lives must be heavenly : it is here in the 
seed, it will be hereafter in the full tree. The difference be- 
tween the egg and the bird, the acorn and the oak, is not 
near so great as the difference between the kingdom of grace 
and of glory. And yet a man that had never seen or known 
the production of such creatures would little believe, if you 
should shew him an acorn, that that would come to be an 
oak. And it is no marvel if a carnal heart will not believe 
that the weak, despised graces of the saints, do tend to such 
an inconceivable glory. When a poor Christian that is dead 
to this world lieth praying and panting after God, and look- 
ing and longing after glory, little doth the unbelieving world 
think, what a blessed harbour it is that by these gales he is 
moving and hasting to ; they now see him praying, and 
shall then see him possessing and praising ; they now see 
his labour and suffering, but they will not believe his bles- 
sedness, and perfection, till they see it to their own sorrow 
who have lost it. 

Before I proceed to open the nature of conversion, 
shall say somewhat more of the word : and I shall shew you 
the difference between Conversion, Repentance, Regenera- 
tion, Sanctification, Vocation. 

1. The truth is, all these five words are used in Scrip- 
ture to express the same work upon the soul : only they hav< 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 1^ 

some respective and other smaller differences, which I shall 
now manifest to you. And the first word Vocation is taken 
often for God's act of calling when it hath no success, and 
this is called uneffectual calling. So it is used Pro v. i. 
24. ** Because I called, and ye refused, I have stretched 
forth my hands and no man regarded ; but ye have set at 
nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof." So 
Isa. Ixv. 12. Jer. vii. 13. " I called, but ye answered not :** 
and many other places. 1. Sometimes it is taken for the 
act of God when it is successful ; as 1 Thess. ii. 12. and 
many more places. 2. This success itself is termed our 
calling in a passive sense : and it is twofold. (1.) Common; 
when men are brought but to outward profession and com- 
mon gifts ; and so the word is used often. (2.) Special ; 
when men are savingly converted to Christ : the former is 
Common effectual Calling; the latter is Special effectual 
Calling. And this last is the same with conversion : only 
these two differences are observable. 1. As to the name, it 
is metaphorically taken from the outward call of the Gospel, 
and so applied to the effect on the soul. 2. It hath usually 
in Scripture a principal respect to the first effect on the 
soul, even the act of faith itself above all other graces, and 
following obedience ; yet not excluding the latter, but some- 
times plainly comprehending them. So that some divines 
conceive that Vocation is a work different from Sanctifica- 
tion, because they conceive that it is only the Spirit's caus- 
ing the first act of faith in the soul, and by that act a habit 
is effected, and therewith the seed of all graces, which they 
call the work of sanctification. And indeed the word Vo- 
cation hath special respect to the Gospel-call, to the act of 
believing in Christ, and the proper effect of that call, even 
our actual belief. But sometimes it comprehendeth the 
whole Christian relation and state, as Heb. iii. 1. and 2 Pet. 
i. 10, &c. 

2. Repentance is the same thing as special effectual 
calling ; so we take not calling in the most narrow sense of 
all, for the bare act of faith ; only this difference there is : 
1. The word Repentance doth specially denote our motion 
from the * terminus ^ quo,' even that sinful state from which 
we turn, and which we repent of; yet including essentially 
also the state to which we turn. Whereas the word Voca- 



20 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

tion doth principally express the state to which we are call- 
ed. 2. Also the word Repentance doth principally respect 
our turning to God from whom we fell : but the word Vo- 
cation doth as much or more respect our coming to Christ 
the Mediator as the way to the Father. There is a twofold 
repentance ; (1.) One is our turning from a state of sin and 
misery, such as the unconverted are in, and this is it that we 
mean now, as the same with conversion from the same state. 
(2.) There is also a particular repentance, which is a turning 
from a particular sin, and this must be daily renewed while 
we live. Repentance signifieth and containeth two things. 
The first is a hearty sorrow that ever we sinned ; the second 
is a change of the mind from that sin to God. Indeed the for- 
mer is but part of the latter: the changed mind is changed 
in this part, and manifesteth its change in a special manner, 
by remorse for former sins : though all remorse is not from 
such a change. 

3. The word Regeneration also signifieth the same 
thing with Conversion, but with this small difference; 1. 
The term is metaphorical, taken from our natural genera- 
tion ; because there is so great a change, that a man is as it 
were another man. 2. The word is in Scripture-sense, I 
think more comprehensive than Conversion, Repentance or 
Vocation ; for it signifieth not only the newness of our 
qualities, but also of our relations, even our whole new 
state. This is not ordinarily acknowledged, but if we view 
the places where the word is used, it will prove so : for as 
Paul describing the thing though he useth not the word, 
2 Cor. V. 11. saith, " He that is in Christ is a new creature, 
old things are passed away, behold all things are become 
new :" where relations must needs be a part of that all as 
the context will shew. So Tit. iii. 5. it is called ** the laver 
or washing of regeneration ;" and is distinguished from re- 
newing of the Holy Ghost ; at least as the general, compre- 
hending that as a part. 1. Most expositors think that the 
word hath reference to baptism, and expresseth its effects or 
consequents : and no doubt baptism is for remission of sins, 
and therefore the laver of regeneration is for remission of 
sins. 2. The very text maintaineth plainly that grace by 
which we are saved ; by free grace, and that is our free jus- 
tification as well as free sanctification : and our divines 



i 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 21 

commonly cite that text against the Papists upon that ac- 
count, as pleading for free justification : " Not by works of 
righteousness that we have done, but according to his mer- 
cy, he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the re- 
newing of the Holy Ghost." Is not saving from the guilt 
of sin a part of our salvation? What reason to restrain sa- 
ving here to sanctification only ? Doubtless if there were 
reason to restrain the word Regeneration to either, it would 
be to justification only; because the giving of the Holy 
Ghost is next mentioned by itself, but justification is not 
mentioned at all, if regeneration comprehends it not. And 
it is certain, that the apostle intendeth not only to tell us, 
that we are freely sanctified without works, but also that we 
are freely justified by grace without works. So John iii. 3» 
" Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can 
not enter into the kingdom of God ;" where he at least 
hath some respect to baptism, as most suppose, and bap- 
tism is for the remission of sins : to be born of water there- 
fore must needs include remission of sin. And this regene- 
ration maketh a man a new creature, and as Paul saith, '* in 
the new creature all things are become new," and not the 
qualities only. But in the main. Regeneration is the same 
with Conversion. 

4. The word Sanctification also signifieth the same 
thing for the main, as Conversion doth, only with these 
small difterences following: 1. The word is more compre- 
hensive, for it signifieth our whole state of dedication or 
devotedness to God, which comprehendeth in it these four 
things : 1. The change of a man's qualities, whereby he is 
made fit for the service of God, having his heart bent to- 
wards him, and set upon him. 2. The actual dedication or 
devoting of a man's self to God by faith and a holy cove- 
nant ; especially in baptism, by solemn vow or engagement. 

3. The relation of a person so dedicated or devoted to God, 
as he is one set apart to him for holy uses, and it is from 
this relation especially that the word Sanctification is used. 

4. The holiness of life that followeth hereupon, in the actual 
living to God, to whom we are devoted. Sar^ctification 
comprehendeth all this, and so comprehends in it Vocation, 
and somewhat more. 

But then perhaps it may be found, that the word is 



22 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

sometimes, if not often used in Scripture for holiness of the 
life alone, as presupposing all the rest. Indeed there are 
more words than one, which we translate Sanctification, 
which yet are not all of one sense. As ^iKaiomg, St/caiw^ua, 
and dLKaio(wvr} differ : so doth dyiaafiog, ayiorr/c* and 
dyiaavvT) differ : but I shall purposely forbear to trouble 
you with such matters. So that having opened before to 
you the word Conversion, and now these four. Vocation, 
Repentance, Regeneration and Sanctification, you may see 
how far they are the same, or differ. The like may be said 
of the word Changing, Renewing or making new, and the 
like, which all signify the same work of God upon the soul. 
Those therefore that inquire whether Vocation, Regene- 
ration, Repentance, Sanctification, &c. are the same thing, 
or divers ; and which of them goeth first, 8cc., must first be 
resolved of the sense of the term, before they proceed to 
the matter; for most of these words are used in several 
senses, and that ambiguity must first be removed, 

II. I am next to shew you what it is to be converted 
and become as little children ; which cannot be so well 
done till I have first given some brief description of the 
state of a man unconverted : to which end you must knoyv, 
that God made man perfect, and gave him a perfect law to 
keep, which commanded perfect obedience upon pain of 
everlasting death : by the temptation of satan, man broke 
this law, and cast himself out of the favour of God, and 
made himself the slave of satan, and the child of death ; 
this he did by a wilful adhering to the creature, and de- 
parting from God, so that the nature of man was thus be- 
come corrupt ; and such as the first man Adam was, such 
must his posterity needs be, for who can bring a clean 
thing out of an unclean *. And how can Adam convey to 
his posterity that image of God, which he had lost himself, 
or that right to the favour of God, and further happiness ? 
So that we are all born with corrupted natures, inclined to 
earth and earthly things, aiid strange and averse to heaven 
and heavenly things ; prone to evil and backward to good ! 
estranged from God, and making our carnal selves our God ; 
pride, self-love, covetousness, voluptuousness, unbelief, ig- 
norance, error, hypocrisy, ungodliness, strife, contention, 

* Jub xiv. 4. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. "23 

cruelty and all wickedness have their roots at once in us, 
and if temptation serve, we shall bring forth the fruit. 

This being the state of every man by nature, by practice 
and custom in sinning men become worse, and tbe longer 
they delay before they are converted, the worse usually do 
they grow, and the further do they go from God, and from 
their happiness. By all which methinks you may easily 
see, both what conversion is, and why there is such a neces- 
sity of it. 

The word Conversion is sometimes taken actively, for 
that act or work that doth convert us ; and sometimes pas- 
sively, for that change that is thereby wrought : as man is 
the subject or patient, so is he also an agent in the actual 
turning of his own soul ; so that God and man are both 
agents in this work. The word here in my text is active, 
and maketh it the act of man, ** except ye convert your- 
selves :" but we translate it, " be converted :" because the 
word is used reciprocally, as some speak in Scripture : in a 
word, God, as the most laudable, principal cause, doth 
cause man's will to turn itself. So that conversion actively 
taken, as it is the work of the Holy Ghost, is a work of the 
Spirit of Christ, by the doctrine of Christ, by which he ef- 
fectually changeth men's minds, and heart, and life from the 
creature to God in Christ : conversion, as it is our work, is 
the work of man, wherein by the effectual grace of the Holy 
Ghost, he turneth his mind, and heart, and life from the 
creature to God in Christ. And conversion as taken pas- 
sively, is the sincere change of a man's mind, heart and life 
from the creature to God in Christ, which is wrought by the 
Holy Ghost, through the doctrine of Christ, and by himself 
thus moved by the Holy Ghost. Here you may see, 1. Who 
is the cause of this conversion, and what is the means. 2. 
What is the change wrought. 3. On whom. 4. From 
what, and to what. 1. The most laudable, principal cause 
is the Holy Ghost, who is the Sanctifier of the elect. 2. 
The instrumental cause is the doctrine of Christ, either 
read, or heard, or some way known, and brought by the 
Spirit to men's understandings and consideration. 3. Man 
himself is the subject of the Spirit's operation, and the pro- 
per agent of these holy actions of believing, repenting, &c. 
which the Holy Ghost doth cause him to perform. It is 



24 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

not the Holy Ghost that believeth, but he Qauseth man to 
believe. 4. That which we are turned from, is as to the 
object, the creature, which sinful man doth adhere to above 
God ; and as to the act, it is sin, that is, he ceaseth this vi- 
cious adhering to the creature. 5. That which man turueth 
to, is God in and by Christ the Mediator. God hath again 
the heart of a sinner, when he is converted, and God will be 
his happiness ; his reformation, recovery, reward and felicity 
consisteth in this. 

The parts of this conversion are these three, i. It is a 
change of the mind. n. Of the heart, in. Of the life. 

I. Conversion changeththe mind. 

1. From ignorance. 

2. From inconsiderateness. 

3. From unbelief. 

4. From error. 

1. Every unconverted man is ignorant of the saving- 
truths of the Gospel, either by a total ignorance of the 
thing, or by an insufficient, superficial, ineffectual appre- 
hension of it : the most of the world do not know, what 
man is by nature and actual sin ; how hateful sin and sin- 
ners are to God ; how it deserveth his everlasting wrath, 
and maketh it our portion ; how Christ hath satisfied and 
redeemed us from this misery ; and on what terms, and in 
what order he offereth to man that pardon and life which 
he hath purchased ; how he will judge them that believe, 
repent and obey him at last to everlasting glory, and the 
rest to everlasting misery. Many poor souls are utterly 
ignorant of these very principles of the Christian religion, 
in the midst of Gospel-light, and under all our most dili- 
gent instructions ; and of those that have some knowledge 
of them, many know them but superficially and ineffec- 
tually. 

Now the first thing that the Spirit of God doth either in 
or to the work of conversion, is to open men's eyes to un- 
derstand these mysteries : so that, the man that was wont 
to hear them as a strange thing, as if we spoke Greek or 
Hebrew to him, is now like a man that is brought out of a 
dungeon into the open light ; or that hath his eye-sight re- 
covered, and doth not only know these things, but knows 
them with a somewhat clear and affecting knowledge ; and 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 25 

is much taken with the light, and rejoiceth in it, and mar- 
velleth at his former ignorance. I shall prove all this to 
you by Scripture. In 1 Cor. ii. 14. the apostle tells us, " The 
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 
for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them, 
because they are spiritually discerned." In 2 Cor. iv. 3. 
the apostle saith, " If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them 
that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded 
the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the 
glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should 
shine unto them.'' And then the cure you may see. Acts 
xxvi. 18. "I send thee to open their eyes, and turn them 
from darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto 
God." Many poor people think that utter ignorance may 
stand with grace, and that they may be saved without 
knowledge because they are not book-learned ; but you 
hear God telleth you otherwise. Many have much brain- 
knowledge that have no grace, but no man can have grace 
without solid knowledge : for who can hate sin till he know- 
eth it, and the evil of it? And who can love God till he 
know him to be lovely ? And who can do the duty that he 
understandeth not, or go the way to heaven that he is igno- 
rant of? So that this is the first part of the change of the 
mind from ignorance to knowledge. 

2. The second part of the change of the mind, is, from 
careless inconsiderateness to sober consideration; and this 
is a great help to all that foUoweth. The main reason why 
we cannot bring men out of love with this vain world, nor to 
yield to the call of God, and make out after Christ, and 
their everlasting salvation, is, because we cannot bring them 
to consideration : men are heady and rash, and drown their 
own reason with wilfulness, or passion, or worldly busi- 
nesses, and will not give reason leave to work. Their vi-. 
cious wills command their understandings to other objects, 
and will not let them dwell long enough on those that 
should do them good. All wicked men are inconsiderate 
men, and therefore inconsiderate, because wicked ; and 
therefore wicked, because inconsiderate. If they hear of 
the greatest truths in the congregation, they go home and 
talk of other matters, and all runs out, and they are never 
the better : we cannot get them to go alone one hour, and 



26 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

seriously consider of what they heard: ignorance doth 
much to men's perdition, but inconsiderateness much more. 
Oh ! if that little which our common people know% were but 
frequently and earnestly considered of, it would not suffer 
them to be such as they are ! Well, but when the Spirit of 
God comes effectually to convert the soul, he maketh them 
consider : he awakeneth the sleepy soul, and eheweth them 
that the matter so nearly concerns them, that if they love 
themselves, it is time to consider of it : he setteth these 
truths still before their eyes, which formerly they cast be - 
hind their backs ; he holdeth their thoughts upon them so, 
that they must needs consider them. They had heard per- 
haps an hundred times before of sin, and Christ, and the 
necessity of conversion, of judgment, and heaven, and hell, 
but they never thoroughly considered it till now. Oh, this 
is a great part of the renewing work of the Spirit, to fix a 
man's thoughts upon the truths of God till they work, and 
to bring a man's reason to do its office. I will shew you 
this but in two or three texts of Scripture. In Acts xvii. 11. 
it is said, that the Jews of Berea had more ingenuity than 
the rest, " for they searched the Scriptures daily, whether 
those things were so, therefore many of them believed:' 
when they came home they did not turn their thoughts pre- 
sently to other matters, and think no more of what they had 
heard, but they took their Bibles, and considered and ex- 
amined the sermons which they had heard, that they might 
be resolved whether it were so indeed or not ; that if it were 
so, they might obey it accordingly ; and therefore they be- 
lieved. In Psalm cxix. 59, 60. David saith, " I thought on 
my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies ; I made 
haste and delayed not to keep thy commandments :" when he 
thought of his ways, he turned without delay. And God 
complaineth of the disobedient Israelites in Isaiah i. 2, 3. 
that he had nourished and brought up children, and they 
rebelled against him ; and what was the cause ? why, " The 
ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but 
Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." So 
that you may see the second part of the conversion of the 
mind is from inconsiderateness to consideration. 

3. The third part of the change of the mind, is, from 
unbelief to true believing. A customary belief upon the 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 27 

bare credit of their forefathers, and the common vote of the 
country they dwell in, most among us may have of the Gos- 
pel ; but this faith is like the ground of it and will not serve 
to establish and renew the soul. Men are not soundly per- 
suaded of the infallible truth of all the Word of God till 
converting grace doth bring them to believe it : they think 
it may be true, and it may be false for ought they know, 
they cannot tell : and therefore it is that when we come to 
those particulars that displease them, they will not believe 
them. When they do confess in general that the Scripture 
is true, yet when we tell them particularly of those passages 
that speak of the necessity of conversion, the difficulty of 
salvation, the fewness of the saved, and the multitude that 
shall perish, with many the like truths, they will plainly 
shew that they do not believe them. A word of such 
matters of heaven and hell, if it were well believed, would 
doubtless prevail against sensual allurements, and make 
them see that they have something else than this deceitful 
world to look after. Certainly all unconverted sinners are 
at best but such half believers as in Scripture are called 
rightly unbelievers. But when the Spirit by the Word 
doth illuminate their understanding, they see then that all 
this is most certainly true : that the talk of sin, and misery, 
and Christ, and grace, and glory, and of everlasting tor- 
ments to the impenitent are no dreams or doubtful suppo- 
sitions. God telleth them then to the very heart, that these 
are matters not to be questioned, but presently and seriously 
to be regarded : for God will prove true when all men prove 
liars : heaven and earth shall pass away, but a jot or tittle 
of his Word shall not pass away till all be fulfilled ''. What- 
ever unbelievers think of it now, nothing is more certain 
than that all men on earth shall shortly find themselves in 
heaven or hell. Now the soul perceiveth that this is true, 
as the God of heaven is true, and that it is madness to 
question the truth of his Word, who is truth itself, and to 
think that Word will shake or fail which beareth up heaven 
and earth and is the best security that is possible to be had ; 
and that he should deceive them who never deceived any ; 
and doth so much to save them from being deceived by 
satan, and their own deceitful hearts. Before conversion 

^ Mall. V. 18. 



28 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

you might have heard by his cold prayers, and carnal con- 
ference, and seen by his careless, sinful life, that he did not 
heartily believe the Word of God ; but now you may hear, 
and see by him that he doth believe it. If you tell a man 
that a bear or a cut-throat thief is following after him, if you 
see him not stir any faster, nor mend his pace, you will say, 
sure he doth not believe it; but if you see him run as for 
his life, it is a sigrn that he believes it. When once a man 
is truly converted, you may see by his affection, and dili- 
gence, and self-denial, that he owneth and believeth the 
Word of God indeed : if you over-heard him in his prayers, 
his tears, or at least his hearty groans will tell you that he 
believeth : if he talk with you of his former life, his sobs 
and sighs, and his deep self-accusings will tell you that he 
believeth it : his careful endeavours for the saving his soul, 
his earnest inquiries what he shall do to be saved, will tell 
you that he believeth. The change of his company, his 
talk, his life, his casting away those sins with hatred which 
were his delight, and taking up that holy life with delight 
which before he had no heart to ; all this will shew that he 
is now a true believer. Because " Noah believed, he was 
moved with fear, and prepared the ark *^." He that had 
seen him at work might perceive that he believed : he would 
never else have so laboured to escape the danger. 

4. The fourth part wherein the change of the under- 
standing doth consist, is, in the healing of men's errors, and 
turning them from those false conceits which they had about 
God and his ways, and the matters of salvation. While 
they were unconverted, satan had taught them, and the 
world had taught them, and the flesh had taught them many 
things against God and their own safety : they were per- 
suaded that either there was no heaven and hell, or that God 
would save them though they did not much look after it 
themselves. They thought sin was better than holiness, 
and it was a more desirable life to please the flesh, and to be 
honourable, and eat and drink, and be merry, than to live 
in the thoughts of another world, and deny the flesh that 
pleasure it desireth, and to spend so much time in reading, 
hearing, praying and meditating. They thought this was a 
tedious, unnecessary life, and that all this was more ado 

«= Heb. xi. 7. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. W 

than needs ; and that the wisest way was to follow their 
business in the world, and take their pleasure while they 
might have it, and only come to church, and forbear some 
heinous sins, and then believe that God will be merciful to 
them, and they shall do well enough without all this stir, 
and that they may take what they can get of the pleasure of 
the world, and when they have done, if there be any heaven, 
they may have it with a short repentance when they can 
keep the world no longer. Abundance more such errors as 
these are in the minds of unconverted sinners, through the 
seducements of the deceiver: indeed they live a life of 
error. Some heretics err in one particular, and some in 
another, but wicked men err in the very drift of their lives. 
But when God converteth, he changeth all these opinions. 
The man is then of another mind. He that thought sin so 
pleasant, would now fain spit it out ; he that desired so to 
glut himself with the world and sinful delights, would now 
be rid of them : like a foolish person that will needs take 
poison, because it is sweet, and will not believe him that 
tells him it is deadly ; but when he feeleth it begin to gripe 
him in the bowels, and to burn him at the heart, then he 
crieth out, ' Oh now I believe you that it is poison ! Oh 
give me a vomit that I may cast it up quickly, or else I die.' 
Then, if you see him retching and straining himself to get 
it up again, and groaning, and crying out, ' Oh my heart, 
it burns me, it tears me ; Oh that I could get it up !' you 
may see then that the man's opinion is changed. Sinners, 
believe it, if ever God will save you, it will be thus with 
you. You thought there was no great harm in taking now 
and then a cup with good fellows ; in neglecting God and 
your souls, while you provide for your bodies ; in dropping 
a curse or a small oath in the heat of your passion : you 
could ask, what harm is it to spend the Lord's day in idle- 
ness, or vain-talking, or recreations, when you had a God, 
and a soul, and an everlasting state to look after, which 
should have been the business of that day. Perhaps you 
let down now and then some sharper poison of covetousness, 
malice, fornication, &c. Oh, but if ever God convert you, 
all this must up again ; you will groan and strain at it by 
the vomit of repentance, and cry out, * Oh that I had never 
known it ! Oh that I had never seen the faces of such un- 



30 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

godly companions ! Oh that I could get up the very roots 
of this sin, I would never return to it again/ You that now 
think it so grievous a life to be godly, and that there needs 
not so much ado for your salvation ; if ever God convert 
you, he will make you see that it is both necessary and de- 
lightful : you will then say, * What, shall I sit still when my 
everlasting salvation is at stake ? I have but a little time 
to make sure of escaping eternal misery : I must very 
shortly be in heaven or hell ; and now is the time that must 
turn the scales, for then I must be judged according to my 
works ; and is this a time to loiter in ? Or is this a matter 
to be forgotten or made light of?' Oh sinners, if God open 
your eyes, you will marvel, I tell you, you will a thousand 
times marvel, that ever you should be so sottish, and in a 
manner besides yourselves, as to follow your business in the 
vain world, and eat and drink, and sleep so quietly, while 
you knew not what should become of you for ever. You 
will cry out of yourselves, * Oh where was my wit, that I 
should make so light of that which was my only business ? 
And that I should sleep out that short time of my life which 
was given me of purpose to work out my salvation in ? And 
that I should forget that judgment that was told again and 
again was at the door V Sinners, if God do once truly con- 
vert your souls, you will' see, that if wife, children, friend, 
estate, life require your labour and care, your salvation re- 
quireth an hundred times more. You will then say, * What, 
can I make too much haste to heaven ? Or be at too much 
care or pains to make sure of it ? Can any labour be too 
much to obtain such a glory, or to escape the flames of ever- 
lasting misery ? If I lose the world and my life, I may be 
a saver and a gainer in the life eternal ; but if I lose that 
life, how shall I be a saver? Or which way shall I hope 
for a reparation of my loss? And what good will it then do 
me that I had pleasure, or credit, or riches in the world ? 
Is it worth the labour of all my life to rake in this earth, 
and to live in more plenty of worldly vanity than other men 
a little while, till I drop into my grave ? And is it not 
worth ten thousand times more care and pains to make sure 
that I live among the angels, and see the face of God in 
endless glory V Oh Lord, where is that man's brains that 
thinks he can pay too dear for heaven, and yet that all the 
stir of his life is not too dear a price for earth ! To get him 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. ,11^ 

a pleasant passage to his grave, when he might have as 
much pleasure upon other terms ? Where is that man's 
reason that will be at all this trouble for nothing, and yet 
will cry out to God, or to his minister, ' What need all this 
ado to be saved V Ask a gasping man on his death-bed, 
whether this labour had not been better laid out for heaven? 
And whether heaven or earth will pay a man better for his 
care and pains ? What ! doth the Lord himself cry out to 
sinners, " Lay not up for yourselves a treasure on earth, 
where rust and moth doth corrupt, but lay up for yourselves 
a treasure in heaven, &c." ** Seek first the kingdom of 
God, and his righteousness, &c." " Labour not for the food 
which perisheth, but for that which endureth to everlasting 
life'^." And shall men that call themselves Christians say, 
that this is more ado than needs ? 

Thus, sinners, will your minds be changed, if ever you be 
converted : you will then be quite of another mind con- 
cerning the world, and God, and the wicked, and the godly, 
than now you are. I tell you, God will unteach you again 
all these false opinions about these matters, which the devil, 
the world, and the flesh have been so long teaching you. 
It is his work to unteach you first, and then to teach you 
better things : this will be so. You that now say you will 
never believe but a man may be saved without so much ado ; 
you will never believe that none shall be saved but those 
that are thus changed ; you will never believe that God 
maketh so great a matter of sin as preachers talk of: if God 
will convert and save you, he will make you believe it. 
Even the most confident of these conceits will be changed. 
Be not too peremptory, man, God can yet shew thee so 
much mercy as to change thy mind : he hath changed as 
self-conceited men's minds as thine, and hath shaken as 
confident opinions as these : Paul thought himself as wise 
as you, before his conversion, and telleth us, " I verily 
thought myself that I ought to do many things contrary to 
the name of Jesus." But when God had struck him down, 
and amazed him with his glory, and then illuminated him 
with his saving light, he cried out, " Lord, what wouldst 
thou have me to do ?" Acts ix. 6. And this with trembling 
and astonishment. And Tit. iii. 3. He telleth you what 

«» Malt. Ti. 19, 20. 35. John vi. 27. 



32 TREATISE OP CONVERSION. 

he thought then of his former courses : " We ourselves 
were sometime foolish, disobedient, serving divers lusts and 
pleasures ;" but hovi^ vv^as he healed? ver. 4, 5. " But after 
that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man 
appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have 
done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing 
of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." You say 
you will never be of another mind ; aye, but God can make 
you of another mind : his light cannot be overcome by 
your darkness, if he mean you so much mercy as to shine 
in upon your souls. This is the fourth part of the change 
of men's understandings from error to saving truth in the 
matters of salvation. 

11. The second part of the work of conversion is upon 
the Heart or Will, to which this change of the mind or un- 
derstanding is preparative : and in this change of the heart, 
there are these several parts observable. 1. The will is 
brought to like what it disliked, and to dislike what it liked 
before. 2. It is brought to choose what it refused ; and to 
consent to that which it would not consent to. 3. It is 
brought to resolve, where it was, either resolved on the con- 
trary, or unresolved. 4. The several Affections are changed, 
of love and hatred, desire and aversion, delight and sorrow, 
hope and despair, courage and fear, and anger, and content, 
and discontent. In all these respects the converted is 
changed, which we must therefore speak of in their order. 

1. The first change that God maketh on the heart or 
will in the work of conversion (after the preparatory works 
which we now pass over) is, in the complacency or displa- 
cency of it : he causeth that to savour or relish as sweet to 
the will, which before was bitter : the soul receiveth a new 
inclination ; it liketh that which before it disliked, not only 
by a mere approbation, but by a willing closure of the heart 
therewith. So that, these two things, a New Inclination, 
and a New Complacency, do go to make up this first part 
of the work. Before conversion the very bent of man's 
mind is toward the things below, and his heart is against 
the things of God : he relisheth the things below as sweet ; 
and it pleaseth him to possess them, or to think of possess- 
ing them, but he hath no pleasure in God, nor in thinking 
or hearing of the life to come : all things please or displease 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 33 

a man, according as they agree or disagree to his inclina- 
tion ; and as they seem to him either suitable or unsuitable. 
Things do not please or displease according to their own 
goodness or badness, but according to the qualification of 
him that apprehendeth or entertaineth them. To the hungry 
soul every bitter thing is sweet, but the full soul loatheth 
the honey-comb ^, What life can be more pleasant to a 
glutton or drunkard, than to pour in and stuff their paunch? 
And to any sharp stomach, how good is their meat? But 
when a man is sick, there is scarce a greater torment than 
to eat or drink, when the stomach goeth against it. Oh 
how they loathe it, and cannot get it down ! They had 
rather cast the daintiest fare into the channel, than take it 
into their stomachs ; so it is with the sick, unrenewed soul : 
he hath no pleasure in God, nor any holy things : it goeth 
against his heart to think of them, or seriously to speak or 
hear much of them. He marvelleth how other men can find 
so much delight in reading, and hearing, and praying, and 
the like ; for his part he is weary to bear it ; though for 
fashion, or fear of God's wrath he comes to church, orsaith 
over a few words of hypocritical, heartless prayer, yet he 
usually makes no long matter of it ; but he longeth till it 
be done, and he is glad when it is over; therefore the 
Scripture calleth such, enemies to God, and haters of him ; 
for their heaits are not with him, though with their tongues 
they may draw near hini^. I know it is a very common 
thing with almost all men to profess that God hath more of 
their hearts than their pleasures, profits, or any thing else ; 
but it hath blinded them so, that they know not themselves : 
otherwise it would be a very easy matter for them to per- 
ceive that their very hearts are turned away from God. 
Many poor sinners are even willing to cheat their souls with 
a lie, when they might know that their hearts have no de- 
light in God ; but that the very thoughts of him and of his 
word, and service, and everlasting life, are rather grievous 
to them ; and as the psalmist saith, " God is not in all their 
thoughts ." '* The Lord knoweth their thoughts, that they 
are vain ^" Well, this is then the first change that God by 
his renewing grace doth make upon the heart j he turneth it 



d Prov. xxvii. 7. 


« IsB. xxix. 13. 


Matt. XV. 8. 


^ Psal. X. 4. xciv. 11. 


« 




VOL. VII. 


O 





34 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

to himself, he giveth it a new inclination and bias : he first 
openeth men's eyes to see God's excellency and the excel- 
lency of those glorious things which he hath promised ; and 
thereby draweth their hearts unto them. It is a great and 
difficult matter to set the heart of "man upon heaven, but 
God can do it, and doth it in this great change. I know 
the best are still earthly in part, and too much in the dark, 
and too backward to the things of God, and God hath not 
near that room in their hearts as he deserves, and as they 
could wish he had : yet a wonderful change is made on them : 
they that had no savour of God and glory before, do now 
savour nothing else so much ; they can truly say as David, 
though perhaps not so feelingly as he, " Whom have I in 
heaven but thee, and there is none on earth that I de- 
sire besides thee ^" He that scarce thought of God before, 
now his mind runs upon him ; now his thoughts are, 
whether God be reconciled to him, or not : and how God 
appro veth of him, and his ways : were he sure of his favour 
he would think himself happy : could he but know him, and 
enjoy him more, he had the very desire of his heart. It is 
his greatest trouble that he is no nearer him, and no more 
fit to please and honour him ; and God hath no more room 
in his heart. Unfeignedly he grudgeth at the remnants of 
sin, that they should so weary and grieve the Spirit of God, 
and hinder his more sensible enjoyment of his love ; it 
grieveth him that any of that room in his heart should be 
taken up by fleshly and worldly vanities, which he knoweth 
doth of right belong to Christ. It is his care to give him 
yet better entertainment, and to get out those remnants of 
sin and vanity, that God at last may have it all to himself. 
It is his daily business to sweep out this dung, and dress up 
his disordered heart for Christ; and glad he is when he 
can but find any signs of his presence, and feeleth any 
stirring of his grace ; and when he can but move towards 
him more swiftly by a stronger love ; this is the true condi- 
tion and temper of a converted soul ; all other men do but 
talk of God, but it is only these that give him their heart. 
Sirs, I would fain make this as plain as I can to you, and I 
would fain have you try as we go along, whether this change 
has been made in your own hearts or not. You know that 

s Psal. Ixxiii. '25. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 35 

there is something or other that every man is most pleased 
in, and his mind is most towards ; and this complacency 
and bent of the mind, is the very spring of almost all his 
conversation ; but if he have no pleasure in it, nor mind to 
it, he will neglect it, whatsoever you can say or do. Here 
is the true root of the difference between the hearts of the 
carnal, and of the spiritual : before a man is converted, his 
mind is not towards God, but upon other things ; but after- 
wards nothing is so near and dear to him. Mark the dis- 
covery of both these states, Rom. viii. 5 — 9. ** For they that 
are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh ; but they 
that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be 
carnally minded is death ; but to be spiritually minded is life 
and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God : 
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can 
be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the 
Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the 
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Here you see in the 
very words of the Holy Ghost a plain description of these 
two different conditions of men ; till a man be converted, 
his mind is more on his fleshly pleasure or commodity, or 
credit in the world, than in God or the happiness of the 
world to come. Whatsoever he may say or pretend to the 
love of God, yet God knoweth that his mind is another way : 
but when converting grace comes, it taketh oft' the old bias, 
and setteth on a new one ; and now the man that was car- 
nally minded is become spiritually minded. Sinners, if you 
would but enter into your own hearts, and ask them what 
it is that seemeth best to you in all the world ; what it is 
that most pleaseth you ; what you would have if you might 
have your choice ; by this you might know the bent of your 
mind ; and so know whether you are indeed converted, or 
not. You think, it may be, that you may have worldly and 
fleshly minds, and yet have grace too : and that you may 
set your hearts most upon your fleshly and worldly pleasures, 
and yet be the children of God; but deceive not yourselves, 
it cannot be : believe it, it cannot be. Oh that those men 
did think of this, that drown their hearts in the cares of this 
life ; or wilfully run on in gluttony, drunkenness, or other 
fleshly delights. If ever you escape the torments you have 



36 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

deserved, if ever you will see the face of God in peace, those 
hearts must be turned quite another way ; those delights 
must grow bitter to you : you must be ashamed of your pre- 
sent pleasure ^. And your souls must abhor them in com- 
parison of Christ, and even abhor yourselves for all your 
abominations '. And cast them all away as dross and dung, 
and account all as loss for the winning of Christ, which now 
you think your greatest gain*". Oh sinners, how low will 
all these things be then in your hearts ? When you look 
upon all the glory of this world, it will be no more lovely 
than a dead carcase in your eyes : for you will be cruci- 
fied to the world, ^nd the world to you. If a man would 
then offer you all the kingdoms and glory of the earth, it 
would be but as a chip to you, it would stink in your 
thoughts if it tended to deprive you of everlasting glory. 
Many infirmities may stand with grace, but a carnal or 
worldly mind in a prevailing sense cannot. *' Love not the 
world nor the things of the world, for if any man love the 
world, the love of the Father is not in him °^." I know there 
are few men so foolish and ungodly, but will say with their 
tongues, that God is better than the creature, and heaven 
than earth, and would give it as their judgment under their 
hand, and confirm it with an oath, that they do not dissem- 
ble: yea, but the question is of the inclination and com- 
placency of their hearts ; which do these men love better, 
and which do they mind as the most suitable good ? Never 
tell me that their estimation of God is sincere, unless it 
affect the heart with an answerable complacency and incli- 
nation to him : they may apprehend it as truth that God is 
the chief good, but they do not truly, that is thoroughly, ap- 
prehend it. 

But when converting grace comes, it doth this work. I 
know when the best Christians have reached to the great- 
est knowledge of God, and sense of his love, which in this 
life they may expect, they will still be looking higher after 
more. And the apprehension of that which they yet come 
short of, will much darken the apprehension of their present 
attainment : infiniteness will quite overmatch both our ap- 
prehensions and our affections : but though we are ready to 

h Rom. vi. 21. i Ezek. xxxvi. 21. ^ Phil. iii. 8, 9. 

^ 1 John ii- 15. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 37 

call our present glimpse and taste of Gocl, a very nothing, 
when we compare our knowledge of him with our ignorance, 
and our enjoyments with our wants ; yet when we compare 
these small things with all the pleasures or profits of this 
world, we see that we have chosen the better part. Alas, 
the poor converted soul hath quickly a taste of the vanity of 
this world in the very first heart-breaking and humbling 
that he was brought into ; when his sin is set in order be- 
fore him, and the voice of the law doth make his heart to 
tremble, and an angry God doth look him into terrors, what 
then can all the world do for his relief? How sensibly then 
doth he say. Oh, silly comforters ! what should I do if I had 
no better hopes ! Oh, what contemptuous thoughts and 
speeches then hath he of all these things that he once so 
much valued ! He thinketh he can scarce find words that 
are base enough for them. If he could find worse than 
Paul's losses, and dross, and dung, and dogs-meat, he 
would do it. O that men would now in the day of their 
prosperity bethink themselves of this, which all shall 
know at last. It is a most doleful sight to any man of 
wisdom and compassion to see men that have wounded 
and loaden consciences, to run up and down, after pleasure 
and profit', as if these would heal them, which have made 
their wounds ; men that are even undone for want of heal- 
ing, and are within a step of hell, and will certainly and 
very speedily be there, if Christ, by saving, renewing grace, 
do not recover them, do quite forget the nature of their 
distress, and the thing they want, and mind the toys of 
worldly things, as if they would save them. What, still is 
sin sweet to you, when it hath made such work against 
your souls? Still is this world so lovely in your eyes, when 
it hath enticed you already to the very brink of hell ? Oh 
poor bewitched souls, that will dote upon that which you 
confess deceiveth you! That will dig your own graves 
with such excessive pains, and purchase a room in ever- 
lasting torments at so dear a rate ? Well, if ever God will 
have mercy on your souls, he will show you another kind of 
pleasure and felicity ; he will acquaint you with that which 
shall be worth your labour ; he will bring those sick dis- 
tempered souls to another relish than now they have. He 
will make you spit out this dirt and dung, and thirst for the 



38 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

living water that shall spring up in you to everlasting life ". 
And instead of your over-eager seeking the food that 
perisheth, he will make you hunger after the bread of life **. 
What the unsanctified man doth most love, we may see by 
experience ; we see what he seeks after partly by his life ; 
and will you see out of Scripture yet more fully which way 
the heart of the sanctified is inclined ? " The love of God 
is shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Ghost p." They 
** are confident that nothing can separate them from this 
love, neither height nor breadth i, &c." They can some- 
times appeal to Christ himself with Peter, " Lord, thou 
knowest that I love thee^" "Oh howl love thy Law!" 
said David, '* it is my meditation day and night, yea, I love 
them exceedingly %" saith he ; " above gold ^" above their 
appointed or necessary food "," saith Job. " Thy word was 
the joy and rejoicing of my heart ''," saith Jeremiah. So 
vehement was Paul against those men that could not love 
the Lord of love, that he pronounceth them accursed with 
the greatest curse ^. " Thy law," saith David, " is within 
my heart. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord. My 
soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the Lord, 
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Blessed 
are they that dwell in thy house ; blessed is the man whose 
strength is in thee, in whose hearts are the ways of them. 
My soul breaketh for the longing it hath to thy judgments 
at all times. Thou art my God, early will I seek thee ; my 
soul^thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee ; to see thy 
power and thy glory as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 
Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips 
shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live, I will 
lift up my heart in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as 
with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee 
with joyful lips, when I remember thee upon my bed, and 
meditate on thee in the night season""." 

2. The second part of the change of the heart is in its 
intents. Conversion setteth a man upon right ends. All 
the work of a man*s life lieth in intending certain ends, and 

n John iv. 14. " John vi. 17. P Rom. v. 5. 

1 Rora. viii. 39. ^ j^hn xxi. 15. « Psal. cxix. 167. 

' Ver. 127. » Chap, xxiii. 12. " Chap.xv. 16. 

y 1 Cor. xvi. 22. ^ Psal. xl. 8. Ixxxiv. 1, 2. cxix. 520. Ixiii. 1 — 3. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 39 

using certain means to obtain them. And all the work of 
Christianity lieth in intending right ends, and in using 
right means to obtain them. The chief part of man's cor- 
ruption in his depraved natural state, doth consist in this, 
that he intendeth wrong ends : that is a man's end, which 
he accounteth his felicity, his treasure, his chiefest good, 
and which he useth all things else to obtain. Whatsoever 
you think the best thing in the world for you, and had 
rather have it than any thing else ; and whatsoever you 
principally seek after in your life, and think yourself most 
happy if you could obtain it, and think yourself most 
miserable if you miss of it, and therefore had rather lose all 
than that, and make it your main business to be sure that 
you may enjoy it, that, and nothing else but that, is your 
end. In general, every man's happiness is his end, and this 
nature itself, as nature, doth so far adhere to, and intend, 
that no man can do otherwise, and there is no note of man's 
not intending this. But generals are nothing, but as they 
are found in particular things : when it comes to the parti- 
cular object of fruition, and what it is wherein men's hap- 
piness doth consist, there it is that the depraved nature 
doth most damnably err. For every carnal man doth 
apprehend it the best condition for him to enjoy his carnal 
pleasure, and profit, and vain-glory in this world ; or if he 
look for a life to come, he would have it consist of such 
kind of pleasures as he here enjoyed in this life ; and, there- 
fore, his very heart is most set upon these sensual worldly 
things : he hath a nature so suitable to them, that he 
savoureth these as the sweetest delights, and things fittest 
for him ; and, therefore, his very business, and daily care 
and work in the world, is to get, or increase, or keep, or 
enjoy and draw out the sweetness of these sensual things. 
So that an earthly man hath an earthly mind, and earthly 
ends, as Christ said to Nicodemus^. That which is born of 
the earth is earthly ; and a fleshly man hath a fleshly mind, 
and fleshly ends, as I before shewed, from Rom. viii. 7. they 
cannot see in the love of God, or the enjoyment of him, so 
certain, so suitable a good for them, as may be their felicity, 
and better to them than these earthly things. Either they 
doubt whether the happiness which they see not be 
WM ' John iii. 6. 



40 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

true, or a mere delusion ; or else they think that it is too far 
off, and a place too strange to them to be their felicity. 
They think that God and man are at too great a distance to 
be so mutually loved, and that he is so strange to us, as to 
be an unsuitable object for our highest love. Nay, because 
of his holiness, justice, and the other blessed perfections 
of his nature, and because he will judge the ungodly world 
unto perdition ; therefore their hearts are even against him, 
and they that call him their God, have a secret enmity to 
him. So that, before conversion, it is the sinful miserable 
state of all men, that God is not their end ; he hath not 
their hearts. It is not he that they most seek after in their 
lives, nor in whom, their souls apprehend the chiefest delight 
and felicity to consist. But it is in the fleshly pleasures, or 
profits, or honour of this world. It is some creature, and 
not God, that hath men's hearts, their care, and earnest dili- 
gence. Hence it is, that they are said to " have their por- 
tion in this life," Psa. xviii. 14. and are there called " the men 
of the world." They are such as " lay up a treasure on earth '"" 
They think none can shew them any greater good, and 
apprehend not the joy of the light of God's countenance '\ 
They seek only " what they shall eat or drink, or wherewith 
they shall be clothed," for this is the custom of the '* na- 
tions of the worlds" " They make light of Christ," and 
the kingdom that he promiseth, in comparison of their 
farms, their oxen, their worldly wealth and pleasure^, 
*' They lay up treasures for themselves here, but are not 
rich towards God ^" If they have abundance, they cheer 
their souls, as having " enough for many years," and so re- 
solve to " eat, drink, and be merry ^" If they are called by 
a trial to part with all for Christ, and the hope of everlast- 
ing glory, " they go away sorrowful because of their riches," 
or the dearness of that which they are called to forsake. In 
a word, they are such as a compassionate man should men- 
tion with tears, " they are enemies to the cross of Christ," 
though not always to his name. " Their end is destruction, 
their God is their belly, their glory is in their shame, they 
mind earthly things s." They " make provision for the flesh 

a Matt. vi. 18, 19. •» Psal. iv. 6, 7. « Luke xii. 29—31. 

«! Luke xii. 21. Matt. xxii. 5. *^ Luke xii. 21. *" Luke xii. 19. 

s Phil. iii. 19. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 41 

to fulfil the lusts thereof V They have their " good things 
in this life," when the godly have their " evil things," and 
therefore when others " are comforted, they shall be torment- 
ed '." All these Scriptures declare to you what are the ends 
of unconverted men, and where are their hearts. " For where 
their treasure is, there will their hearts be ''. 

But when the Spirit comes with converting grace; the 
very ends and intents of a man are changed : as he findeth 
the greatest excellency in God, and the things of the life to 
come ; so hath he there laid up his treasure ^, and fixed his 
hopes : he hath reckoned what the world is worth, and how 
much it can afford him, and how long it will last him, and 
what it will do for him in the greatest need ; and upon cer- 
tain knowledge of its vanity and insufficiency he hath re- 
solved that this cannot make him happy. If ever you be 
converted, you will know all this to be true by experience 
that I say : that it is the work of converting grace to make 
a man consider whether all that he can hope for in this 
world will make him indeed a happy man, and upon consi- 
deration he findeth it will not serve his turn. Godbringeth 
it now close to his thoughts and affections, so that the mere 
splendour, and sugared taste, and glozing appearances of 
worldly things cannot deceive him as formerly they did ; 
but he understandeth now the utmost they can do for him ; 
he considereth how that they do but flatter him into the 
grave and hell, and leave him when he is in the depth of 
his distress : before he was as the prodigal, that thought it 
hard keeping to live in his father's house, but abroad and 
among his companions and pleasures he would go ; but 
when he comes to himself, he finds that he must home again, 
or perish with hunger : the poor soul then layeth all these 
things to heart ; alas, thinks he, I may be merry a few days 
more if 1 hold on in this company and course, but will this 
life last for ever? I may be somebody in the world for a 
while, if I can be rich or honourable ; but how long can I 
keep it when I have got it? I may please my mind among 
my friends and worldly businesses, my corn and cattle, my 
pleasures and prosperity ; but what shall I do shortly when 
these things are gone? I may think now that I can live 

'■ Rom. xiii. 12, 14. ' Luke xvi. 25. '' Matf. vi. 21. 

» Matt. vi. 20. 



42 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

without the favour of God, but can I do so when I haveJ no- 
thing else to live on ? Alas ! is that fit to be instead of 
God and heaven to me, that will not keep me out of the 
grave, nor keep my strongest or most beautiful parts from 
rotting in the dust; no, nor keep my soul from everlasting 
torments ? Oh, what shall I do if I have not a better por- 
tion than this ? Woe to me that ever I was born, if I be 
not better provided for before I die ! Thus doth God take 
off* the soul in conversion from its former ends, and makes it 
say. Lord, these will not serve my turn ; O put me not off" 
with such things as these. When the soul is thus loosened 
from its former delight, and seeth that it must be some- 
thing else that must be his happiness ; then doth the Spirit 
by the word of God reveal to him the certainty and the 
fulness of that glory that is to be had by Christ in the ever- 
lasting love and fruition of God ; and then he sees that 
though it be not here to be had, yet it is to be had hereaf- 
ter ; and that man was made to higher things than he hath 
hitherto minded. Now he begins to bethink himself in 
good sadness, that heaven may be had, and that for him as 
well as others ; the impossibility is taken away by Christ, 
and the door is set open ; the glory is inconceivable, and if 
he can but once get it he is made for ever. These thoughts 
now work in the heart of the man that never had such lively 
working thoughts of it before. So that now he feeleth his 
heart burn within him, when he hath once found where his 
happiness is to be had ; presently, the Spirit having touched 
his heart with an effectual inclination thereto, he is bent 
upon it, and sets his heart and face to seek it. And now 
this is his business ; comparatively he hath nothing else to 
do. Now it must be God or none ; heaven, or nothing that 
will serve his turn. Now if God should offer him, * I will 
give thee mirth and riches for a thousand years without in- 
terruption, I will give thee the good word of all about thee, I 
will make thee the greatest man on earth, and thou shalt have 
the world at will ; but not my love and grace in Christ, nor 
the hope of everlasting glory :' this would be the saddest 
news that ever came to his soul. It is not now the same 
thing that would please him as before. Tell not him now 
of profit and pleasure ; it is everlasting pleasure that he 
must have. He hath another journey to go, another home 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 43 

to regard, another kind of trade to drive on in the world 
than before he had. Now he ** looketh for a city that hath 
foundations, whose builder and maker is God ;" and there- 
fore doth take himself but as a stranger on earth, and one 
that sojourneth in a foreign country'. Now the best of 
worldly things will no longer satisfy them ; but they " desire 
a better country, that is, an heavenly. Wherefore God is 
not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for 
them a city "\" Now they are soundly persuaded that ** there 
is a God, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently 
seek him ;" and that this reward is beyond the grave, and 
therefore they have respect to the recompence of reward, 
and are content to submit to the sufferings of this life, that 
so they may obtain a better resurrection ". He now is to 
this world as a dead man in comparison ; " crucified to the 
world, and the world to him''.'' " And his life is hid with 
Christ in God ; and when Christ, who is his life, shall ap- 
pear, then shall he appear also with him in glory p." 

Beloved hearers, you may easily conceive that it is a very 
great change, that causeth a man to have other ends than 
ever he had before, and that quite turneth the very bent of 
his heart and life, and maketh Jiim have quite a contrary 
business in the world, than before he had ; that setteth a 
man's face another way, so that he that before went one 
way, doth now go the clean contrary. Alas ! it is not the 
restraint of a wicked work or two, or the outward civilizing 
of your lives, that is true conversion. It is such a change 
as I am now describing to you, that turneth you quite ano- 
ther way. If you are true Christians that hear me, you know 
it, or may know it, to be thus with yourselves. For cer- 
tainly you have had experience of this in your souls. It 
were no impossible thing for you now, if you were but will- 
ing, to know certainly whether you be converted, yea or no. 
One would think that a man's end might be discerned above 
all things. Cannot you know what you like and love best? 
And what you would fain have ? And what you cannot be 
content without? And what you drive at in the course of 
your lives ? And what you place your hopes and happiness 
in, which you will have, though you part with all to get it? 

' Heb. xi. 9, 10, 13. ™ Heb. xi. 16. " H<b. xi. 6, 26, 3.5. 

" Gal. ri. 14. >» Col. iii. 3, 4. 



44 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

And what it is that beareth down all things else in your 
hearts and lives? Why something or other doth this, what- 
soever it be, and this is your end. And one would think, 
that this which so much takes one up, and so much sways, 
and is the business of his life, might be well discerned. 
Sirs, deal truly between God and your souls. What hath 
your hearts ? What game do you follow ? What do you 
mind above all? I ask not whether you set not a foot now 
and then out of the way : but which way are you travelling ? 
For earth or for heaven ? O that you would but be faithful 
to your souls in this trial ! I have often told you, and will 
tell you yet again, and desire you to remember it as long as 
you live, that this is the true difference between every true 
converted soul, and all hypocrites and carnal men in the 
world ; ' That to the true Christian indeed, God and ever- 
lasting glory is his main end, and religion is his business, 
and all worldly things come in but upon the bye, and there- 
fore he can have them, or be without them ; whereas with 
all hypocrites and carnal men, the pleasing of their flesh in 
this world, is their main end, and therefore worldliness, vo- 
luptuousness, or ambition is their business, and the matters 
of God and religion come in but upon the bye, and there- 
fore they can taste of them, or they can be without them.' 
I would you would keep this one mark by you while you 
live: by which you may judge yourselves without deceit ; 
and so the true Christian need not deny his sincerity, nor 
the hypocrite imagine that he is what he is not, but might 
certainly know that he is yet in the flesh. And thus I have 
shewn you what is the second part of Conversion of the 
Will or Heart, even the change of a man's ends and inten- 
tions. 

3. The third part of the work of Conversion on the Will, 
is this. The same Spirit in the word, which changeth a man's 
ends, doth also change him as to the choice of means, and 
causes him to choose what before he refused, and to consent 
to that which before he did reject. Heaven is not obtained 
in every way, but in God's own way, and if a man should 
never so much intend God as his end, and yet not seek him 
in the means of his appointment, (though I think there is 
none that doth so, or that ever these indeed are separated, 
yet I say, if such a thing were,) it would not save him. It is 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 45 

not enough to know where we must be happy, but we must 
also know how to come thither. There is but one right way 
to salvation in the main, and he that will be saved, must be 
sure to hit it. 

(1 ) There are two sorts of means or ways to salvation ; 
not contrary, but one subordinate to the other ; but one is 
the chief and principal way, and that is Jesus Christ and the 
Holy Ghost ; the other is the subservient way, and that is 
the means that Christ hath appointed under himself. When 
man was lost, there was no remedy for him in heaven or 
earth, but the ever-living Son of God to come down from 
heaven, and take our nature, and perfectly obey the law, 
and suffer for our disobedience ; this he did in compassion 
to mankind. He was born of a virgin, without man, and 
without sin, by the power of the Holy Ghost. He lived on 
earth without sin also, and proved his Godhead and doc- 
trine by his works ; he raised the dead, healed the lame, the 
blind, the sick, and at last offered himself on the cross a sa- 
crifice for our sins, in suffering that which we must else 
have suffered ; and being buried, he rose again on the third 
day, and after forty days in the sight of his disciples, ascended 
into heaven, where he is now in our nature interceding for 
us, and preparing us a place. And before he departed from 
earth, he ordained this law, and sent his disciples to preach 
it to all the world ; that all they that would renounce their 
own works, and trust their souls upon his redemption and 
ransom, and forsake the world, the flesh, and the devil, and 
take him for their only Lord and Saviour, and so return to 
God himself, shall receive the pardon of all their sin, and 
be made the heirs of everlasting glory. And he hath pro- 
mised also to send his sanctifying Spirit to dwell and work 
in those that believe. Thus you see what is the principal 
means of salvation : it is the Lord Jesus Christ, who having 
suffered for us, is offered to us in the Gospel, to be our Head 
and Husband, our Saviour and our Lord. 

Two things are here of absolute necessity to our salva- 
tion : the one is, to believe unfeignedly that Christ is the 
Messiah and Redeemer of the world : and the second is, to ac- 
cept him as he is offered to us in the Gospel. Now the heart of 
an unconverted sinner is against both these. 1. It doth not 
soundly believe the truth of Christ's incarnation, resurrec- 



40 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

tion, and ascension, but only by a common, customary, su- 
perficial belief: but of this I spoke before. 2. He doth not 
welcome Christ to his soul, as he is offered to him ; partly 
because men are unhumbled and feel not the need of Christ ; 
for ** the whole need not a physician, but they that are 
sick :" and partly, because that Christ would reclaim them 
from the way that they take pleasure in, and would brin^ them 
into a way that is against their hearts ; and many other causes 
there are. So that, even where Christ seemeth to be much 
honoured, and men will bow, and do the greatest reverence 
to his name, and profess themselves his faithful servants, 
and that they trust their salvation on him alone : yet for all 
this they do not savingly or sincerely believe in him. They 
have learned to speak well of Christ, and they are willing to 
be forgiven by him; but they never laid hold on him, as a 
drowning man would do on that which might save him ; 
nor did they ever feel at their hearts, what a glorious work 
of mercy he hath wrought in their redemption ; and how 
much he hath done for them, and how much he hath engag- 
ed their souls unto himself. They never had any of the 
saints' admiration at the height, and breadth, and length, 
and depth "i, nor have they been taken up with this astonish- 
ing project of love, as men thus redeemed at such a rate 
must be ; nor would they ever consent that Christ should 
rule over them, and mortify their lusts, and bring them back 
from the flesh to God : and therefore they are unbelievers, 
even while they profess the faith of Christ. But when con- 
verting grace comes, as it raiseth the soul's estimation of 
Christ, as I have said before, so doth it open the heart to 
his entertainment. O what glad news is it to desolate, 
self-condemned souls to hear that the Son of God hath 
bought them with his blood ! It is life to them to hear the 
glad tidings of their redemption. It is the very work of the 
Spirit in conversion, to bring the soul into this admiration 
of redemption ; and to shew it the riches of grace in Christ, 
and the mystery of this blessed work, when his eyes are 
opened to see how God designed here the magnifying of his 
love ; and how glorious God is in his mercy in the work of 
redemption, even as glorious as in his power in the work of 
creation. And when his wounded soul hath well understood 

a Eph. iii. 18. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION 47 

how Christ hath made him a plaster of his blood, this makes 
him have other thoughts of Christ and redemption than be- 
fore he had. O how much sweeter to him are the hearing, 
and reading, and thinking of this Christ, than before they 
were ! He that before did shut the door, and let Christ 
knock and knock again, and could so often churlishly resist 
him ; O how the case is now altered with him ! Now Christ 
is to him as cordial waters to a man in a swoon ; as a hand 
to a drowning man ; as drink to a man in a burning fever ; 
as a pardon to a man condemned to die : the name of Christ 
doth even revive him, when withal he can but have some 
hope that he is his. O could you now assure him that 
Christ is willing to pass over all his unkind resistance, and 
to be friends with him, and wash his soul in his blood, how 
glad a man would he be ! When sin stares him in the face, 
O then for a Christ to make his peace ! When conscience 
is up in arms against him, now how doth Christ befriend 
him, to step in and bear the stroke ! He saith not as Pha- 
raoh, ** Who is the Lord that I should serve him?'' Nor 
as they in Job xxi. 14. ** Depart from us, we desire not the 
knowledge of thy ways :" nor as the common rebels of the 
world, ** We will not have this man to reign over us "^i" but 
as Laban to Abraham's servants, " Come in thou blessed of 
the Lord ; wherefore standest thou without? For the house 
and room is prepared for thee ^" Too long have I made 
my soul a sink, a sty, a dungeon, when it might and should 
have been thy dwelling, and the temple of thy Holy Spirit. 
Come in. Lord, and let sin possess thy room no longer. 
Hath here been room for the world, and room for fleshly 
lusts and pleasures, and is there no room for thee? Let thy 
graces dwell where sin hath dwelt; here is room for them 
all ; or if there be not room, O cast out sin, and make thee 
room. Thou that madest all things ready for me, before 
thou calledst me by the voice of the Gospel, make all within 
me ready for thyself, and cast out him that is stronger than 
I, and hath held my heart so long in a peaceable captivity. 
Only thy presence now will do me good : I die if thou revive 
me not : I am devoured by the jaws of the devouring lion, if 
thou do not rescue me. 1 am tormented by my own con- 
science, and nothing but thine appHed blood can mollify it. 

•^ Luke xix. i7- » (ien.xxiv. 31. 



48 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

I am accused and condemned by the law, which I have bro- 
ken, and what shall I say or do, if thou come not in, and 
plead thy blood, and answer for me ? I have many thou- 
sand sins that will be brought in against me ; and how shall 
I come off, but by the virtue of thy sacrifice? Hell is ready 
to devour me everlastingly, if thou do not save me. Save 
me, save me. Lord, or I perish ! I am lost, undone, a damn- 
ed man if thou do not save me. The devils that have de- 
ceived me, do but stay to torment me if thou do not save 
me. A just and angry God will be to me everlastingly a 
consuming fire, if his indignation be not quenched by thy 
blood and intercession. There is no other name under hea- 
ven by which I can be saved*. No, no, it must be Christ 
alone, it must be Christ or none, Christ, or 1 am lost. Now 
doth the poor soul look upon Christ as on the fire or air, 
that he cannot live without ; he sees an absolute necessity 
for him in the main, and an absolute necessity for every par- 
ticular. Every sin that he remembereth, telleth him that 
he hath need of Christ. Every corruption that he feeleth 
stirring within him, telleth him of the absolute need of 
Christ. Every temptation that assaulteth him, telleth him 
of the need of Christ. He never falleth into any known sin 
again, (which alas ! is too often,) but it maketh him see the 
need of Christ. He findeth he could not live a day or an 
hour safely without him : he cannot wash away one spot, 
nor master one corruption without him. When he goes to 
God in prayer for his soul, he then findeth the need of Christy 
he dare not draw near if Christ take him not by the hand ; 
he knows there is no admittance in any other name. He 
durst not look God in the face, nor name him, nor worship 
him, nor hope for any mercy from him, but through Christ. In 
a word, without Christ he dares neither live nor die. You 
see then where another part of conversion lieth in this true 
belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. You may know and say all 
this of Christ before conversion ; but you never rightly ap- 
prehend it and feel it, till then. 

And as the merit, so the Spirit of Christ is here compre- 
hended ; for I join both together for brevity. It is by his 
Spirit that Christ takes down the strong contradiction of 
the flesh, and bringeth all in subjection to himself; as light 

' Acts iv. U. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 49 

prevaileth against darkness, and strength against weakness, 
and life against death, so doth the Spirit prevail for Christ 
in the souls of the elect. Before conversion, there is no- 
thing but grieving and striving against, and quenching the 
Spirit, and using it like an enemy. But now how glad is 
the soul of his presence ! how loath to grieve him ! how 
fearful of quenching it ! And if by some unkindness the 
Spirit seem to be withdrawn, what moan doth he make ! 
and how sadly doth he cry out as David did ; " Restore 
to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me by thy free 
Spirit":" and if he feel the Spirit as it were, departing from 
him, he calls aloud with David, " Cast me not away from 
thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me "".^ As 
a living man is loath to die, and knoweth that when his 
Spirit is gone from his body, he will be a carcase, and there- 
fore will use all possible means to keep the soul and body 
from parting, even so the true believer knows that if the 
Spirit of God were gone from his soul, the soul were dead 
or worse than dead, and therefore it is his daily care to 
keep the Spirit and his soul from parting. He apprehend- 
eth it now to be a blessed privilege indeed, to have the Spi- 
rit of Jesus still within him, to be his temple, and by him to 
be preserved from temptation, excited to duties, and anima- 
ted in them, and sanctified to the service of him that did re- 
deem him. 

And now sirs, I must needs say to those of you that are 
unconverted, that all these matters are strange to you ; you 
hear me, but you have felt no such things as these within 
yourselves. Oh what a difference is there between this 
living faith in Christ, and the name of faith, and the image 
of Christianity, which you boast of and presume upon ! 
What a difference is there between these warm heart-re- 
viving closures with Christ, and your cold belief and dull 
profession ! It is one thing for Christ to dwell in the heart 
by faith, and another thing for him to have the custom of 
the country, and the law of the land on his side, to make 
way for him. It is one thing for a man that is well, to ho- 
nour a physician, and another thing for a sick man to seek 
out to him, and beg his help, and take him for his physi- 
cian, and willingly take down any think;' that he giveth him. 

« PsaLluia. =* Ver. 11. 

VOL. VII. E 



50 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

I pray you mark what I say, because it is the most common 
delusion of unconverted men among us, that they verily 
think that they truly believe in Christ already : and there is 
a common belief that will never save them, and that they 
take up with, and look not after the saving faith : I cannot 
better open the difference to ordinary capacities, than by 
the aforesaid comparison. You know a man in health may 
truly believe that such- a man is an able physician, and he 
may speak well of him, and honour him : now suppose a man 
were deadly sick of a consumption, and did not know it ; if 
this man bono ureth the physician as much as any other health- 
ful man, will this cure him, or save his life ? No, but the pa- 
tient that prayeth him to cometohim, and will trust his life in 
his hands, and will take the bitterest medicine that he gives 
him, and will forbear any hurtful meat or drink, be it never so 
pleasant to him, this is he that is like to be healed by him. 
Christ is known among us to be the able physician of souls ; 
we all confess and praise his skill, and know that he can save 
us. We all hear of the freeness of his cure, that he takes no- 
thing, but doth it as soon for the poorest beggar, as the 
greatest prince ; but knowing all this, and speaking well of 
him, will cure no man ; no, but you must go to him believ- 
ingly, and beg his help, and take him for your physician, 
and trust your souls upon his blood and Spirit, and apply 
his means, and take the bitterest cup that he shall reach 
you, and forsake the morsels of fleshly pleasure that have 
been sweet to you heretofore. Do not say, this is to be 
justified by works ; for this is no other kind of works than 
what standeth in a necessary subserviency to Christ, even 
the work of grace itself. This is but the work that Christ 
calls thee to, John vi. 29. " This is the work of God, that 
ye believe in him whom the Father hath sent :" this is but 
" coming to Christ that ye may have life ^:" and " taking 
his yoke and burden on you, that you may find rest to your 
souls ^" When the poor people followed him on earth 
from place to place, and hearkened to his words, and took 
up his cross that they might be his disciples, and be justified 
and saved by him ; he did not tell them, this is sinful work- 
ing for justification. To conclude, if ever you be converted, 

y John V. 40. z Matt, xi. 29. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 61 

thus must you follow Christ, and thus must you yield to the 
Spirit which you now resist. 

Thus I have shewed you how the converted soul doth 
accept of Christ and the Spirit, on the terms and to the 
ends that are mentioned in the Gospel. Christ Jesus is ac- 
cepted as the Redeemer of their souls, that hath satisfied 
justice by being a ransom for their sins, and hath merited 
everlasting glory for them ; and as the Lord that by the ti- 
tle of his redemption, must rule them ; as their head that 
must provide for them and supply all their wants ; and as 
the fountain and treasure of all that grace that must save 
them ; the Holy Ghost is entertained as he that must sanc- 
tify and guide them in the way to life everlasting, having 
already sealed the truth of the doctrine. 

2. We are next to consider how the work of conversion 
doth turn the heart or will of man to these means that stand 
in a subordination to Christ : and indeed a natural man is 
disaffected not only to Christ, but to all his ordinances : 
he that mindeth not the end nor the means, cannot heartily 
mind the subordinate means. 

(1.) One means that God hath appointed to salvation, is, 
confession of sin, with a broken heart for the sin confessed. 
A man unconverted doth neither see any such evil in sin as 
to drive him to this confession, nor to break his heart in 
godly sorrow ; nor will his heart be brought to consent to 
the faithful performance of that. A heart unhumbled and 
unchanged doth think it but a piece of childish folly to 
weep and mourn for sin, and lament it before the world : 
they are too stout to stoop to a disgraceful acknowledg- 
ment : they scorn to be so base as to make an open confes- 
sion of their sins, or to lament their misery. They feel no 
such burden upon their consciences as should drive them 
into such repentance to seek to God and man for ease ; and 
if they confess to God in secret, it is without a broken 
heart ; they will not endure so much pain as to feel their 
own condition, and have their sores so faithfully searched 
as is necessary to a cure : this afflicting of the soul, their 
souls abhor. 

But when converting grace hath changed their hearts, 
O how the case is altered with them ! Then godly sorrow is 
even as it were, natural to them ; and they that could not en- 



52 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

dure it, do now even cherish and indulge it. It is a volun- 
tary sorrow ; they mourn and would mourn like him that 
cried out, "Labour not to comfort me * ;" that is, till God 
will comfort me. As a sore that is not ripe will not break 
nor run, and that which is not suppurable is oft incurable, 
but when it is brought to suppuration and ripeness, then it 
will even break of itself, and run without any more ado : so 
is it with the impenitent soul and the penitent ; till repen- 
tance comes, the soul is not ripe ; ministers are every day 
applying to it all the mollifying, dissolving remedies they 
can devise, to bring it to suppuration, but all will not do ; 
their hearts will not break, not a tear of unfeigned repen- 
tance will come forth ; they hide their sin, and scorn to 
make a penitent confession. But Oh! when grace hath 
done the work, and softened the heart, and ripened the sore, 
then it will come out of its own accord. I would not have 
you take this upon my bare word, but see whether the 
Scripture say not so before me. Acts ii. 37. They were 
once a stubborn generation of sinners that the apostles had 
there to deal withal, that durst have their hands in the 
blood of Christ himself ; but when they were once con- 
verted, " they were pricked at the heart, and said to Peter 
and the rest of the apostles. Men and brethren, what shall 
we do ? " This did imply a confession of their sin : q. d. 
We confess ourselves guilty, and we find our souls in a 
miserable case under the wrath and curse of God : O give 
us your advice what we shall do. These were three thou- 
sand people at once that were brought to this conviction 
and confession. See how freely all comes out, when the 
heart is once pricked by the Word and Spirit ! The like 
you know was the case of Saul at his conversion. Acts ix. 
5, 6. as stout a hearted sinner before as another ; but when 
God overpowered him by converting grace, then he calls 
out with trembling and astonishment, " Lord, what wilt 
thou have me to do ? " And when he relateth his own life 
and manner of conversion. Acts xxii. 4, 5. how freely doth 
he confess his former persecution i And again, in Acts 
xxvi. 10, 11. confessing that he was a persecutor, **yea, and 
punished Christians in the synagogue, and compelled them 
to blaspheme ; yea, was mad, yea, exceedingly mad against 

* Isa. xxii. 4. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 53 

them." The like doth he confess. Tit. iii. 3. Acts xvi. the 
apostles met with a sturdy jailor that put them in the inner 
prison, and their feet fast in the stocks ; but when an 
earthquake opened the doors and set them free, and a heart- 
quake brought him in, and laid him at their feet, and grace 
took the opportunity to do its work, then he crieth out with 
trembling, ver. 30. " Sirs, what must I do to be saved ? ' ' 
David tells you his own experience, Psal. xxxii. 5, 6. " I 
acknowledged my sins unto thee, and mine iniquity have I 
not hid : I said, I will confess my transgression unto the Lord ; 
and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin : for this shall 
every one that is godly, pray unto thee in a time when thou 
mayst be found." And after his grievous fall, the fifty-first 
Psalm will shew you his confession. So Acts xix. 18. 
" Many confessed and shewed their deeds, and brought 
their books and burned them before all men." These were 
such as were reputed wise and learned before ; but when 
grace had changed them, they openly confess that all was 
folly. Many more such examples we have, and precepts 
where God requireth it ; Ezra x. 1. Neh. ix. 2, 3. Lev. y 
5. xvi. 21. xxvi 40. Numb. v. 7. And indeed, pardon 
itself is offered on these terms, 1 John i. 9. " If we confess, 
he is faithful and just to forgive." Prov. xxviii. 13. "He 
that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso con- 
fesseth them and forsaketh them, shall have mercy." James 
v. 16. ** Confess your faults one to another, and pray one 
for another." And indeed in the first times, no man was 
baptized that did not confess his sins openly before, and 
renounce them ; even John himself caused the Jews to con- 
fess their sins before he would baptize them ; Matt. iii. 6. 
Mark i. 5. So in Jer. iii. 12, 13. " Return, thou backsliding 
Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to 
fall upon you ; for I am merciful, saith the Lord ; and I will 
not keep mine anger for ever; only confess thine iniquity, 
that thou hast transgressed against the Lord, &c. Turn, O 
backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married to 
you, &c." You see here that conversion hath ever confes- 
sion accompanying it. He that turneth, must and will con- 
fess, as the repenting church, Jer. xiv. 20. " We acknow- 
ledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fa- 
thers ; for we have sinned against thee : do not abhor us 



54 TREAl'ISE OF CONVERSION. 

for thy name's cake." And Hos. v. 15. it was the Lord's 
threatening against them, " I will go and return unto my 
place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face ; 
in their afflictions they will seek me early." So that ic is 
most evident that conversion openeth the heart and mouth 
to confess, even to God or man, or both, according as the 
case requireth : not but that a Judas will do it at last in 
horror, and cry out, " I have sinned in betraying the inno- 
cent blood :" but this is forced by horror, and not by a gra- 
cious change. Many a thief will confess their sin at the 
gallows, that are not converted ; but when conversion 
comes, the very mind being changed, is set against the sin, 
and therefore they long to cast it up. Hiding tendeth to 
keeping, confession tendeth to parting with sin : therefore 
he that is penitent doth not hide it, so far as he hath any 
call to confess it. O sirs, that the Lord would bring this to 
the hearts of some of you that most need it : one may hear 
by your speeches that conversion is far from your hearts. 
How many among us are there that have little cause to jus- 
tify themselves, and yet we cannot bring them to any con- 
fession, but what is general and common with all. That we 
are sinners ! But for any hateful and disgraceful sin, they ex- 
cuse it, and hide it ; and have nothing but good almost to say of 
themselves. You shall not hear one sad complaint almost ., 
that they will make against themselves. If you have a fro- I 
ward wife, you will complain of that; if disobedient chil- 
dren, if careless or stubborn servants, you will complain of 
them. If you have unkind friends or neighbours, you will 
complain of them ; but of yourselves, where you have 
greatest reason to complain, we can scarce hear a word. If 
any do you wrong, you are still harping upon it, and mak- 
ing the worst of it ; but for all the wrong that you have 
done to God and your own souls, you can lightly pass it 
over, and make little of it : and who heareth you half so oft 
complain of yourselves as others ? What say you, is it not 
thus with many among us ? You know not how sad a mark 
this is. I tell you, if ever converting grace come to your 
hearts, it will make you pour out complaints against your- 
selves ; it will make you cry with David, " I have done 
foolishly ^ :" ' and with Paul, " I was foolish, disobe- 

^ 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 55 

dient, I was mad, yea, exceedingly mad *= : "and, " O wretched 
man that I am, who shall deliver me<* ?" Mark the uncon- 
verted man in his talk, and you shall hear him, if not as the 
Pharisee, saying, *' I am not like other men ;" yet at least 
saying nothing against himself, but nibbling at the good 
names of others, and making the devil more servants than 
indeed he hath, and God fewer, by their venturous censures ; 
they have the hypocrite's eye that was not made to see it- 
self, that is good for little, but to spy motes in others' eyes ; 
but the beam in their own they cannot see. The infirmities 
of those that fear God they can talk of; but a graceless 
heart and a worldly, fleshly life of their own doth little trou- 
ble them. But when converting grace comes, you may 
hear by their very talk, that the case is changed ; they have 
nobody then to talk against, so much as themselves ; their 
censures ao-ainst themselves do seem the most uncharitable j 
their talk is most of the sins of their own hearts and lives : 
and blame them not, for these are nearest them, and most 
concern them : the mote in their own eye doth most grieve 
them, and till they have wiped out that, thpy have less mind 
to look into the eyes of others. In a word, whosoever is 
justified of God, and freed from condemnation, is ajudger 
and condemner of himself ; 1 Cor. xi. 31. But they that lie 
under the condemnation of God, are commonly self-justi- 
fiers; Luke xvi. 15. 

(2.) Another means that converting grace doth turn the 
heart to, is, earnest prayer to God. A man unconverted is 
a stranger to true prayer ; either he doth nothing in his duty, 
or that which is next to nothing : commonly they will not 
be brought so much as to the outside and form of the duty ; 
but if they be, that is all ; till some affliction or conviction 
come and awaken them to a little more for a time : but they 
never fall to this work to the purpose, till saving grace do 
truly change them : a carnal heart feeleth no such need of 
God or mercy, as to drive him to beg for it from day to day. 
He feels himself well enough, and therefore saith with them 
in Job xxi. 15. ** What is the Almighty that we should 
serve him? and what profit should we have if we pray unto 
him?" as Mai. iii. 14. they scarce think it worth their la- 
bour. It may be for fear of perishing with the ungodly, and 

* Act* xx»i. 11. Tit. iii. 3. '^ Horn. vii. 24. 



56 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

from some general conviction of conscience, they may use 
some formal, cold expressions, or perhaps take up the out- 
side of this duty : but it is not prayer, without the desires 
of the soul which carry out a man to seek for mercy and re- 
lief to God : unconverted men are either dumb to this holy 
duty, or their hearts are dumb while their tongues are 
speaking : either they have nothing to say to God ; or no- 
thing but some words that they get by rote, and utter with- 
out the feeling of their souls ; or else they have little else 
but words. Their consciences witness, and God himself is 
a w^itness, that they do not in secret beg earnestly for his 
mercy : they do not heartily call to him for pardoning grace 
and sanctifying grace : with their families they do not 
earnestly beg of God the same mercy, as a people that de- 
sire that he should dwell among them. For where there is 
no true feeling of sin and misery, and desire after grace, 
there can be no hearty prayers to God : what need you any 
further mark of a graceless soul, than that they are prayer- 
less. 

But converting grace doth open the heart, and let in the 
Holy Ghost, which is a Spirit of supplication ® ; and this 
Spirit doth help their infirmities, and whereas, of themselves, 
" they know not what to pray for as they ought, he maketh 
request for them with groans that are unutterable ^" As 
the new-born infant, or any living creature, will quickly 
shew whether it be alive, by making towards the parent or 
dam for its nourishment ; so w^ill the new-born Christian, 
It is not unlikely that the apostle referreth to this : " We 
have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, 
Father." As the child doth first learn to cry dad or mam ; 
so doth the Christian first learn to make out to God as a 
Father, and by prayer to seek to him for relief; and for 
certain, as the Spirit of Christ is a Spirit of prayer, so if 
any man ** have not this Spirit, he is none of his s." The 
evidence that God giveth Ananias of Saul's conversion, was 
this, ** Behold he prayeth ^." It was the proof of Cornelius's 
grace, that " he prayed to God always \" And the angel 
takes the time of his prayer, to appear to him; and Peter 
that must be sent unto him, is found at prayer^. The new 

e Zech. xii. 10. f Rom. viii. 26, 27. e Rora. viii. 15. 9. 

h Acts ix. 11. i Acts X. 2. ^ Acts x. 9. 



^ TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 57 

converted disciples ** continued in prayer ^'* It is no small 
part of a Christian's life to " continue instant in prayer, 
and watch in the same '"." It were easy to prove this by 
multitudes of Scripture texts : he that hath not this breath 
of prayer, is either a dead man, or in a dangerous swoon. 
As the poor child when any thing hurteth it, or affrighteth 
it, runs to the mother or father for help ; so doth the poor 
Christian to Christ. He may go to ministers, and go to 
other Christians (as Cornelius to Peter, because Christ 
sendeth him, and so under Christ) ; but it is Christ that he 
goeth directly to, and that he is most with. He hath a very 
praying spirit within him, contrary to that dumb spirit that 
possesseth the ungodly : so that he must needs go to God 
when any thing aileth him, and he will not be held back. 
His soul would be disconsolate, and as David in the wilder- 
ness, Psal. xlii. if he were kept from God : he would be 
overwhelmed with his troubles if he might not go ease his 
mind with God : some ease he may get from ministers and 
friends, but Oh ! if he had not more from God, his case 
were very sad : he is in prayer as Jeremiah in preaching ; 
" The word was a consuming fire shut up in his bones, he 
was weary of forbearing and could not stay ^.'* So are his 
sins and his necessities like a consuming fire shut up in his 
heart ; he is weary with forbearing, he cannot hold them, to 
God he must go, as David, while he held his tongue, his 
sorrow was stirred, his heart was hot within him, the fire 
burned till he spake to God : " While I kept silence my 
bones waxed old °.'" You may better keep the converted 
Christians from food, or raiment, or home, or friends, than 
keep them from God : they had rather be without a shop to 
work in, a house to dwell in, a bed to lie in, than a place to 
pray in. But the best is, that God hath sanctified every 
place to him, and commanded him every where to lift up 
pure hands P. His Lord and Saviour hath left him his ex- 
ample, who was sometimes in a wilderness, and sometimes 
in a garden, and sometimes in other solitary places, pur- 
posely for prayer, and so accustomed to one, that Judas 
knew of it*». He that was perfect would shew us his de- 

' Acts ii.42. "' Rom. xii.2. Col.iv. 2. Ephes. vi. 18. » Jcsr. xx. 8, 9. 

« Paal. xxxix. 2, 3. xxxii. 3. PI Tim. ii. 8. 

1 Mark xiv. 23. xxvi. 36. vi. 46. xiv. 32. Luke xxii. 41. 44. 



58 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

pendance on the infinite Godhead, by giving us an example 
of constancy in this duty : so that we find him even all 
night in prayer to God"". And all his disciples do learn this 
lesson of him, and imitate him in their measure, in this holy 
work. If we ask for other examples, we may find Cornelius 
and Daniel at it in their families % Peter at it in the house 
top * ; Paul and Silas at midnight are at it in the inner 
prison in the stocks ". From every place can the prayers of 
the godly have access to heaven. For God is every where 
present, and therefore though the places of public assem- 
blies be in a special sort the house of prayer "" ; yet doth he 
not confine his prayer to that house. The very soul of a 
Christian is habituated to prayer, and therefore he doth it 
as it were continually ^ : and in every thing he maketh 
known his wants by it to God^. So that he is seldom so 
deep asleep in any lapse through security but that more or 
less he breathes his breath of ^race in holy prayer. If he 
want wisdom, he asketh it of God, for he knoweth that he 
giveth liberally, and upbraideth not *. If he want the 
Spirit itself in a further measure, he goes to God that hath 
promised to give it to them that ask it**. If he want for- 
giveness of sin, deliverance from any evil or temptation, it 
is the matter of his daily prayer, yea, so is his very daily 
bread, his health and life, and all the comforts of it : for he 
knoweth that all things are sanctified by the word and 
prayer *=. If he be afflicted, he prayeth ; and if in sickness, 
he desireth the elders of the church to pray with him ^ : for 
he knoweth that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous 
availeth much ^. If the servants of Christ be in troubles, 
it is prayers without ceasing that is the means of their re- 
lief. Even besides secret prayers and church prayers upon 
any such occasion of their own and others ; if a few Chris- 
tians can get together to prayer, it is more pleasant to them, 
than to the drunkard or voluptuous, when they can get to- 
gether for sports or wickedness. When Peter was in prison, 
many were got together in a house to prayer, when he came 
and knocked at the door, when the angel had set him free^ 

' Luke vi. 12. » Acts x. Dan. vi. » Acts x. 9. 

« Acts xvi.25. " Matt. xxi. 13. v I Thess. v. 17. 

» Phil.iv. 6. a James i. 5. ^ Luke xi. 13. 

e 1 Tim. iv. 5. <i James v. 13, 14, 16. « James v. 15. 17. 
f Acts xiL 12. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 59 

In a word, the true convert beginneth his new life in prayer j 
he continueth it in prayer habitual or actual ; sometime!* 
by the secret motions of the heart, and sometimes by the 
expression also of his mouth ; and he endeth it, as to this 
world, most commonly in prayers : as the Lord Jesus him- 
self, as his blessed martyr Stephen did, committing their 
spirits to God at the closing of their eyes ; and the saints 
do commonly follow them in that course : so by the help of 
these blessed gales we are carried through the waves and 
troubles of this world, and by this we land at the last in 
glory. Never think therefore to find a prayerless convert, 
any more than to find a breathless living man. O ! the 
poor Christian feeleth that he cannot live without prayer, 
because he cannot live without God. He cannot be with- 
out it one day ; he cannot be at home without it, or abroad 
without it; he cannot travel or return home without it ; he 
cannot labour without it in the shop or in the field \ but 
when he wants a place to bow his knee in, he hath yet an 
opportunity to bow his soul ; and if company or business 
do shut his mouth, yet it must be business indeed that quite 
taketh off his heart ; for his eyes are on God, as the eye of 
the servant on the hand of his master, saith David s. Why 
may I not say, as the eye of our dogs, when they wait on us 
at our tables, is towards us for every bit they have ; so the 
eye and dependance of the Christian for soul and for body, 
is upon God : and many a secret ejaculation doth he send 
up, and many a groan doth pass his heart, that those that 
even stand by him are unacquainted with. As a beggar is 
known by his needy begging tone, so is he known by his 
begging of God ; " The poor useth entreaties **," or speaketh 
supplication ; you may know them by it ; they make a trade 
of it ; they live by begging ; they will have no nay : such 
an one is the Christian, that even liveth by begging as his 
very trade : as one that must always pray, and not be weary 
or wax faint*. So that this is the second means that con- 
verting grace doth turn men's hearts to. 

(3.) The third means, subordinate to Christ and the 
Spirit, which converting grace doth turn the heart to, is, 
the Word of God, whether heard, or read, or preached, or 
any way fitly made known. The Word is the very seed that 

» Psal. cxxiii. i. *» Prov. xviii. 23. * Luke xviii. 1. 



CO TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

doth beget him to this life, the immortal seed of God, which 
always must remain in him''. Of this incorruptible seed is 
he new born ^ And therefore it cannot be but he must love 
it, and desire it. The Scripture to a carnal man is as a 
common book : many things in it seem to be unlikely, and 
many things even next to foolishness, because he hath not 
the Spirit to discern them. To all the ungodly it is as a 
sealed book ; though some of them know the grammatical 
and logical sense, none of them taste the spiritual sweetness, 
nor partake of the life that it begets in the soul. Therefore 
we find the learned Papists so many of them making a jest 
of Scripture, even while they confess it to be the Word of 
God. Some of them daring to accuse the matter, and some 
the style, and many the words and manner of expression, 
as if it were obscure, or unfit, or insufficient to its proper 
use : a carnal man can easily spare it ; a chapter in the 
Bible to him is but as a common story. Many an one of 
them can delight to read a romance, or a book of fables and 
fictions, like " The Knight of the Sun," " The Seven Cham- 
pions," or " Palmarine," or " Guy of Warwick," or such 
like wicked devices of men's brains that are made to rob 
God of men's hearts, and to rob themselves of their time and 
wit ; than to read over the sacred story, and the holy pre- 
cepts of Christ, and the spiritual doctrine of faith and sal- 
vation. We may see the difference between men's dispo- 
sitions towards God's Word in the Papists and poor Pro- 
testants, in the time and place of persecution. The Protes- 
tants would make much of one leaf of the Bible ; they 
would get together to hear a chapter read, as to a feast, 
when they knew their lives were endangered by it. The 
Papists used all their power to suppress it, to hinder the 
promulgation of it, and keep the people from the knowledge 
of it, and burned them at a stake for the using of it. Their 
inquisition in Spain and Italy inquire after it, as if it were 
some book of treason or witchcraft ; when the poor Chris- 
tians whose hearts are touched with it, do hide it and keep 
it, as the chiefest jewel in the world. Luther would not 
take a world for one leaf of the Bible ; his adversaries would 
have been glad if they could have banished it out of the 
world. In the primitive church the heathen persecutors did 

'' Luke viii. 11. 1 John iii.9. ' 1 Pet.i. 23. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 61 

first seek after the Christian Bibles and other good books, 
that they might burn them. And if the ministers would 
deliver them all the books, sometimes they would spare 
their lives ; but the poor Christians would be torn in pieces 
and suffer any kind of death before they would deliver them 
one of those books to be burnt. And if any through fear 
had yielded to deliver them, they were ever after looked 
upon by the other Christians, as if they were apostates and 
deniers of Christ, and were commonly called by the name 
of Traditors, and the very posterity of such was in disgrace 
after them. In so much that the schism of the Donatists 
sprung from an excessive zeal on this occasion ; because a 
bishop was but ordained by one that had been a son of a 
Traditor of the Bible, they separated from him, and from all 
the church that held communion with him, for his sake. 
So that you may see what thoughts the servants of Christ 
have ever had of the Holy Scriptures, and how contrary to 
these are the men of the world. 

And we cannot blame them, for they know that it was 
by this word that God did first quicken them ; by this he 
convinced them of sin and misery ; by this he revealed to 
them Christ and glory. In this is contained the covenant of 
grace, the charter for salvation, and that title to all the mer- 
cies of this life and that which is to come. Here are the 
laws of heaven by which they must live, and by which they 
must all be judged. Here are those promises which first 
revived their distressed souls ; the first cordials that did 
refresh their fainting spirits : the first news of pardon and 
glad tidings of salvation that ever they had was from hence. 
They know it is a book inspired from heaven by the Spirit 
of God, containing the discovery of the will of God ; and 
the highest mysteries, which flesh and blood cannot reveal ; 
and that they are matters also of everlasting consequence, 
to which all the matters in this world are as nothing, and 
not worthy the naming or once remembering. And do you 
blame a poor Christian for being in love with this blessed 
book ? Especially when he knoweth these things not by 
bare hear-say only, but by many a sweet experience in his 
soul ; many a sweet draught hath he here drank in his ex- 
tremity J and many a feast hath his soul here had, if he be a 
Christian of long standing and experience. But, however. 



62 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

this was the means of his conversion, and the very instru- 
ment of the Spirit for raising him from the dead ; and as the 
Christian is so in love with the book of God, so is he with 
the doctrine of it, wherever he finds it. Any other book 
that is written to explain and apply this, is savory to him ; 
especially the public preaching of this word, which is most 
eminently the standing ordinance of God for man's conver- 
sion and edification. The same sermons that would have 
made him sleep, or made his head ache before his conversion, 
do now awaken him, and make his heart ache for his former 
folly; and yet he loveth them, though they trouble and 
grieve him, for he loveth that kind of trouble and grief 
which they beget. Oh how sweet is that word to his soul, 
which heretofore he was wont to loathe or quarrel at ! He 
could live with David in the temple, even day and night : 
other men can scarce be drawn to it, but for customs or by- 
respects, but it would be a death to him to be kept away. 
If there were a famine in the land of the word of God, he 
would wander from sea to sea before he would be without 
if". It is as natural, according to this new nature, for a 
true convert to seek after the word of God, as for the infant 
to make to the breast". As new-born babes, they desire 
the sincere milk of the word, that they may live and grow 
thereby ; they receive with meekness the engrafted word ; 
Tov \6yov Efi(f)VTov the word which is innaturalized to them, 
and connatural with them : for it is it that is able to save 
their souls ; James i. 21. Able to do its own part thereto. 
Never did you know that Christian that could live without 
this word, any more than a man can live without meat. I 
told you the language of Job, David, and Jeremiah before. 
O how certainly do the careless neglecters and despisers of 
this word discover, that yet they are unconverted souls, 
that taste no more sweetness in it than in a chip ; that will 
rather make it a matter of derision, when they see people 
read and hear so diligently, and talk so much of the word of 
God : and do in their hearts almost as one of the Papist re- 
bels in Ireland did with his feet, even stamp the Bible in 
the dirt, and curse it, and said, " This is it that hath bred 
all this, and set us together by the ears." Little better 
thoughts have many secret infidels of it in their hearts. But 

«n Amos viii. 12. "1 Pet. i. SJ. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 63 

here the Christian hath grounded his hopes ; here hath he 
built and bottomed his soul ; and here will he live and die. 
This then is another part of the work of conversion, it turn- 
eth men's hearts to the word of God, and maketh them 
value it as their necessary food. 

(4.) The fourth means of salvation which conversion 
turneth the heart of a man to, is the Communion of the 
Saints. Before conversion, the nature, and sometimes the 
very name of a saint is loathsome to them, though God 
hath told us, that without holiness none shall see him°. 
And that all his people are called and sanctified ; and that 
none but they shall be glorified, yet how commonly do we 
hear men make a mock at the very name of saints. These 
are the saints, say they, these are the holy brethren. When 
the blood of Christ is shed to sanctify men, when the Spirit 
of grace is sent from heaven to sanctify men, and hath 
made it his office, when all that God doth by his word and 
ordinances is to sanctify men. When all true Christians 
are sanctified men, or saints, and the church itself is a com- 
pany of saints ; and when sanctification is nothing else but 
our devotedness to God that made and redeemed us. Yet, 
dare these impious wretches open their mouths against 
sanctity, coming near to the scorning of God himself, and 
to reproaching the word and the will of God ! Yea, and to 
some kind of blaspheming the Holy Ghost. It is natural to 
a wicked man to hate a saint i'. An enmity is put between 
them. And the first two men that were born into the world 
did manifest that enmity, for Cain killed his brother Abel, 
because his own works were evil, and his brother's righte- 
ous 'I. And Christ himself telleth his disciples, that be- 
t^ause they are not of the world, but he hath chosen them 
out of the world, therefore the world hateth them ; but if 
they were of the world, the world would love his own \ 
Yea, on this very account, it first hated Christ himself\ 
And therefore no wonder if the communion of the saints be 
abhorred, or not delighted in by the ungodly, even while 
they make it an article of their creed. But when once the 
soul is truly converted, there is a likeness to God and his 
saints put upon them, and a natural love to them implanted 

" Heb. xii. 14. »* Oeii. Hi. 15. «» 1 Jolmiii. 12. Hcb. xi.4. 

"" John XV. 19. * John xv. 8. 



64 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

in their hearts, and thereupon a strong inclination to have 
communion with them in the worship of God, and the way 
to heaven ; as many drops of water will gather into one, or 
many streams will run into one river, or many small flames, 
if you bring them near, will make all into one, and every 
thing is inclined as it were to incorporate with its like, so is 
it with the truly sanctified soul. The same means will not 
serve their turns, if they have it not in communion *. The 
multitude of them that believed were of one heart, and of 
one soul, and they distributed to one another, as every one 
had need, and charity made that common which law had 
made proper". They continued stedfast in the apostles' 
doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread and prayer ; 
and they that believed were together, and had all things 
common, (that is, by charity, as I said before) and they 
continued daily with one accord in the temple, breaking 
bread from house to house. Certainly, there is in all the 
children of God, such a love to their brethren, that they love 
their company, especially in the holy worship of him that 
redeemed them. False hearted Christians, that have but 
the name, may have the hearts of heathens, and do as they 
did, who were unacquainted with Christian love, but so will 
not the true. Hence it is, that the Christians in all ages 
have so valued the sacrament, which hath been still called 
the Communion of the church, or of saints ; because there 
they all join together to feed upon one Christ, and taste of 
the supper of the Lord, as the fellow heirs of his glory. 
And as many corns made one loaf of bread, so are they, as 
the apostle speaks, one bread and one body. For the bread 
which they break, it is the communion of the body of 
Christ, and the cup which they drink, is the communion of 
his blood "", And hence it is, that it hath ever been so heavy 
a punishment in the eyes of all Christians to be excommu- 
nicate, and shut out of the fellowship of the church, 
(though there are also other reasons greater than this). So 
that the poor Christians, if they had fallen into any sin 
that deserved excommunication, they would have stood 
with tears at the church doors, month after month, entreat- 
ing the prayers of the church that they might be pardoned, 
and be fit to be taken in again ; and this even when Chris- 

* Acts iv. 3^. »• Acts ij. 43. " 1 Cor. x. 16. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 65 

tianity was so persecuted, that it was a matter of danger to 
a man's life to be a Christian, so precious then was the 
communion of saints. Every Lord's day did they adminis- 
ter the Lord's supper, that they might be frequent in that 
part of communion. And, therefore, they highly esteemed 
the Lord's days, because they were the days of the churches' 
holy communion. Do not marvel then, if any true converted 
soul have a closing, uniting, combining, disposition; and 
if they love to be together in the holy worship and service 
of God ; and if they are glad when they can get together in 
the public meeting place, or any other convenient place, to 
join together, and help each other in the work that is 
common to all. I know there may be some upright 
souls live among such as hinder them from that com- 
munion which they would have ; but their hearts are to- 
wards it, and they will have it if they can. I know also, 
that the heathens and the Papists, and all enemies of the 
church, have still defamed the communion of Christians, 
and such as join to seek the Lord. And if any evil fall out 
among them, they would lay it all on their meeting and 
communion. But yet this malice of the devil could 
never break the assembly and communion of the saints. 
1 know also, that many heretics are much addicted to secret 
combination, and to tie together in their way ; but that is 
natural for men to love their like in evil ; so drunkards can 
flock together to an alehouse ; but it is not so natural to de- 
light in good ; other men's communion in evil, doth not dis- 
grace, but commend our communion in the fear of God. 
Satan hath his legions that can agree in one man ; but they 
are not such as the legions that attended upon Christ. 
What, must Christ have no school or army, because satan 
hath one? Must we dissipate, because the wicked always 
associate? There are means sufficient left us to discern the 
communion of the church of Christ from all ungodly and 
heretical combinations whatsoever. Though there be some 
stings in the church of Christ among the bees, yet there is 
more honey. The meetings of heretics are like the nests of 
wasps, they are all sting and no honey. Saith TertuUian, 
•* Vespae habent favos, et Marcionitae ecclesias :" — ** Wasps 
have combs too, and heretics make churches." The combs 
of the bees and of the wasps may be very like to look upon, 

VOL. VII. F 



(16 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

but the honey is not like, nor the sting altogether. It is not 
to feed on the doctrine of Christ, and live to him, that here- 
tics do combine ; but it is to divide the church, and to shew 
their error and pride, and to sting and despise others. So 
that their meetings are nothing like the meeting of the church 
in many regards. I beseech you now beloved hearers, try 
how your hearts are affected to the matter in hand. If you 
are true converts, your very hearts are among the saints : it 
doth you good especially to join with them in public, and 
especially in the two duties of praising God, and receiving 
the sacraments, which are the most proper to the church. 
And also it will do you good to have communion with them 
in private, in prayer, in conference, in any holy work. You 
are where you would be, when you are thus employed. 
You do not do like the hypocritical world, to say, *' I be- 
lieve the communion of saints," and at the same time either 
hate and scorn, or at least neglect and set light by the com- 
munion of saints. It is not to every wicked man that the 
promise is made, ** Where two or three are met together in 
Christ's name, there is he in the midst of them." And it is 
not for nothing, that the saints delight in this communion. 
For as here is most of God's blessing, and most help from 
one another, so when they are nearest to one another, they 
are all nearest to Christ. And their closure and communion is 
a foretaste of their communion in glory : for their happiness 
lieth in their being one with Christ and among themselves ^ : 
and Christ died of purpose to " gather into one the children 
of God, that are scattered throughout the world "= :" and it is 
God's design in the work of redemption to " gather together in 
one all things in Christ '".'' And as he therefore " gives his pro- 
phets, apostles, and ministers to the church, for the perfec- 
tion of the saints, and edifying the body, till it be all come 
in the unity of the faith to a perfect man, that we may grow 
up in him, who is the Head in all things from whom the- 
body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which 
pvery joint supjdieth, according to the effectual working in 
the measure of every part, makelh increase of the body, to 
the edifying of itself in love**." So also at the day of judg- 
ment shall the " angels gather the elect together from the 

^ John xvii. 21. ^ John xi. 52. 



1 



Ephes. i. 10. b Eph. iv. 11—16. 



i 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 67 

four winds V' and they shall be one in Christ for ever*. 
Great reason therefore have the saints to make out after 
more of that, which their perfection doth so much consist 
in. Other men may have some delight in the company and 
assembly of Christians for bye-respects ; but to love the 
communion of the saints, as such, and delight in them as 
the body of Christ employed in his praises, this is the proper 
disposition of a saint. And this is another thing that con- 
version doth turn their hearts unto. 

4. Having spoken of the third part of the Conversion of 
the Heart, which consisteth in the right choice of the means 
to salvation ; I proceed to the fourth, which consisteth in 
the thorough resolving of the yet wavering and unsettled 
soul. I make not this a part in itself different from all that 
are beforementioned, but the very life and perfection of 
them, especially of the two last. Some kind of willingness 
and unsound consent there may be in the half-converted, 
and many times it is long after the beginning of this change 
before it reach to a sound resolution ; but it is never a saving 
work of special grace indeed, and proper to the saints till 
then. Men may have many convictions, and be brought to 
engage themselves in covenant to God, and yet for want of 
this true resolution, their hearts may not be right with God, 
nor they be stedfast in his covenant®. We are suitors for 
Christ to a backward and obstinate generation of men ; we 
are long persuading them before they will yield, and when 
they seem to yield, they are long in the beginning, delibe- 
rating and wavering before they will resolve. Sometimes 
God turneth the heart more suddenly at a sermon ; but or- 
dinarily, for aught I can find, men stick long under convic- 
tion and half purposes, before they are thus converted. 
When they see that all is not well with them, and that they 
are not in a safe condition to appear before God at judgment, 
in that they have not taken the right course that Christian 
wisdom required them to take, they feel then within them 
many persuadings of the Spirit of God, and their conscience 
reasoning the case with them, and saying, * This life will 
not serve thy turn long, if death find thee in this condition, 
thou art an undone man : away then with thy negligence 
and idle company and courses, and set thyself to seek after 

« Malt. xxiv. SI. '' John xvii. «1. « Psal. Ixxviii. ST. 



68 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

Christ before it be too late;' and under these persuasions 
the mind is sometimes purposed to do it. But these purpo- 
ses are either for the time to come, that hereafter they will 
be new men ; or else they are but half purposes, that reach 
not to a resolution : and therefore if at present they make 
some kind of change, it is but by the halves; and they usu- 
ally turn back again : this is the case of the best men ordi- 
narily before conversion. 

But when conversion comes, it turns over the mind un- 
feignedly to God ; it brings the soul beyond its former wa- 
verings ; it shews men that there is no other remedy, the 
thing is of necessity, and that all is but vanity that can be 
said against it ; and no good reason can be given to take 
any wise man off from the work of repentance and a heaven- 
ly life, and therefore he is resolved that this shall be his 
way. He hath considered and found for certain that there 
is no true felicity but in the favour of God ; and that 
his love and promised glory are everlasting, and all things 
else are vain and transitory ; and therefore he is resolved 
that God should be his portion, and nothing but God ; hea- 
ven shall be the end of his desire and labour, and nothing 
but heaven. He hath also considered that there is no par- 
don of sin, but by the blood of Christ, and no hope of sal- 
vation, but by cleaving to him, and yielding to his renewing 
Spirit ; and therefore he is now resolved that Christ shall 
have his heart, and his Spirit shall do its work, and that the 
wordof God hereafter shall be his rule. He is now deter- 
mined to know nothing but Christ crucified ^ Before he 
was like a man that was weighing somewhat in the scales, 
and the other end was the heavier, or the scales stood as it 
were even : but now the Holy Ghost hath brought in those 
arguments, and set them home on the conscience, with that 
life that hath turned the scales. Before he was like a man 
that had lost his way, and standeth still, considering whe- 
ther he shall turn back or not, or whether he shall go this 
way or that; but now he is resolved, and he stands no lon- 
ger considering, but turns without anymore ado. And this 
resolution is not rash or ungrounded, but having considered 
what can be said for God and for the world, for sin and for 
repentance ; and considering what he may meet with in the 

f 1 Cor. ii. 2. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 69 

way to heaven, he resolveth whatever it cost him, repent he 
will, return he will, for saved he must be. Though he meet 
with hard dealing from the world, there is no remedy, he will 
go through it ; though he may suffer much in the flesh, yet 
that shall not take him off; though he knows he must leave 
his former pleasure and wicked company, and live that life 
that the flesh doth abhor, yet all this shall not take him off. 
O what a pleading and reasoning there is commonly between 
the flesh and the Spirit, before the heart will be thus resolv- 
ed. As it was with Carraciolus, the marquis of Vicum, when 
his conscience bid him leave his land, and friends, and all 
for Christ, to forsake Popery, and betake himself to these 
countries, where he might enjoy the Gospel ; his house and 
lands then came in his eyes ; * What must I leave all these 
for mere conscience, and live I know not how?* His wife 
hangs upon him, his children with tears do cry after him, 
* O father, leave us not!' And many a sob and sigh it costs 
his heart before he could resolve to get away : and as it 
was with many of the martyrs when they were to die for 
Christ and for his truth ; wife, and children, and friends fol- 
low them to the fire, crying out, ' O turn, turn, and do not 
undo yourselves and us ;* so that they had almost as much 
ado to overcome that temptation, as to bear the flames : so 
is it with a sinner in the work of conversion ; when he looks 
to Christ and everlasting glory, and considereth withal that 
these cannot be obtained without the loss of earthly, sinful 
pleasure ; and when he thinketh of his old merry company 
and course, his ease and fleshly pleasure that he must leave; 
when he thinks of the strangeness of the way that he must 
now turn to, and how unacquainted he is with it, and how 
many bitter scorns, and worse, he is like to meet with, and 
how much care and pains it must cost him to be saved ; this 
keepeth him sometimes at a stand, and breedeth in him many 
troublous thoughts, so that he scarce knows which way to 
turn him, or what to do. If he repent and turn to God, he 
must deny his flesh, and forsake all this world, and for 
aught he knows, have scarce any more of that kind of plea- 
sure that he lived upon before; and if 'he do not this, he 
must forsake God, and all hope of everlasting glory, and 
give up himself to eternal misery. This seemeth a very sad 
straight to one at the first ; because he yet hath had no ex- 



70 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

perience of the joy of the Holy Ghost, and the higher com- 
forts of a Christian life, nor of the help which God will af- 
ford him in his way : and therefore we cannot marvel if ma- 
ny a poor soul do here stick in the birth ; and if it be long 
before they resolve for God ; and if others turn back and 
perish for ever ; and grace, and only grace will resolve them ; 
when Christ opens their eyes effectually and to the purpose, 
he lets them see, that between heaven and earth, God and 
the world, grace and sin, there is no comparison. They see 
then, it is not a matter to doubt of, or to stick at: God must 
be pleased, but there is no necessity that the world or the 
flesh be pleased. God's favour must be had, but we may 
live without the favour of the world ; death and judgment 
must be provided for, but it is needless to provide for the 
desires of the flesh : an hundred considerations come in 
upon his soul, which make him say. Away with all these 
worldly vanities, and welcome Christ and a holy life. 
Now he " casteth ofl" that weight that hangeth on him, and 
that sin that did so easily beset him, that he may run with 
patience the race that is before him, looking to Jesus the 
Author and Finisher of his faith, who for the joy that was 
set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and 
is sat down at the right hand of God e." In a word, he is 
now thoroughly convinced that one thing is necessary, and 
therefore he hath chosen the better part, which shall not be 
taken from him ^. O sirs, you are never truly converted 
till this resolution of the soul ; whatever good purposes you 
may have for the time to come, if you be not presently resolved 
presently to return ; I say, presently without delay, you 
are not yet truly converted to Christ, though you may ve- 
rily think that the life of faith and holiness is the best life, 
and may have some mind to it, and purpose one of these 
days to return ; nay, though you may have some present 
purposes that are cold and faint, and come not up to the 
height of resolution ; and though you make some trial here- 
after, and change some of your company and your courses, 
all this is well, but it will not serve the turn without this 
resolution. Many a man that is lost for ever, hath had 
many a good wish and purpose, and made some essay to 
mend his life, and made some half reformation, aid yet, be- 

S Heb. xii. 1,2. ^* Luke x. 42. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION^. 71 

ing not resolved for Christ, they have perished. The very 
principal part of the work of saving grace in the soul doth 
lie in this resolution. O that the wavering, and the loiter- 
ing, and the delaying soul would lay this well to heart. O 
that they understood this, who are convinced that they 
must return and be new men, and yet cannot be brought to 
present resolution, but linger in their sins, as being loath to 
come away ; as Lot did in Sodom, till God being merciful to 
him, caused the angel to carry him out. Well this is the 
next work of converting grace. If ever you be converted, 
you will be resolved for Christ. 

5. The fifth part of the work of Conversion in the heart, 
consisteth in the change that is made upon the Affections. 
Though these are not so evident and certain always to try a 
man's state by ; and therefore I would have Christians try 
especially by the former, yet it is certain that conversion 
changeth these also ; and because they are many, and 1 
have been long in the description of this work already, I will 
the more briefly run them over. 

(1.) The first of the affections that appeareth in this 
change, are, love and hatred. Before conversion, the heart 
loveth not spiritual things and ways : there is an opposi- 
tion to them, and enmity against them '. It loveth not in- 
ward holiness, nor a holy life ; it loveth not the people that 
are holy; nay, it loveth not God himself as he is just and 
holy ; yea, it hath an inward loathing of him, and of his 
image and way ; though yet it be so deceitful as perhaps 
not to know thus much by itself. But on the contrary, it 
loveth fleshly pleasure, and earthly profit, aad vain-glory, 
and ease, and honour of the world ; for it only savoureth 
these kind of things ''. But conversion turneth a man*s 
love and hatred, and maketh him love the holy God, and 
those holy people and ways that he could not heartily love 
before, and it maketh him loathe those sins, that before he 
loved ; that this is so, in all that are converted, is evident 
from many texts of Scripture. "He that loveth father or 
mother ', &c." ** His delight is in the law of the Lord, and 
in his law doth he meditate day and night '"." " In his eyes 
a vile person is contemned ; but he honoureth them that 

» Rom. viii. 5. T. ^ Rom. ?iii. 7. ' M«ut. x. .?7. 

"' Psal.i. '2, 3. 



72 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

fear the Lord "." " By this we may know that we are pas- 
sed from death unto life, because we love the brethren ; he 
that loveth not his brother abideth in death °." They hated 
the light before, because it was against their deeds, but now 
they love it, and come to it p. The very evil actions that 
they do, they now hate "i. Yea, they hate even the garments 
spotted of the flesh. All that beareth the mark of a fleshly 
sensual course '". Sirs, if you be truly converted, this 
change will be upon your aflections. 

(2.) The second pair of affections that shew themselves 
in this change, are, desire and aversion. These are so near 
akin to love and hatred, that I need to say the less of 
them. The unconverted man's desires are after the fleshly 
pleasures which he loveth ; of these they think they can 
never have enough, but cry as the horse-leech, give, give. 
When do you hear the covetous man say he hath enough ? 
or the ambitious man say, I would be no higher ? or the 
sensual man say, my appetite and lust are now satisfied, 
I would have no more ? Their very life is a thirsting after 
provision for the flesh * ; and the fulfilling its desires *. 
And sometimes God giveth them much of that they do de- 
sire for a time, but it is in judgment, and a curse to them 
through their sin ". But as for God and Christ, and the 
Spirit, and holiness, to these they have no appetite, but na- 
turally loathe them, and at the best have but cold and heart- 
less wishes after them. Hence it is, that they refuse so 
many motions for their own good. Move them to spiritual 
things, and there is somewhat within them that is against 
the motion, so that they will not hear us, or be persuaded 
by us. O how backward is an unconverted soul to spiritual 
good ! They will go no further than they are drawn, and 
they will not be drawn to give up themselves to it. Hence 
it is, that our ministerial labours are so much lost. We 
persuade sick men to their meat, that have no appetite to it. 
Nay, whose stomachs rise against it and loathe it. It goeth 
against their carnal natures, against their former customs, 
against their ease, and profit, and pleasure, and therefore it 
will not down with them, they cannot away with it ^. We 

» Psal. XV. 4. "1 John iii. 14. P John Hi. 19, 20. 

q Rom. vii. 15. «• Jude23. » Rom. xiii. 12. 

t Kph. ii. 3. « Psal Ixxviii. 29. " Job. xxi. 14. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 73 

heave a stone that will stir no further than main force doth 
move it. O had they but desire after Christ and grace, as 
they have after worldly, fleshly vanity, how happy might 
they be. 

But when converting grace comes, it changeth their de- 
sire. God calls to them then effectually by his word and 
Spirit. " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come and drink of 
the water of life freely ''." As if he should say, * What mean 
you to desire that which will do so little good, and to lay 
out your labour for that which will not profit you, and fol- 
low my direction, and I will give you that which is worthy 
your desire.' When God hath once effectually touched the 
heart with converting grace, it leaves a secret thirsting after 
him in the soul. As when he called Peter and the other 
apostles, and said unto them, follow me, they presently left 
all and followed him. Then they cry out with David, " My 
soul thirsteth after thee as the thirsty land y." " The de- 
sire of their soul is to his name, and to the remembrance of 
him '." Now they see that excellency in God's word, and 
ways, and graces, that all things that may be desired, are 
not to be compared with it*. " They are more to be de- 
sired than gold, yea than fine gold ^.'* Before they desired 
many things, and nothing would satisfy them ; now give 
them but one thing and they will be satisfied to the full ^. 
Before their desires were only after vanity ; but now, so far 
as they are renewed, they are only after good*^. And that 
God that gave them these desires, will fulfil them *. He 
that caused them to hunger and thirst after righteousness, 
will satisfy them ^ And he that turned their minds from 
this world, and gave them to desire after a better country «, 
will give them that promised land which they desire. 

(3.) The next affections, whose change is discovered in 
the work of conversion, are their delight and sorrow. This is 
the next pair. An unconverted man doth naturally find no 
pleasure in God or spiritual things : for a fool hath no de- 
light in understanding •". It is fleshly lust and pleasure that 
they desire *. And the " pleasure of sin for a season," for 

* Isa. Iv. 1— S. ' Psal cxliii 6. xlii.3. Ixiii. 1. *Isa. xxvi. 8. 

» Prov viii. 11. •> Psal. xix. 10. <= Psal. xxvii, 4. Ixxiii. 25. 

«» Prov. xi. 23. « Psal. cxiv. 19. ' Matt. v. 6. 

t Heb. xi. 16. '• Prov, xviii.2. ' Tit. iii. 3. 



74 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

which they part with the highest delight ^. " They live in plea- 
sures on earth, and fat themselves as for a day of slaughter ^" 
They account it pleasure to riot in the daylight of the 
gospel, in that day that is given for other kinds of works "". 
They not only do evil, but have " pleasure in them that do 
it ""." These " fools hate knowledge, and scorners delight in 
scorning °." And if they have any delight in better things 
through a common work of grace, it is but a superficial fad- 
ing delight P. "A rejoicing in the light for a season*'." 
But no sound well-grounded delight. But when convert- 
ing grace comes, it giveth a man those new delights which 
he knew not of before. Then the things that he before saw 
not, nor well believed, the things which he distasted and 
loathed, are in his delight. God himself is his delight ^ 
The doing of his will is their delight ^ His law, his word, 
his statutes, are their delight *. On the Lord's day they de- 
light in him ^ In the multitude of troubling, perplexing 
thoughts, his comforts delight their souls*. Their delight 
is in the saints on earth, and those that excel in virtue ^. 
It is their meat and drink to draw nigh to God. It doth 
them good at the heart, when they can but be enlarged to- 
wards him, and have more light and life than before they had. 
These are the new delights of a converted soul. He doth 
not part with all delight at his conversion ; he doth but 
change a brutish and sensual delight, for such as are fit for 
a man and a Christian. The wicked think they shall never 
have a merry day again, if they should be thus changed ; 
but he meets with more truly comfortable days than ever he 
did before : Nay, he never knew what true comfort was till 
now. I know every poor Christian hath not that measure 
of these delights as some have. Some are cloud-ed with 
darkness, and infirmities, and live much more sadly than 
others do, but yet the delight which they have in these 
things, is more than in the things which they before de- 
lighted in. It glads them when they can but see a beam of 



^ Heb. xi. 25. ' James v. 5. "2 Pet. ii. 13. 

n Rom. i. 32. « Prov. i. 2^. p Isa. Iviii. 2, 

q John V. 35. •• Psal. xxxvii. 4. * Psal. xl. 8. 

* Psal. i. 2. cxix. 24. Ixxix. 16, 35, 47,70. " Isa. Iriil. 14. 

" Psal. xciv. 19. y Psal. xvi. 3. 



J 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 75 

heavenly light from the face of God. They have so much 
as sheweth the change that is made upon their souls. 

The like we may say also of the sorrow of the un- 
converted. It is not the same that it was before. Before 
it went nearer their hearts to lose any pleasure or commo- 
dity in the world, or to be wronged, or suffer any disgrace 
from men, or to suffer any want in -their estates, or any pain 
in their bodies, than it did to lie under the wrath of God, 
and live as without him, and his favour in the world. They 
were truly such as satan fully reported Job to be ; had you 
but touched them in their estates or bodies, they would 
have quickly shewed you what was next their hearts. But 
all the misery of their soul was no great trouble to them. 
A man would marvel, that knoweth what a miserable state 
that of sinful nature is, that so many thousands in the 
world can be void of God's image, strangers to the Spirit, 
and know no more of Christ but the very name, and yet be 
no more troubled at it. That they can bear such a weight 
of unpardoned sins as they do every day, and feel it no 
more. That they can live under the curse of God's righte- 
ous law, and remain in daily danger of damnation, so that if 
they should die before conversion, they are lost for ever, 
and yet be no more troubled at it. But alas, they are blind, 
and see not the case that they are in ; they are dead and 
stupid, and therefore feel it not. It is the nature of their 
miserable condition to make them so; they are more trou- 
bled for a worldly trifle, than for all these things of ever- 
lasting consequence. But it is far otherwise with the con- 
verted soul ; one doubt of the love of God is more grievous 
to them, than to doubt of their worldly happiness ; the rem- 
nant of their mortified sins is heavier on their soul, than 
the mountains of unmortified sin was to them before ; they 
send out more groans and cries to God, because of their 
daily failings and infirmities, than they did before for all 
their iniquity ; the utter gracelessness of their hearts was 
then not so grievous to them as the weakness of their 
graces now. He never before knew what it was to have the 
least spiritual communion with God, and yet he bare it 
lightly ; now the miss of it one day and in one duty, is 
more grievous to him. What need we prove this to you, 
when every gracious soul doth feel it, and the world about 



76 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

them may see it, that their sorrows are of another nature 
than they were before ? Were they wont to lie in tears for 
sin, and mourn for God's absence as now they do ? Before 
they were sorrowful, that they might not come to heaven 
without such a course as would impoverish them in 
the world y; but now they are sorrowful that they can 
shake off the world and sin no better, and get ground of 
their corruptions no faster than they do. Object, Perhaps 
you will say, if conversion bring so much sorrow, is it not 
better to be without it? Arisw. No, for it is a willing sor- 
row, a necessary healing sorrow, that worketh repentance to 
salvation, not to be repented of; and not the sorrow of the 
world that caused death "". See there the blessed effects of 
it at large "". It is a sorrow mixed with greater joy ; for we 
are as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing ^. It is a very short 
sorrow that will quickly be forgotten ; for God hath pro- 
mised himself to wipe away all tears from our eyes ^. It is 
a sorrow of God's own giving, and therefore it cannot choose 
but be good, for God giveth not evil : it is a sorrow prepar- 
ing for everlasting joy ; and he that hath called us to it, 
hath foretold us, that we " shall be sorrowful, but our 
sorrow shall be turned into joy, which none shall take from 
us. We shall weep and lament, and the world shall re- 
joice ^ ;" but mark the end, who it is that will be sorrowful, 
or joyful then. " Mark the upright man, and behold the 
just, for the end of that man is peace*." What wise man 
will refuse so short a sorrow for so long a joy? Who that 
is well in his wits, will choose rather to die of his sore, than 
to endure the smart of the lancet to open it ? Nay, there is 
an ingenuity in a converted soul, which makes it in a kind 
of holy revenge even be willing to taste somewhat of the 
smart of his own folly. He sees that it was himself that 
caused it, and brought all this upon himself, and the desert 
of a thousand times more, and therefore he even chooseth 
in some measure to afflict his soul, and doth not thrust 
away sorrow from him, as before he was wont to do. 

(4.) The next pair of affections that shew their change, 
are, hope and despair. Before conversion, the soul of sin- 

y Matt. xiv. 22. Luke xviii. 23. ^ 2 Cor. vii. 10. » 2 Cor. vii. 9, 10. 

»» 2 Cor. vi. 10. c Rev. vii. 17. xxi. 4- •* Jolin xvi. '<iO. 

e Psal. XXX vii. 37. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 77 

ners is either borne up on false, ungrounded hopes, which is 
the common case, or else they drop into desperation. The 
hopes of an unconverted man, are foolish and contrary to 
the word of God, and do but shew the delusion of his soul, 
and tend to his destruction: they are like the hopes of a 
man that thinketh he is travelling to London, when he is in 
the way to York, and yet goes on, and hopes he shall come 
to London for all that, as well as they that go the right 
way : so do these men commonly hope to come to heaven, 
while they go in the way to hell. And though God have 
told them, and passed his word on it, that he that goes in 
these ways shall not see peace ^: and hath assured the 
world, that there is no peace to the wicked ^ : yet still they 
will hope to find peace in evil ways : these deceiving hopes 
are the common cause of the damnation of the world ; as 
the Scripture frequently acquainteth us. But when con- 
verting grace comes, O ! what work it maketh on the soul in 
this particular ! How it battereth down all the false hopes 
of sinners ; and maketh them see that they are all this while 
deceived ! O ! it maketh the poor soul even undone in its 
own apprehension, and shews then that all his hopes were 
vain that before he trusted in. Then he cries out, * I had 
hoped to come to heaven without conversion, but now I see 
it will not be : I had hoped I was well enough before ; and 
that God would have mercy on me in that condition without 
any more ado, but now I see I did but deceive myself. I 
had hoped that I had a saving part in Christ, though I loved 
the world and followed my sins ; but now I see it is not 
so. I had hoped I might have been saved if I had died in 
that condition ; but now I see that I had certainly been 
damned.' Now the soul is brought to a kind of despair; 
not an absolute despair that God will have no mercy on 
him ; no, he never escaped that till now ; but a conditional 
despair, that ever he should come to heaven without con- 
version ; he despaireth of ever being saved in the old con- 
dition that he was in : and then comes in another kind of 
hope than ever he knew before : then the Spirit of grace 
Joth bring him to hope upon grounds that will not deceive 
him : now he hath a hope that quickeneth him, and that 
comforteth him : before he had a dull and dead hope to es- 

' Isa. lix. 8. K Isa. Ivii. 31. xlviii. 22. 



78 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

cape damnation ; but now he hath a living hope of seeing 
the face of God for ever. He hath now that hope toward 
God by which we are saved, even the hope of the resurrec- 
tion of the dead, and the hope of things not seen •*. Now 
he hath a hope which is built on the Scripture, and bred by 
experience, and which will not make him ashamed ^ : before, 
as he was without God, so was he without hope ^ ; but now 
he hath that hope which is an anchor of the soul ' ; a hope 
that he can give a reason of "" ; a hope that purifieth him " ; 
even the hope of eternal life, which none have but those that 
are heirs by faith, and are brought to it by this regenera- 
tion". And for this blessed hope at the glorious appearing 
of the great God our Saviour, doth his faith and patience 
expect and wait p. So that now he hath some reason for 
his hopes, for he hath the promise of the faithful God to 
support them. The least hope that a poor troubled soul 
hath after conversion in the midst of all his fears and doubts, 
is of more value than all the most confident boastings of the 
unconverted : for there can be no hope of being saved out 
of the way that God hath appointed to salvation : and the 
bolder men are^ and the more they hope and boast in a 
wrong way, the blinder they shew themselves, and the more 
is their misery ; but the godly are safe in an objective hope, 
even when they want much of the subjective. There is 
hope, yea, and assurance in itself, when they know it not ; 
and they are safe in that which they do not perceive. 

(5.) The next pair of affections that manifest their con- 
version, are, courage and fear ; an unconverted man is bold 
in sin, but feareth not much the wrath of God, and the 
sorest evil that he threateneth in his word. But when he 
should encounter with any of the enemies of his salvation, 
there he hath no courage. It is a marvel to see the 
strange distemper of a graceless soul. These poor wretches 
are so valiant in their wickedness, that they dare sin when 
the converted dare not; they dare break the Lord's-day, 
and dare drink, and revel, and take their pleasure, and neg- 
lect their souls, and slight God and all his mercy : they 
dare run upon his sorest wrath and upon hell itself. Tell 

^ Acts xxiv. 15. xxiii. 6. Rom. viii. 24. • Rom. xv. 4. v. 4, 5. 

^ Ephes. ii. 12. ' Heb. vi. 19. »' 1 Pef. iii. 15. 

» 1 John iii. 3. » Tit. iii. 5—7. P Tit. ii. 13. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 79 

them of these things, and you cannot much daunt them. 
It is their mad valour that they dare damn their own souls : 
like a distracted man, that dares leap into water and drown 
himself; or a blind man that dares run into a coal-pit, be- 
cause he knows not what he doth : such a kind of valour 
have unconverted nien, when as in the way of their duty, 
they are the most notorious cowards in the world : they 
dare not venture upon a little suffering to prevent eternal 
sufferings ; or upon the frowns of men, or the danger of 
being undone in their worldly estates, though it be for a 
hope of everlasting glory. Nay, they dare not venture upon 
a very scorn ; but when they have some mind to turn and 
set upon duty, a wicked man can mock them out of all. 
Are not these valiant men indeed, that dare not look the 
feeblest enemy of their souls in the face, and yet dare ven- 
ture on the flames of hell? This is the common case of the 
unconverted. 

But when grace hath made this change, then they are 
clean contrary affected ; then they are the most fearful men 
in the world, of God and his displeasure, and the most 
courageous against all the opposition of the world. Alas ! 
they find then that it is madness, not valour, to be fearless 
of the wrath of God : there is no standmg before his indig- 
nation, and no dealing with Almightiness, if it be set against 
us. Therefore doth the poor soul throw down all weapons 
of opposition, and lay himself at th^ feet of God, as Saul, 
Acts ix. 3. and say, " Lord, what wouldst thou have me to 
do ?" Therefore we find converts use to come in trembling 
to Christ, Acts xvi. 29. and ix. 6. And Scripture tells us, 
" The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom ''." Now he 
dare not for his life do that which before he did : he durst 
have let fall an oath or a curse in his passion before ; but 
now he dares not : he durst have secretly deceived others, 
and have committed secret filthiness ; because no body saw 
him, he was out of fear ; but now he dares not ; for he fear- 
eth him that is greater than all. He durst have neglected 
duty, and have been indifferent for all company, and taken 
his fleshly pleasures, but now he dare not : for his life he 
dare not. O ! thinketh he, what if I should die in the act 
of that sin ? What if God should deny me repentance and 

1 P»al. c«. 10. Prov. i. 6. ix. 10. 



80 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

forgiveness ? Where were I then ? He durst before lie in 
a state of death, and now he dares not live quietly, till he 
have laboured after assurance of his salvation ; that he may- 
know it shall go well with him when he must be here 
no more. Now if he be tempted to know sin, this is 
his answer, ' I dare not do it, because I fear God^' Other 
rulers oppressed the people, and so did not he ; because Tie 
feared God. It is the description of the ungodly, that 
*' there is no fear of God before his eyes ^" And the des- 
cription of a wicked place, " There is no fear of God in this 
place *." And the description of the godly, that " they 
fear God"." By this **^fear of the Lord it is that men de- 
part from evil \" This " tendeth to life y." In this " is 
strong consolation''.*' So that it is the work of conversion 
to bring the presumptuous, hardened sinner to this fear of 
the Lord : none do so much fear God as they. 

But then for the threats of men, for worldly troubles or 
crosses, or losses, or any such thing that may stand in the 
way to heaven, how little do they fear them all ? Here 
where the wicked are most cowardly, the converted soul is 
most courageous. Alas ! he knows the difference between 
the creature and the Creator. And therefore, when he hath 
once got God on his side, he seeth he is safe, and the danger 
is most over. Then, O what light thoughts hath he of man, 
or of all that he can do ! " In God have I put my trust," 
saith David, ** I will not fear what flesh can do unto me* "q.d. 
What is flesh to be compared with God ? Can flesh resist 
him, and cross his pleasure, and overcome him? as Psal. 
cxviii. 6. " The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man 
can do unto me ;" and Psal. xlvi. 1 — 3. " God is our refuge 
and strength, a very present help in trouble ; therefore will 
we not fear though the earth be removed, and though the 
mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though the 
waters thereof roar." So xxvi. 3. He knoweth what en- 
couragement God hath given him, la. xli. 10. " Fear not, for 
I am with thee ;" and vii. 4, 35. xiv. xli. 13, 14. xliv. 2, 8, 
li. 7. " Fear ye not the reproach of man, neither be afraid of 
their revilings ; for the moth shall eat them up like a gar- 

«• Nehem. v. 15. » Psal. xxxvi. 1. * Gen. xx. 11. 

« Psal. Ixvi. 16. Ecclcs. vHi. 12. xii. 13. * Prov. xvi. 6. 

y Prov. xix. 23. » Prov. xiv. 26. * Psal. Ivi. 9. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 81 

ment, and the worm shall eat them like wool. But my righ- 
teousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from genera- 
tion to generation." These words of God are the instru- 
ments of that change that is made on the converted soul, 
and therefore will make an impression like themselves. 
When God doth change men, he maketh them soldiers un- 
der the banner of Christ, and setteth them in fight against 
principalities and powers, even against a world of wicked 
enemies ; and therefore he will certainly give them courage. 
This courage is an essential part of our change, and without 
some measure of it we cannot be Christians. He that will 
come to heaven must forsake all, and tread down all, and 
despise all in comparison of Christ, that he may not be a 
forsaker and a despiser of Christ. Therefore we find the 
apostle, in the name of himself and his fellow-soldiers, cou- 
rageously triumphing over death, and the grave, and every 
enemy, 1 Cor. xv. 55. "O death, where is thy sting? O 
grave, where is thy victory ?" And Rom. viii. 18, 31. to the 
end : " The sufferings of this life are not worthy to be com- 
pared to the glory that shall be revealed in us ; what shall 
we say then to these things ? If God be for us, who can be 
against us? It is God that justifieth, who shall condemn? 
What shall separate us from the love of God?" Read these 
triumphant words at leisure. Certain, a true believer hath 
more valour than to be turned out of the way to heaven, by 
any assault that a creature can make upon him. 

(6.) The next passion that sheweth the change, is anger. 
This is a single passion, and hath no contrary. Before 
conversion, men are angry with those that trouble them in 
their sins. If you would but teach the ignorant, or per- 
suade the obstinate, or cross them in the way of their be- 
loved sins, O how angry will they be ! as if you were their 
enemy, and did them some deadly hurt. You cannot speak 
.to them so tenderly in a reproof, but they will think you do 
it to disgrace them, or in ill will to them, or at least that 
you make them worse than they are, and they think you 
make more ado than needs ; as Amaziah did by the pro- 
phet ''. They would atop his mouth if they could, who 
would stop their course of sinning. You shall not see one 
of many of them that have so much ingenuity as to take a 

^ a Chron. xxv. 16. 
VOL. VII. O 



82 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

close reproof in good part ! no, not from a minister, whose 
calling doth specially bind him to it. Hence is the com- 
mon indignation that we meet with from poor blind 
wretches, when we do but our duty. Nay, when we do not 
half, nor the tenth part of our duty, in persuading them to 
a greater care of their salvation, they are offended with us, 
as if we did too much. O what a difference is there be- 
tween their j udgment, and the j udgment of God, and our own 
conscience ! And what a strait a poor minister, or private 
Christian, must needs be in between both ! I confess to 
you all here, to my shame, that I remember no one sin in 
the world, that my conscience doth so much accuse and 
judge me for, as for doing so little for the saving of men's 
souls, and dealing no more fervently and earnestly with 
them for their conversion, or reformation. And yet every 
body is not pleased with that little which I do. I confess 
to you, that when I am alone, and think of the case of poor, 
ignorant, worldly, earthly, unconverted sinners, that live 
not to God, nor set their hearts on the life to come, my 
conscience telleth me, that I should go to as many of them 
as I can, and tell them plainly and roundly what will be- 
come of them, if they do not turn ; and to beseech them 
with all the earnestness that I can, to come in to Christ, 
and change their course, and make no delay. And though 
I have many excuses come in from other business, and from 
disability and want of time, yet none of them all do satisfy 
my own conscience, when I consider what heaven and hell 
are, which will one of them be the end of every man's life ; 
my conscience telleth me, that I should follow them with all 
possible earnestness night and day, and take no nay of 
them till they return to God. But if a man should do thus, 
how would it be taken ? Some of them would think of 
him as Christ's natural kindred did of him% when they 
were about to lay hands on him, and thought that he was 
besides himself; some would think him a precise fellow, 
that thought nobody should be saved but a few that make 
more stir than needs ; and most would be angry with a 
man, as if he did them wrong, when he doth but seek to 
save them with fear, pulling them or keeping them out of 
the fire of sin^. Christ himself is an offence to the ungodly 

«^Markiii.21. 'i Jude 23. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 83 

world '^. And therefore no wonder if we offend them. They 
will even bear a secret grudge in their minds at those men 
that trouble them in their sins ; and " anger resteth in the 
bosom of these fools ^" If you should suddenly come in 
upon a thief or an adulterer with a light, who thought to 
have hidden his sin in the dark, he would be offended at it ; 
and so are most wicked men with us. 

But when converting grace hath changed the heart, the 
case is quite contrary. Then he will thank you for that 
which before he was angry at ; he loveth no man so well as 
him that hath sought to save his soul. O, those reproofs 
and exhortations that God did bless to his conversion will 
stick by him for ever. He will bless God that ever he saw 
your face, and remember those words that helped to save 
him, as long as he liveth ; he will take it for a greater bene^ 
fit than if you had given him all your wealth. A special 
extraordinary love to those that were made the means of 
their conversion will stick for ever in their mmds ; thel 
very words that you speak to them will be so remembered, 
that they would not for a world but they had heard these 
words. O, what a change is here suddenly wrought ! He 
that was wont to say, ' Look to yourselves, you shall not 
answer for me,' and be angry with them that troubled him 
in the way to hell, now loveth their very names, and the re- 
membrance of their kindness is pleasant to him. Even like 
a poor distracted man, that layeth about him, and abuseth 
the physician, and calls them all to naught that would cure 
him, as if they came to kill him ; but when he is come to 
himself again, then he will give them hearty thanks. Some- 
what like it is in a beast ; if he have a thorn in his foot he 
will strive against you, and not let you pull it out ; and if 
you cast him down to force him to it, he lieth as if you were 
about to kill him : but when it is out, and he perceiveth the 
ease, he will perceive you did not mean him any harm. So 
it is with a sinner before his conversion : he is angry with 
those that would do him good ; but when once God hath 
turned his heart, he is quite of another mind. Then he saith, 
•* Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness ; and 
let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall 
not break my head «." And he taketh open ** rebuke better 

« 1 Pet. ii. 8. Rom. ix. 35. ' Eccl. vii. 9. KPsal. cxii. 5. 



84 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

than secret love ; and the wounds of a friend to be better 
than the kisses of an enemy b." I know, by sad experience, 
that too much heart-rising against reproof doth remain in 
many that I hope are converted, but that is from their un- 
converted part ; and if it were predominant, it would prove 
them unconverted men. For so far as they are gracious, 
thus it will be. 

Yea, not only so ; but when a man is converted, his an- 
ger is turned against himself. He was never so angry with 
others for reproving him, as he is now for sinning against 
God, and doing so much wrong to his own soul. Certainly 
there is in every converted soul a great indignation against 
themselves for their sin. They fall out with themselves, 
and think ill of themselves, and speak ill of themselves ; 
yea, and could find in their hearts to be in part revenged 
upon themselves. You may see as much said by Paul, 
2 Cor. vii. 11. where, among other effects of godly sorrow, 
he nameth indignation and revenge. A true repenting sin- 
ner could even find in his heart to execute some punish- 
ment upon himself. O, how he calls himself almost all that 
is naught ! O, thinks he, what a fool, what a wretch, what a 
beast was I, to love the filth of sin better than the favour of 
God and the hopes of everlasting glory ! What a madman 
was I, to be angry with those that would have kept me 
from damnation ! Where was my wit and reason, when I 
so long forgot the work that I was born for, and made so 
light of the Lord that bought me, and thought so little of the 
place that I must live in for ever ? Sirs, I do not speak this 
of mine own head. I have heard many, and many a one, 
through God's great mercy, after conversion, calling them- 
selves worse than all this comes to ; and expressing greater 
anger against themselves, than the wicked now express 
against those that would convert them. And you read, that 
even the saints in Scripture did the like ; and that not by a 
secret confession, but left it on record to all generations. 
David calls himself an ** ignorant fool," and as *' a beast ^" 
He cries out, when his heart smote him by true repentance, 
" I have sinned greatly ; I have done foolishly *." Paul him- 
self saith, that he was " even mad, and exceedingly mad, 

« Prov. xxvii. 5, 6. ^ Psal. Ixxiii. 9.2. « 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 85 

against" the Christians before his conversion''. And of 
himself and the rest, he confesseth, "We ourselves were 
sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers 
lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and 
hating one another ^" So that you see converted men are 
very angry with themselves for their sinful lives ; you hear 
how they call themselves. If they used such language 
against another man, you would think it were railing ; to 
call them fools and madmen, and all to naught. But, alas ! 
they know by sad experience what they say, and yet by glad 
experience that it is now better with them. Therefore it is 
that they can easier bear the hard words of another, when 
they are forced to say as bad by themselves. Therefore is 
every converted sinner a man that loatheth himself for his 
iniquity "". Yea, they could find in their hearts, as I said, 
to be partly revenged on themselves. For though they 
must not destroy their own bodies, because they are not 
their own but Christ's, nor must any way hurt them, so 
far as to make them the less serviceable unto God ; yet, in 
any other case, they can find in their heart to punish this 
flesh, and to make it smart, that hath led them to so much 
evil. Therefore they are the easier brought to fasting, and 
denying the flesh its desires, though they put it to trouble 
and pain ; for as this doth tend to master it, and subdue it 
for the time to come, so a vindictive penance for the time 
past voluntarily undertaken, is but a lawful fruit of repent- 
ance, so that it do no whit disable us from the service of 
God. Hence it is, that a thorough convert doth more easily 
forbear a carnal pleasure, than a hypocrite or half-convert 
will do. For when they are pleading the lawfulness of 
their pleasure, and saying, * what harm is it,* and * why may 
I not do this or that,' he is willing to avoid it, though it 
should be but indifferent, as long as there is any great dan- 
ger of sin in it. For what careth he if the flesh do smart 
for it, if they be the worat ? Seeing it is the flesh that he 
is fallen out with, and hath done so much wrong to God and 
him. So that you see what a change conversion makes on 
a man's anger as well as other passions. 

(7.) The last change we shall mention on the affections, 
that is made by converting grace, is in regard of a man's 

'' Acts xxvi. 11. ' Til. iij. 3. »" Ezek. xxxvi. 31. xx. 43. 



80 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

content and discontent. Before conversion, a man is dis- 
content if he had not the desires of his flesh. He hath no 
rest-in his mind, if he be poor or afflicted, and see not some 
hope of coming out of it. But for the love of God, and the hfe 
of grace, and the joys of the godly, he can be well enough 
content vi^ithout these. If he had but what he would have 
in the world, take you the rest, for he thinks he can live 
well enough without them. When Cain's sacrifice was not 
accepted as his brother's, he was discontented at his bro- 
ther, and consequently at God himself. He " was very 
wroth, and his countenance fell "." Because his brother 
was preferred before him, and was judged righteous when 
he was judged unrighteous. But he could be content with- 
out true righteousness itself, though he could not be content 
without the estimation of it. So can all ungodly men be 
content well enough to be ungodly, but not to be called 
ungodly ; the name troubleth them, when the thing is so far 
from troubling them, that they will not be persuaded by 
any means to leave it. In a word, it is the things of this 
world that wicked men do seek content in, though they find 
it not. But as for spiritual and heavenly things, they can 
be better content in the case that they are now in ; without 
them, than with them. 

But conversion turneth the heart also in this regard. For 
when a man is once truly changed, he can be contented 
with any state, if he have but the favour of God, and the 
life of his grace, and communion with him ; and without 
this he can be content with nothing. Nothing but Christ 
will serve his turn. If God will give him more upon the by, 
he will take it and be thankful ; but without Christ he takes 
all things to be as nothing. What if he had lands and 
lordships, honour and dignity, what will this do for him 
without God in Christ ? And blame him not, for he hath 
felt such a disease, that these things could not heal, when 
Christ, and Christ alone, could do it. And therefore Christ 
he must have whatsoever else he go without. A little of the 
world will serve with Christ, but nothing in the world will 
serve without him. As a wicked man is troubled and rest- 
less, because he hath not that which he would have, when 
every thing is not according to his mind. If friends, if es- 

» Gen. iv. 5. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 87 

tates, if his house, or his body, or any thing be out of order, 
he is in discontent, because it is here that he seeks content, 
and therefore is troubled when he misseth of it. So is it with 
a believer in respect of Christ. If God hide his face, if the 
Spirit seem to withdraw, if Christ seem strange to him, if 
doubts of salvation come in upon his soul, he is as a bone 
out of joint, pained and troubled, and nothing will quiet 
him till he be set in joint again. Like a child that will be 
quieted with nothing but that which he cries for. If you 
offer him any thing else, he throweth it away, for that is not 
it which he crieth for. So is it with this poor Christian; if 
you tell him of riches, or honour, or pleasure, and not of 
Christ, and grace, and glory, you do but trouble him, for 
these are not the things that he looks after. There is but 
one thing in the world that can give him content ; let him 
have that and he hath enough. O, did he but know that 
God is reconciled to him, and that he is united to Christ, 
and the Spirit is in him, and that he is in the safe way to 
the kingdom of glory, then if he have but food and raiment 
he can therewith be content"*. Yea, or if he were without 
them, if God so dispose of it. For he hath learned by the 
teaching of converting grace, to abound and to want, and 
in what state soever he is, therewith to be content »'. And 
therefore, his conversation is without covetousness, and he 
is content with such things as he hath, because God hath 
promised him that he will never leave him nor forsake him*J. 
So this is another fruit of conversion about men's content, or 
discontent. 

Having said thus much of the change of the affections, 
I might proceed to shew you, what particular reigning sins 
it is, that this work doth cast out of the heart, and what 
particular graces it there setteth up, and so go over all the 
chief sins and graces. But because this would hold me 
longer than I intend to stand upon this subject, and be- 
cause these are comprehended in the change already men- 
tioned, I shall pass these over; only that part which my 
text dotli particularly express, I take it to be my duty par- 
ticularly to handle. 

" Except ye become as little children." You see here, 
that Christ plaoeth much of tlie work of conversion in the 

" 1 Tim. vi. «. I' Fliil. iv. 11. 'i Hcb. xiii. /» 



88 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

making us to become " as little children." I shall here, 
therefore, stay awhile to tell you, 1. What is not meant 
by this ; and 2. What is meant by it. 1. Christ doth not 
by this intend, that little children are altogether innocent, 
and that there is nothing in them that is hateful to God : for 
certainly they have all original sin ; for who can bring a 
clean thing out of an unclean ? or how can the parents be- 
get holy children that are unholy themselves ? and righte- 
ous children, that are themselves unrighteous ? I mean, 
without sin, when they are not themselves without sin. I 
remember what an outcry there was ^ once against me in 
this town, for saying, that children by nature, considered 
as sinful and unsanctified, were as hateful in the eyes of 
God, as any toads or serpents are in ours : so that the peo- 
ple railed at me as I went along the streets ; but doubtless 
the comparison is far too short ; for every child by nature 
hath original sin, and sin is more hateful to God a thousand 
times, than any toad or serpent is to us. And therefore it 
is not by nature that children are righteous, or come to hea- 
ven. But it is by grace, through the blood of Christ that 
washeth them ; and the covenant that forgiveth them ; and 
baptism that sealeth this unto them ; and they are capable 
also of the Spirit, to sanctify them. If there were not a 
willing nature in infants disposing them to evil, before they 
do it ; as there is a stinging venomous nature in a serpent 
before he stings, or in a wasp even in the comb. How 
should it come to pass, that children should be so forward 
to evil as soon as they can commit it? Why are they not 
as forward to good ? If children be not by nature, through 
original sin, even hateful to God, what need have we of the 
blood of Christ, to wash them and cleanse them from it? 
And of the water of baptism to seal this cleansing ? Doubt- 
less, there is not an infant in the world but would be for 
ever damned, if Christ's blood did not procure their pardon 
and reconciliation with God. It is not therefore in abso- 
lute innocence, that Christ here means that we must be- 
come as little children, before we can enter into the 
kingdom. 

2. Nor yet is it in point of safety from the wrath of God, 
as if every child, or any by nature, were free from all dan- 

1 Fifteen years ago. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. ^ 89 

ger of everlasting perdition. By grace many are, but by 
nature none at all. From the hour of their birth many may 
be sanctified ; but it is the covenant of grace, and the grace 
of the covenant, that sanctifieth them ", and not the parent 
or nature. 

The things, therefore, that Christ intendeth in the words 
of my text, are these two : First, That as children are but 
men entered into the world, and beginning their lives, and 
all things are new to them, so he that will be saved, must 
by conversion, as it were, begin the world anew. I pray 
you mark it, sirs, for Christ hath not given you this doc- 
trine and example for nothing. Therefore it is that we And 
so often in Scripture mention made, of laying by, or de- 
stroying, or putting off the old man. In Rom. vi. 6. ** Our 
old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might 
be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." 
He that hath truly learned Christ, " hath put off concerning 
the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt 
according to the deceitful lusts, and are renewed in the spi- 
rit of their mind ; and put on the new man, which after God 
is created in righteousness and true holiness ^'* " Mortify 
therefore your members which are upon the earth ; fornica- 
tion, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence 
and covetousness, which is idolatry : for which things' 
sake, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedi- 
ence : in the which ye also walked sometimes, when ye 
lived in them. But now ye also put off all these ; anger, 
wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your 
mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the 
old man with his deeds ; and have put on the new man 
which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that 
created him *." Upon consideration of which great change, 
they are said also to be ** dead, and risen again, and their life 
now hidden with Christ in God "." You see then that here 
is an old man to be put off, and destroyed, and a new man 
to be put on. That is, there must be such a change of the 
qualities of the soul, and the practice of the life, that a man 
must not, in his affection and conversation, be the same 
man that he was before. For though he be the same in 

r 1 Cor. vii. 14. * Eph. iv. 2S{. » Col. iii. 5—10. 

" Col. iii. 1—3. 



90 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

substance and person, and the natural faculties of his soul, 
yet not the same in disposition and practice. In regard of 
his old corrupt disposition and conversation, he is called the 
old man, and in regard of his new disposition and conver- 
sation, he is called the new man. As a man that hath been 
an ill husband, and run out of all, and having nothing left, 
is cast into prison, and when he lieth there, he bethinks 
him of his folly, and at last a friend comes and payeth his 
debts, and setteth him up again, and giveth him a stock to 
trade with; we say of this man, * he begins the world anew.' 
So when a poor sirmer is in prison, under the wrath of God 
for his sin, and Christ comes in his gospel and telleth him, 
* I have paid thy debt, and now I will set thee free, and give 
thee the help of my Spirit, and means ; only see thou be 
faithful to me, and make better use of my mercy for the 
time to come/ Now this converted sinner is to begin the 
world, as it were, anew. As a man that hath fallen into a 
fever, that hath consumed all his flesh to the very bones, 
when he is cured his natural parts do make him new blood 
and flesh again. So when Christ hath cured the diseased 
soul, the old flesh is as it were consumed, and we are made 
anew. As a man that hath missed his way at the first set- 
ting out, and gone the contrary way all day, and at last 
comes to know that he was all this while out of his way, he 
is then to begin his journey anew. So is it with the con- 
verted man. When the illumination of the Spirit by the 
word, doth acquaint him, that he hath all this while been 
out of the way to heaven, he turneth again and saith, * I am 
now to begin my life again/ The building that he hath 
been setting up all this while, is blown down by the breath 
of God's displeasure, or consumed by the fire of his curse. 
And therefore he must begin again, and build all anew from 
the very ground. Not an earthly building like the old, but 
a spiritual house for himself, that may be fit for his holy 
Spirit to dwell in"". And may attain at last to the building 
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens ^. 

I beseech you, beloved hearers, mark this as we go, and 
see whether this be so with your own souls. I must tell 
every carnal, worldly sinner of you all, in the name of God, 
that your old condition is a miserable condition, and will 

« Rom. viii. 11. % Tim. i. 54. > 2 Cor, v. 1, 2. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 91 

not serve the turn of heaven. If ever you will be saved, you 
must become as little children, and even begin the world 
anew. A new heart you must have, a new life you must 
lead, a new course you must take, and a new end you must 
aim at, and intend. But of this I must speak more anon, 
under the further proof and application. 

Secondly, Another thing that Christ here principally 
intendeth in the text, is, that we must become as little chil- 
dren, in regard of humility, and all our designs and contri- 
vances of the world. Though this be not the whole that 
he intends, yet this is the very reason for which he men- 
tioneth the whole work of conversion, as necessary to sal- 
vation ; and therefore he particularly giveth instance in 
this part : though children have the seed of all these in 
their natures, yet are they not acquainted with the acts of 
all, even when they begin to be acquainted with some. 
Children will very young shew their frowardness and dis- 
obedience, and sensuality, and some pride, but not by as- 
piring after great things in the world, and seeking after do- 
minions, and dignities, and honours. They are in no care 
for enlarging possessions, for heaping up riches, for buying 
lands and lordships ; they envy not the princes and lords of 
the world, but are as well contented with their lower mat- 
ters, as kings and emperors are with their crowns ; if they 
have meat, and drink, and clothes, and play, they are pleas- 
ed : you never hear them murmur that they are not prefer- 
red to this office or that, in church or commonwealth ; they 
do not contrive how to undermine others ; nor to get above 
them in worldly dignities ; nor to blast the name of others, 
that they may magnify their own. They disdain not those 
of the lowest rank ; but the children of a lord, will play fa- 
miliarly, if they be not dissuaded by others, with the chil- 
dren of beggars ; in a word, though they have pride, and 
shew it in lower things, yet do they not look after the great 
matters of the world, as ambitious and covetous persons do. 
And this is the thing that Christ intendeth to his disciples, 
and to all Christians, that if ever they will enter into the 
kingdom of heaven, they must lay by their pride and vain- 
glory, and covetousness, and become as little children to 
all these honours and riches of the world. So that it is 
plain, that Christ maketh humility an essential part of the 



92 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

work of conversion, and altogether inseparable from the 
heirs of his kingdom. As pride is thought to be the first 
sin of the devil, and was certainly the first, or one of the 
first that tainted the nature of man, when he would needs 
be as God, knowing good and evil; so is it not the last or 
least of the works of Christ on the soul in its recovery, to 
take down this pride, and humble us, and make us little in 
our own eyes. Satan drew us to aspire after a kind of god- 
head,[and to be more than men ; and Christ brings us to be 
as little children, and almost less than men. Satan drew us 
to be like him in pride, and Christ draweth us by doctrine 
and example, to be like to him in meekness and lowliness : 
satan would lift us up, that he might cast us down, and our 
fall might be the greater, by how much we attempted to 
mount the higher ; and Christ casteth us down, that he may 
lift us up, and that our glory may be the greater, by how 
much we are made the baser by humility. Satan did but 
unsettle us by taking us off our rock and foundation, when 
he pretended to exalt us ; and Christ doth settle us again 
by laying us low ; and'by teaching us meekness, he causeth 
us to find that rest to our souls, which in pride and vain- 
glory could not be found ^. Satan by sin did make us low 
and vile in God's eye, and high and excellent in his own; 
and Christ by converting grace doth make us low and vile 
in our own eyes, and high and excellent in God's. By cor- 
rupted nature, men are still inclined to rise higher, and lift 
up themselves ; but by grace he is disposed to think meanly 
of himself, and to set light by the honours and greatness of 
this world. And why is this, think you ? Is it because 
grace debaseth men's spirits ? No, but because it raiseth 
and ennobleth them. The converted soul doth slight the 
glory and greatness of the world, not on the same reasons 
as children do ; i. e. because they know it not, or because 
it is above them ; but because he is now acquainted with 
far greater things, and because that all on earth is below 
them. It is not because he would fain have greater matters, 
and cannot get them, but because he hath got a sight of 
such things in the world to come, in comparison of which, 
these things are as nothing, and therefore to be set light by, 
and even trodden under foot. He slighteth not crowns and 

^ Matt, xi, 28, W. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. ' 93 

kingdoms as things above him, but as things below him. 
The very humility of the saints hath a high design : when 
they lie in the dust, in self-abhorrency and self-condemna- 
tion, they are aspiring thence as high as heaven : their hum- 
ble confession, and tears, and groans, have a tendency to 
that glory, which is above the sun. As a child that casteth 
his ball to the ground, that it may rebound the higher ; or 
as a man that means to make the highest building, will dig 
deepest to lay the foundation ; in the depth of their debase- 
ment they are seeking to be as the angels of God. It is 
heaven that they mean in every duty, in every prayer, in 
every lamentation they make for their infirmities, yea, in all 
they do in the world, it is nothing lower than heaven that 
they intend. 

Perhaps you will by this time turn your judgment of 
them, as much as the barbarians did of Paul, Acts xxviii. 3. 
And as before you thought them too base, now you will say, 
that grace doth make them proud : but it is no such mat- 
ter. Pride is the undue estimation of a man's self, and a 
desire of undue estimation from others ; and it provoketh 
a man to seek after an unnecessary seeming greatness in 
the world, which tendeth to lay him as low as hell. But 
these high desires, and attempts, and expectations of the 
saints are accompanied with a deep sense of their own un- 
deservings : they confess beforehand that they are worthy 
of nothing, when they live in hope of all things ; they ac- 
knowledge that hell is their desert, when they aspire after 
heaven. And when they come thither, they will confess it 
was not from their merit, but will for everlasting glorify 
that grace that did bestow it. They lean in all their endea- 
vours upon Christ, and never think to rise so high by any 
strength that is properly their own. They will readily con- 
fess, that they have nothing but what they received, and 
that it was God, and not themselves, that made them to 
differ ; and therefore they dare not glory as if they received 
it not. When they have most, they most honour the giver : 
and when they do best, they magnify him that quickened, 
and strengthened them ; and say, " Not to us, O Lord, not 
to us, but to thy Name give the glory "." The more they 
have, the better they know whence they had it. And as 

* Psal cxv. 1. 



04 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

their light increaseth, so doth it lead them further from 
themselves, and shew them their natural darkness, and the 
glory of that sun from whence all flows. It is not impossi- 
ble for a low spirit to have high designs ; and for a man to 
lie in deep self-accusations, with strongest hope of an an- 
gelical glory. A man may look toward heaven that lieth 
flat on the earth, so that his back be towards it, and not his 
face. It is no pride to desire that which God made for us ; 
nor to seek after any greatness, that he hath promised and 
offered, and commanded us to seek for. The sin of pride 
lieth not in the elevation, and aspiring after things so great ; 
but in the undueness and error of it, and in the falseness of 
the estimation ; unless when it comes to desire to be even 
as God. It is not pride, but spiritual wisdom, to desire to 
be like to God in holiness, and to bear his image, for that 
is our perfection. It is not pride, to be unsatisfied with all 
the greatness and glory of this world ; and restlessly to 
seek after a heavenly kingdom, and to hope to be like the 
Son in glory, and to be equal with the angels of God ^ : for 
God hath made us for this, and set it before us, as the prize 
we run for, and given us an infallible promise of it in his 
word : God would not have us base, when he forbids us to 
be proud. His service dignifieth us, if any thing be a dig- 
nity. He would not have us to be such earth-worms, so 
poor, so miserable, so blind, so naked, as to take up with 
the trifles and dirt of the world ; but would have us live 
like men that have souls, which are immortal. Pride is the 
tympany of the soul, which consumeth the substance, and 
is a mortal disease : he loveth not our barrenness, nor is he 
against our substantial growth and nourishment, because he 
would cure us of this tympany that would kill us. It is 
wind and water, and not flesh and substance that is the 
matter of this disease. So that, when God takes you down, 
it is that he may lift you up ; and he makes you lesser, that 
he may make you greater. And if you should yet imagine 
that humiliation is an unlikely way to exaltation, the Spirit 
of God and the life of grace have taught the true convert the 
contrary by experience : he knows it is God's ordinary way 
to bring life out of death, and light out of darkness, and all 
things out of nothing, and to be glorified by weak things. 

b Luke XX. 36. 



TREATISK OF CONVERSION. 95 

He knoweth that Christ went by the cross unto the crown, 
and was nearest his glory, when he was lowest in his humi- 
liation ; and so must he. For he that will be conformed to 
him in his glory, must be conformed to him in his suffer- 
ings ^ We must suffer with him, that we may reign with 
him*^. The prison, and the stocks, and scourging, and 
scorns, were the preparation for the throne, that Paul and 
many another must undergo. The lark that soareth high- 
est, and singeth as it were in the face of the sun, was bred 
under a clod, as low as any other bird. 

Beloved hearers, I beseech you hear not these things as 
matters that concern you not, but as the true description of 
the heirs of heaven. Thus must it be with you if you will 
be saved. While you are unconverted; O what stoutness 
and stubbornness is in the heart ! How fain would men be 
somebody in the world ! How ill do you take it to be light- 
ly esteemed ! You would think it a gallant thing, if you 
could but be greatest, and have all things done as you 
would have them, and all men beholden to you, and depend 
upon you, and you to be beholden to none, and to have 
men's knees bow to you, and your word to be the law, and 
all men give you the preeminency ; to have your name to be 
great and famous, and to be honoured by all. O what an 
excellent life were this in the eyes of a carnal man ! But 
converting grace will bring you down, if God in mercy 
please to give it you. 2. It will make you call yourselves 
less than the least of all his mercies ^. " A worm and no 
man^:" a wretched man^. It will make you think your- 
selves unworthy to live ; unworthy to come among the 
saints ; unworthy to mention the name of God ; or taste of 
his favour ; and this not feignedly, but from your very 
hearts. It will make you marvel, that God should do so 
much for such a wretch as you ; and that he had not damn- 
ed you long ago. It will make confession of sin, even na- 
tural to you, and make you lay your mouth in the dust ^\ 
You will say worse of yourselves to God and man, than 
most others will say of you, and you will the more easily 
bear all slightings and reproaches, and unworthy usage 
from the world, because you know how ill you deserve of 

c PJiil, iii. 10. «• R^)in. viii. 17. « Geii. xxxii. 10. 

f Psal. xxii. 6. «f lloni. vii. ^4. '' LHiu.iii. 29. 



96 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

God, as having used him and his grace so ill. Instead of 
snuffing at those that observe you not, and honour you not, 
you will think yourselves unworthy to be observed, and 
think the dishonour less than your due. Instead of snuffing 
that any should go before you, or be preferred above you, 
you will be ready to stoop to the feet of the meanest, for 
their good. You will esteem others, as f^ir as reason will 
bear it, better than yourselves ; and in honour prefer others 
before yourselves ^. Instead of lording it over your bre- 
thren, you will think it your greatness to be the servants of 
all'. 

It may be you will say, this is a strange person whom I 
now describe, and if there be no true converts but such as 
these, God help us all ! for they are but few. I answer, this 
is the description that I find in the word ; and be they few 
or many, it is these, and only these, that are the disciples 
that Christ will own. ** For thus saith the Lord, the high 
and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy ; 
I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of 
a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the 
humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones'"." 
** To this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of 
a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word'." ** Blessed 
are the poor in spirit; for their's is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are they that mourn ; for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth'"." 
Read the text that Christ preached on Luke iv. 18. Rom. 
xii. 16. " Mind not high things, but condescend to men 
of low estate." And Job xxii. 29. " He shall save the hum- 
ble person." " He that humbleth himself shall be exalted, 
and he that exalte th himself shall be brought low "." *' God 
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble °." I 
shall but trouble you to recite one half of the Scriptures 
that speak in this strain, and assure us that there is no true 
grace and Christianity without true humility. I confess 
there are several degrees of it in the sanctified, according to 
the several degrees of their sanctification, but it is predomi- 
nant in them all. 

^» Rom. xii. 10. * Matt. xx. 27. xxiii. It. •' Isa. Ivii. 15. 

I Tsa. Ixvi. 2. m Matt. V. 3 — 5. " Lukexiv.lt. 

* James iv. 6. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 97 

O that the ambitious great ones of the world, would lay 
this to heart. O that even all the leaders of Christ's flock, the 
preachers of humility, would lay this to heart ! Then we 
should not have had the church so torn in pieces, by con- 
tending after precedency and preeminency, who should be 
lords, bishops, and above the rest ; especially after such a 
check from Christ, as this text and divers others do contain. 
When his disciples strove who should be the greatest, this 
is Christ's decision of the controversy. Not by telling them 
that Rome shall be the ruler of all other churches, and the 
other four patriarchs shall be next to it ; and the bishop of 
the metropolis or greatest cities, shall rule those of the lesser 
cities, and these shall rule those that dwell in a village. No, 
Christ takes another course to decide the controversy, by 
setting before them a child, by telling them that the " kings 
of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and they that 
exercise authority are called benefactors : but ye shall not 
be so ; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the 
younger, and he that is chief, as he that doth serve?." One 
would think that the very thoughts of Christ's washing his 
disciples' feet, and saying to them, that thus they should do 
by one another, should shame proud ambition from among 
the preachers of such a Gospel. O that our stubborn peo- 
ple also would remember this ! that are too good to obey 
the word of the Lord ; and too stout to be admonished, or 
come for instruction to their ministers ; yea, or patiently to 
bear a reproof. All these persons, and many more may call 
themselves Christians as long as they will, but Christ that 
knows his sheep will not own them. Believe it, sirs, it is 
as impossible to be a true Christian without true humility, 
as for a house to be without a foundation. 

I have shewed you now what it is to become as little 
children, so far as is beyond controversy. But there is 
somewhat more that might be worth our inquiry, whether 
they were not baptized and purified children, as such, that 
Christ here intendeth ; in whom even the root of pride is 
mortified? But this I will not presume to meddle with, 
because on this subject I would deliver you nothing, but 
what among the godly is commonly agreed on. But this I 
may well say in general ; that this text in part, and others 

P Luke xxii. 95, 26. 
VOL. VII. H 



98 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

nat)re fully do tell us, that Christ did not look upon in- 
fants as at so great a distance from him, as the Anabaptists 
now do. 

J II. Having done with the work of Conversion on the 
Judgment, and on the Heart, the next thing to be done, is to 
shew you the change that it makes on Men's Lives : for this 
must be looked after as well as the former. The same God 
that ruleth the heart, doth rule the life ; and he that requi- 
reth the cleansing of the heart, doth require also the clean- 
sing of the hands. The soul commandeth the body, and the 
heart will dispose of the life ; if therefore the heart be chan- 
ged, the life must needs be changed too. The root is for 
the fruit ; and the life within, is much to enable us to action 
without. When God giveth us the root and life of grace 
and holiness, it is that we may bring forth the fruit, and do 
the works of grace and holiness. He makes not the new 
creature for nothing, or to be idle, much less to go on in 
serving the devil : but he makes him for a new work, even 
to serve the living God*i. " For we are his workmanship, 
created to good works, which God hath ordained that we 
should walk therein ■■." The excellency of his peculiar people, 
is "to be zealous of good works ^" A good heart and a good life 
ure inseparable, as to the main ; but the life may further outgo 
the heart, than the heart can outgo the life : for there may 
be a reformed life that is in many respects good, while the 
heart is bad ; but the life is never worse than the heart : for 
there can be no evil of sin in this life, but what the heart is 
the proper cause of. " For out of the heart come murders, 
adulteries, theft, false-witnessing, blasphemy, and such like 
sins, which defile the man *." It is therefore a vain boast 
of those men, that take on them to be converted, when they 
live as they did before : neither God nor any wise man will 
believe them, though they may thus deceive themselves. 
Seeing then, there must be a new life, with a new heart, or 
no salvation, let us a little particularly inquire, wherein that 
newness of life doth consist. 

1. The first and principal change of the life, consist- 
eth in the covenant which the converted soul doth make 
with Christ. As this is principally in the heart, and so 
containeth faith and holy resolution, we have spoken of it 

q 1 Thess. t. 9. ' Ephes. ii. 10. » Tit. ii. 14. » Matt. xv. 18— JO. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 99 

before ; but now I mention it as expressed with the tongue; 
for as with the heart we believe to righteousness ; so with 
the mouth is confession made to salvation". A resolved 
heart will have a resolved tongue ; it will carry a man to ex- 
press his resolution, as there is convenient opportunity, 
both to God and man ; this covenant might be verbally en- 
tered before in the face of the congregation, in our baptism 
by our parents, who are authorized by God in Scripture, 
and nature to enter their children into it for their good ; but 
if the heart did never truly own that covenant, when you 
come to the use of reason, you cannot expect to be saved by 
it. Your own covenant with Christ, when you come to age, 
is then as necessary to your salvation, as your covenant by 
your parent in baptism was before, to put you into that 
right which infants have by virtue of the promise ; this co- 
venant is the very bond, and foundation of all the following 
obedience of your lives, when God hath opened the eyes of 
a sinner to see his great necessity of Christ, and the glory 
and felicity that he hath procured, and withal to see the 
universality and freeness of the promise : and that God doth 
call to him to consent to his terms, and accept the mercy 
freely offered. Converting grace doth move the heart to 
acceptance, and the tongue and life to make expression of 
it. There might be half-covenant, and false, hypocritical 
promises before, which for want of sincerity were soon 
broken, and come to nought ; but conversion entereth us into 
a true, and firm, and durable covenant ; when the poor sin- 
ner doth once understand that it is not long of God, if he 
be shut out, and that Christ hath put in no bar of exception 
against him more than any other in the promise of pardon 
and salvation ; and when he understandeth that God doth 
but stay for his consent, and all the stop is at his own will, 
and when he understandeth thoroughly what reason he hath 
to be willing, and how little there is to be said against it ; 
then he doth set up his resolution, and give up himself in 
covenant unto God. It may be before he misunderstood 
the covenant, and thought that Christ was unwilling to shew 
mercy to such an one that had done him so much wrong, 
and he doubted whether God would bid him welcome, if he 
should come home ; but when he is better informed, he ma- 

" Rom. X. 10. 



100 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

nifesteth his consent. God saith to him in the Gospel, 
* Sinner, wilt thou be mine?* And he answereth, * Yea, 
Lord, with all my heart ; and glad that thou wilt accept of 
such a wretch as I.' God saith to him in his Gospel and 
by his ministers, * Sinner, thou hast undone thyself, and art 
under my wrath and curse, I have redeemed thee by the 
blood of my dear Son ; he hath bought thee and will save 
thee, if thou wilt be his; what say est ^ thou? Wilt thou 
heartily give up thyself to him to be saved ? Shall he be 
thy Saviour and thy Lord V And the sinner answereth, 
' Yea Lord, with all my heart ; nothing more welcome to me 
than Christ. It is Christ that my wounded soul doth want. 
It is he, and only he that can save me : I will be his, and 
take him to be mine, and gladly make with him an ever- 
lasting covenant.' Before, though Christ were offered a 
thousand times, the stupid sinner laid it not to heart, and 
would not come to him that he might have life "" : but when 
he is drawn by the Father, and secretly illuminated and 
converted by his grace, then is he heartily glad of the match ; 
he takes this as the day of marriage between Christ and 
him. Christ giveth up himself to the sinner, and the sin- 
ner giveth up himself to Christ. I know that the mere co- 
venant of the lips alone, will prove no man to be heartily 
converted ; but this in connexion with that of the heart will 
prove it. Have you been brought to this, beloved hearers ? 
To do that by yourselves at age, which you did by your pa- 
rents in baptism ? Have you gladly taken Christ, as he is 
offered to you? And have you delivered up yourselves to 
him ? I tell you, converting grace will bring you into co- 
venant : this covenant is the very sum of all your change : 
all is contained in this one word, ' The making up the 
match between Christ and you,' Yea, and it will make you 
upon fit opportunity, even manifest this to others ; and even 
glory in your Saviour, and be willing openly to confess him 
before the world, and let them know that you are in cove- 
nant with him. 

(1.) And I must tell you in a word, that if this covenant be 
sincere, it will have these qualifications following. 1. It 
will be done in some competent measure of understanding 
and judgment : you will know what Christ is, and what he 

» John V. 40. 



I 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 101 

hath done, and what need you have of him, and how he is 
offered, and upon what terms he is to be received and made 
yours. For there can be no true covenant, when you are 
utterly ignorant of the very substance of the covenant. 2. 
If it be a true covenant, it must be entire, you must take 
that is offered you, and not only a part : you must yield to 
the terms of the covenant, and give up yourselves wholly to 
Christ again. It is not to take Christ to some uses, and 
not to others, as to justify and save you from hell, and not 
to sanctify or save you from sin. 3. You must do it re- 
solvedly and habitually, from a rooted habit and resolution 
of the very heart ; and not from a sudden fear, or flash of 
conviction under a moving sermon, and as many will do in 
sickness and extremity, and then forget all, or grow cold 
again, and return to their vomit, when the fit is over: like 
those, Psal. Ixxviii. 34 — 37. " When he slew them, then 
they sought him, and they returned and inquired early after 
God, and they remembered that God was their Rock, and 
the High God their Redeemer : nevertheless they did flatter 
him with their mouth, and lied unto him with their tongues, 
for their heart was not right with him, neither were they 
stedfast in his covenant." And ver. 10. ** They kept not 
the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law." 4. 
If you covenant sincerely, it must be for a present return, 
and not only for the time that is to come. It must be from 
that day forward, without any more delay. It is not a true 
covenant, which excepteth but a day. 5. And if you truly 
covenant with Christ, you will do it unreservedly : yea, and 
resolve against all reservation. You will not secretly make 
exceptions, and say in your hearts, * I will be the servant of 
Christ, if he would use me as I would have him, and deal 
easily with my flesh, and not destroy my worldly interest; 
1 will follow him as far as the way is fair, and no further :* 
No, but you will unreservedly give up yourselves to his dis- 
pose, and say, * I am sure I cannot have Christ, and life 
upon terms loo hard. I am sure that however he deal with 
me, I can have no better master, nor can I take a better 
course ; and if he do as hardly by me as ever he did by any 
of his servants, 1 know 1 shall be no loser by him, nor ever 
have cause to repent of the bargain. And therefore I am 
resolved I will give up myself to him. He is wise, and just. 



102 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

and merciful, let him do with me as he will/ This is the 
principal effect of true conversion, to bring the soul thus to 
close with God in Christ. 

(2.) And in the same covenant, as the converted soul doth 
close with Christ, so doth it renounce all other competitors. 
Before he served another master, but now he understandeth 
it must be so no more. There is no serving God and mam- 
mon, the Spirit and the flesh. Christ and satan are as un- 
reconcileable as light and darkness. It is the purpose of 
Christ to bring men from the captivity of satan, and of sin y. 
He letteth the sinner know, that there is no hopes of join- 
ing these together : either the devil or Christ must be for- 
saken ; either sin or mercy must be renounced. The word, 
and Spirit, and minister say to him, * Thou seest, sinner, 
how the case standeth, God is resolved, he will not change. 
Never think of any other way ; either let sin go, or let hea- 
ven go ; take which thou wilt, and leave which thou wilt ; 
but never think of keeping both.* Hereupon the sinner lets 
go his sins, and renounceth the world, the flesh, the devil ; 
and engageth himself that Christ alone shall be his Saviour 
and his Lord, and God alone his chiefest good. He will 
take the promised glory for his portion ; and this is the 
other part of the covenant. At this one blow the root of 
every sin is destroyed. But principally, that which is the 
centre and sum of all the rest, and that is, self-love, and 
self-seeking. Every unconverted sinner liveth to himself, 
and is addicted principally to his carnal interest, and the 
main work that Christ hath to do upon the soul, is, to take 
down this carnal self. This is the great enemy that he 
bendeth his force against. And the subduing of this is his 
chiefest victory. This is the great idol of every unregene- 
rate man, that must be taken down, or there is no salvation. 
The very nature of conversion, is, a turning from carnal-self 
to God by Christ.. This therefore is to be inquired after 
by all that would find this change upon themselves^ And I 
beseech you brethren be very careful in this particular* For 
as this part of the work is of absolute necessity, so the in- 
terest of carnal-self is very strong and deep-rooted, and 
exceeding much befriended by our nature. So that here is 
the main difficulty of all your work. O, it is no easy mat- 

? Acts xxvi. 18. 2 Tim. ii. 24, ?5. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 103 

ter for a man unfeignedly to deny himself : it is a subtle 
enemy that will keep much secret life and strength, when it 
seemeth to be overcome. And though you may think in 
an affliction, or time of humiliation, that self is brought very 
low ; yet, when prosperity comes again, or when its interest 
lieth at the stake, and you are called either to costly duties 
or sufferings, you will then see better what strength your 
carnal-self yet retaineth. Many a man hath gone far, and 
done much, and shamefully fallen away at the last, because 
they were never brought thoroughly to self-denial. It is the 
remaining interest of carnal-self that leadeth some to fleshly 
lusts, and some to proud ambitious ways, and some to drown 
themselves in the cares of this world, and so prove wretched 
hypocrites at the last. I do therefore as earnestly advise 
every soul of you to all possible care in this point, as I 
would do to any thing in the world. Whatever you do, be 
jealous of this sin. Fight neither against small nor great, 
but against this enemy, carnal-life ; and do not too easily 
believe that it is overcome. Conquer this and conquer all. 
This is the life and soul of all sins. The very use and end 
of all sin is flesh-pleasing. As he that hath right ends, hath 
done more than half his work for his salvation, so he that 
keepeth up his fleshly ends is still a servant of the flesh, 
whatever he may do that seemeth to be for God. He that 
hath got the victory of this self, hath broke the heart of 
every sin. And in this fall of carnal-self, there are three 
great master sins go down. I, Pride. 2. Covetousness. 
3. Voluptuousness. He that before was set upon the exalt- 
ing of himself, is now set upon the glorifying of God. And 
he that lived to tlie world, and was a drudge for earth, is 
now employed for higher things, and he that must have his 
sports and pleasures, and fleshly ease, hath now learned to 
use his body as a servant, and no longer to suffer it to be 
the ruler of his soul. But of these I have spoken elsewhere, 
so that I will say no more of them now. Only this, that the 
destroying of these three sins, pride, covetousness, and vo- 
luptuousness, and in them carnal-self, is one half of the wonk 
of true conversion. As the other half is the setting up of 
God, and the turning of the soul by Christ to him, and 
an unreserved dedication and resignation of ourselves to 
him. 



104 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

2. When the sinner is thus engaf^ed in covenant to God, 
the next thing that he doth, is, actually to forsake that sin 
which he hath renounced, and make good the covenant that 
even now he made. For it is not a false dissembling pro- 
mise, that converted sinners make to God. There is no hold 
to take of another man*s word. Before conversion, all pro- 
mises come from so low a principle that they quickly vanish, 
and the heart of such a man is as changeable as the moon ; 
but when they are converted, you shall see that they are 
men of their word, and did mean as they said, and were in 
good sadness with God, and that they are indeed fallen out 
with sin. They do not now think to put off the righteous 
God with words, and keep that sin which in their covenant 
they did renounce : no, they know that that would but 
bring greater wrath upon them, and cause God to deal with 
them as perjured covenant breakers, besides all the rest of 
their sins ; and therefore the same grace that caused them 
to promise, causeth them to perform. O what a sudden 
change doth appear in the lives of such as these, when God 
hath thoroughly done his work ! I know the work on the 
heart is the greatest work, but that is not seen so much by 
men, and therefore not so much admired. But the life is 
seen by others, and therefore it is a wonder in the eyes of 
the world many times, to see the change of a converted sin- 
ner : when they see, that he that lived in fleshly pleasures, 
doth now despise them, and hath no such mind of his for- 
mer sports and delights ! They marvel what aileth the man 
that he is so changed, when they hear him that was wont to 
curse and swear, and deride those that feared God, to la- 
ment now his wickednesses, to reprove others that do as he 
was wont to do, and warn them to take heed of going that 
way. People will marvel what hath befallen the man that 
hath made this alteration. They do not see what he hath 
seen, nor know the workings of the Spirit of God upon his 
soul. They know not how God hath been hammering his 
hard heart, and melting it, and forming it to this. They 
were not witnesses of the strivings and conflict in his spirit, 
which was between Christ and the flesh ; and therefore when 
they see not the cause within, the change without will seem 
the stranger to them. And indeed it is a kind of miracle to 
see the eflfects of the power of Christ, and how suddenly oft- 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 105 

entimes the change is made, that would never have been 
made by any other means. Take a man that hath only some 
light convictions, and a half-repentance, and how long is he 
in making a half-reformation. If he were wont to swear or 
curse, or frequent alehouses and vain company, he cannot 
suddenly leave it, but sometimes he restrains it a little, as 
if he were reformed, and sometimes he falls to it again, be- 
cause he is not truly changed. But when he is converted 
indeed, you shall see him ordinarily leave all these sins 
even on a sudden. He that was wont to swear or curse, 
you shall never hear him do it again. He will flee from the 
places that before he delighted in. He is moved by a more 
effectual principle, and therefore will not stand trifling in 
the business. Grace makes a man know, that sin, and sa- 
tan, and the flesh are his deadly enemies, that seek the ever- 
lasting damnation of his soul, and thereforf^ it is the less 
marvel, if he use them as enemies. If friends have weapons 
in their hands, they will but play with them, but deadly 
enemies will seek the blood of one another. There is dif- 
ference between fencing and fighting for life. Though a 
man that knoweth nothing of their meaning, might think a 
fencer is fighting in good sadness, seeing he seemeth to 
make as great a stir as if it were so indeed. Yet the issue 
will shew you, that it is otherwise, because you see that 
there is no blood shed, nor men killed. So is it with an hy- 
pocrite in his seeming reformation ; when he makes the great- 
est stir against his sin in confessing and prayer, and other 
means, yet he will not resolvedly cast it away, but he se- 
cretly useth it as his friend, while he openly abuseth it as 
his enemy ; and he puts it into his bosom, while he calls it 
all to naught. He will not be brought unfeignedly to re- 
nounce it, and give it a bill of divorce, and cast it out as a 
man doth his vomit, with resolution never to take it in more. 
O how sweetly doth he roll it in his thoughts in secret, 
when he frowneth upon it with the severest countenance ! 
How easily is he drawn to it again and again, when he takes 
on him to repent of it and abhor it ! But it is clean contrary 
with a man that is converted. Though the remnants of sin 
will remain in him while he liveth, yet as to the reign of it, 
he presently casteth it off*, and biddeth defiance to it. He 
fighteth against it in good earnest, as knowing that either 



106 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

he or it must die. He casteth it up as a loathsome vomit 
which he will not take into his stomach again ; you shall 
quickly see by the course of his life, that his heart is 
changed. Before true conversion comes, what a stir have 
we with wretched sinners to leave a base lust ? To forsake 
their drunkenness, or covetousness, or uncleanness, to leave 
their swearing and cursed speaking, and yet we cannot pre- 
vail with them; sometimes they will, and then again they 
will not ; sometimes a flash of conviction flieth in their 
faces, and they are ^a little affrighted, and then they will 
presently repent and mend ; but when the tit is over, you 
shall see that it is not a change of his disposition or nature ; 
it was but a little falling out with their sin, which leaveth 
them faster friends when they are reconciled. But conver- 
sion maketh an unreconcileable enmity. Away goes former 
sinful customs and courses ; away goes covetous practices, 
and wicked speeches, and proud fashions, and courses. As 
Sarah thrust out Hagar and Ishmael out of her house, and 
would receive them no more. If you have deadly enemies 
in your house, you will thrust out them and all that they 
have. If a man should sit in a dark room among snakes 
and toads, and think verily that there were no such matter, 
but he were in his bed-chamber, you might persuade him 
long enough to come away, and tell him of the danger ; but 
he will not stir, but laugh at you, because he doth not be- 
lieve you. But if you come into the room with a light, and 
he see them crawling all about him, and making at him, then 
you need not another word to bid him be gone ; he [is 
quickly up, and leaveth them with abhorrency. We tell 
unconverted sinners of the hatefulness of sin, and the dan- 
ger that they are in, and pray them to leave it, but they be- 
lieve us not, and do but laugh at it ; but when the Spirit of 
God bringeth in the light, and they see all this with their 
own eyes, that it is even worse than ever we made it, then 
away goes their sins without any more ado. Like a child 
that hath a fine yellow crab which he taketh for an apple, 
he will not part with it, nor let you take it from him ; but 
when he hath set his teeth in it once, and tasted it, he will 
throw it away without any more ado. If such a foolish 
child be playing with a nettle, while he taketh it for a com- 
mon herb, he is bold with it, but when he feels the sting, he 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 107 

throweth it away ; or if he be playing about a nest of wasps 
or bees, while he takes them to be but harmless flies, you 
cannot call him away, but when once they have stung him, 
he cries and runs away of himself, without another word. 
Even so is it with a poor sinner about his sins before 
conversion. We pray him to come away, and tell him 
that sin hath a sting, and a deadly sting, and assure him 
from the word of God that it will be bitterness in the latter 
end, and he makes no great matter of our words, but can 
hear us, as if we came into the pulpit to tell him a tale, and 
not to save his soul from hell. And therefore he can go on 
in his old way for all this, and take his cups, or follow the 
world and his fleshly lusts, and give the preacher leave to 
talk. But when converting grace comes, it makes them 
taste the bitterness and sourness of sin, and then they 
quickly spit it out. It makes them feel the sting and smart, 
and then they cry to .God for help, and wish they had never 
known it, and run away from it with detestation. Grace 
bringeth in that light from God, which shews them that 
which they did not see before. How that all this while they 
have had a multitude of crawling serpents in their bosom, 
and they have been playing even at the brink of hell. And 
when they see this with their own eyes, it is time for them 
to take another course. 

If you doubt all this that I say, whether conversion doth 
make a man thus cast away his sin, while the hypocrite 
stands dallying with it, and cannot leave it, look into the 
example of all true converts. Or if that do not satisfy you, 
look into the infallible word of God. How eagerly was 
Saul going on in his persecution, till the light from heaven 
did stop his course, and the voice and grace of Christ did 
change his mind ! Acts ix. But do you read ever Paul did 
persecute any more ? or doth he delay and take time to con- 
sider of the matter before he would leave his former sin ? 
No ; but he presently forbears, and betakes himself to ano- 
ther course. And Tit. iii. 2 — 5. when he confessed the for- 
mer sinful course of himself and others, he telleth you now 
how the matter is mended. And no marvel ; for the man 
that liveth in his former sinful way, can never be saved, what- 
ever change of the heart he may pretend. ** Know ye not 
that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ? 



108 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adul- 
terers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with man- 
kind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revellers, 
nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God. And 
such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanc- 
tified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
and by the Spirit of God ""." Now you see that conversion 
makes an effectual change of the life. Ye were such ; but 
now it is not so, ye are washed, ye are sanctified by the Spi- 
rit of God. And, Isa. xxx. 22. when God mentioneth the 
conversion of these people, he saith concerning their former 
sins : * Thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth, 
thou shalt say to it, get thee hence.* With what detestation 
will a converted sinner say to his former sin, ' Get thee 
hence ! It is by thee that I have suffered, and had like to 
have been undone for ever. It is by thee that I have so 
much wronged God, and therefore, away with thee, get thee 
hence.' So in Isa. xxxi. 6, 7. " Turn ye unto him, from 
whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted ; for in 
that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and 
his idols of gold, which your own hands have made you for 
a sin." And the description of conversion runs thus, Ezek. 
xviii. 31. *' Cast away from you all your transgressions, 
whereby ye have transgressed against me, and make you a 
new heart, and a new spirit : for why will you die, O ye 
house of Israel?" And Ezek. xx. 7. God commandeth 
them : ** Cast ye away every man the abomination of his 
eyes ;" and ver. 8. " They rebelled, and did not cast away 
every man the abomination of his eyes." " Let us therefore 
cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour 
of light : let us walk honestly, as in the day ; not in rioting 
and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in 
strife and envying y." " Wash ye, make ye clean, put away 
the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; cease to do 
evil, learn to do well^." ** Seek the Lord while he may be 
found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake 
his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; and let 
him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon 
him, and to our God for he will abundantly pardon*." 
** Amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of 

* 1 Cor. vi. 9—1 1. y Rom. xiii. 12, 13. * Isa. i. 16, 17. » Isa. Iv. 6, 7. 



I 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 109 

the Lord your God, and he will repent him of the eviP." 
An hundred more such passages might be cited, wherein it 
is most evident, that there is no true conversion of the heart, 
if the sin of the life be not also cast away. 

If any will here desire to be curious, and to know just 
how much conquest the least degree of grace doth make, 
and how much actual sins may stand with sincerity of grace ? 
Or if any will imagine, that because there is actual sin in 
the converted, that, therefore, there is no discernible differ- 
ence between their reformation and other men's, I answer 
them as followeth. 1. A strong degree of grace is easily 
known by him that hath it, by the thorough reformation 
both of heart and life. 2. The weakest degree of grace is 
not ordinarily known, and therefore you cannot expect that 
I should make it known. For he that hath so little grace 
as to sin as much as will stand with true grace, shall scarce 
ever know that he hath any true grace at all in that condi- 
tion. He is not fit for such a condition, nor would it do 
him good till he were fitter for it. 3. There is no change 
of the life that will discover sincerity certainly to others, 
nor to themselves considered alone, without the change of 
the heart, but there is a wickedness of the life that will 
prove a wickedness of the heart even unto others ; much 
more to men themselves, who may know both immediately. 
4. By this one mark you may know whether the sins of 
your lives, be they great or small, are certain proofs of an 
unconverted, graceless heart or not. In every true converted 
man, the main bent of his heart and life is against sin, and 
his chief desire and endeavour is to destroy it ; but in others 
it is not so. Whatsoever kind of sinning therefore will not 
stand with such a bent of heart and life, with such a desire 
and endeavour, will prove that man to be graceless or un- 
converted that doth commit it. Now how far a man's sin is 
with, or against the main predominant bent of his own heart 
and life, he may discern himself by diligent observation. 

3. I have hitherto spoke only of sins of commission, 
which are cast away when the soul is changed. The next 
part of the reformation of the life is in point of duty. A 
converted soul hath presently another work to do. As he 
hath set his heart upon another end, and looketh after ano- 

•» JiT, xxvi. 13. 



110 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

ther portion and inheritance ; so hath he other means to use, 
which are suitable to the nature of the end which is to be 
obtained. A heavenly felicity is not gotten by earthly 
means. " Learning to do well," therefore is ever joined with 
" ceasing to do evil*=." ** Seeking the Lord while he may 
be found, and calling on him while he is near,*' is joined 
with ** forsaking wicked ways **." He that is " turned from 
the power of satan, is turned to God*." Before conversion 
the wretched sinner had no pleasure in God, and therefore no 
pleasure in his service ; and therefore was seldom, and cold, 
and careless in it; and gave God nothing but the leavings 
of the world and the flesh, and what he could spare ; and 
put him off* with some formal, superficial, cheap kind of ser- 
vice that would cost him but little. But when converting 
grace hath made a change, as God is his delight, so is his 
work and worship. He sees a world of work before him, 
which they made no conscience of before. As I told you 
of Paul, Acts ix. 11. he falls a praying as soon as he is con- 
verted ; and from praying, he proceeds to the preaching of 
that Gospel which he persecuted before. It made the peo- 
ple wonder to see him that had been persecuting all that 
called upon the name of Jesus, but a little before, to preach 
for them a little after. Acts ix. 20, 21. The text saith, " all 
that heard him were amazed, and said. Is not this he that 
destroyed them which called on this name at Jerusalem, and 
came hither to that intent, to bring them bound to the chief 
priests ?" So is it to this day : when a poor sinner that was 
wont to mock at a holy life, and never was used to call 
upon God, or at least but heartlessly, and with the lips ; 
that made no conscience of praying in his family, or in- 
structing them, or holy spending the Lord's day, shall now 
be as diligent in these as any : when the Bible is in his 
hands, or other good books, that had rather before have had 
a pack of cards, or dice, or worldly business : when a man 
was wont to set light by these things, is now set upon 
them, and cannot live without them : this makes the 
world about him amazed, and say. Is not this the man 
that scorned sermons, who now followeth after sermons? 
Is not this he that was against these things as much as any, 
that now is set so much upon them ? I know a man that is 

" Isa. I. 17. '» Isa. Ir, 6. « Acts xxvi. 18. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. ] 1 I 

now unconverted, may be much in the use of means; but 
here is the difference : to a converted man, the obedience 
of God is his chiefest work and business, to which all other 
things are made to stoop : but to the unconverted, the work 
of the flesh, and world is the chief, and the service of God 
must stoop to that. Sirs, if any of you dream that you are 
converted, and yet will not be brought to the works of obe- 
dience, both in holiness to God, and righteousness to men, 
you do but wilfully deceive yourselves. Do you think a 
man can love God above all, as every true Christian doth, 
and not seek him above all ? Or that a man can have a hea- 
venly heart, and not a heavenly life ? It cannot be. If you 
had rather sit at home, when you should be attending upon 
God in the public assembly, or enjoying private helps for 
your souls ; or are cumbered about many things, when you 
should be looking after the one thing necessary ; it is a 
sign that you have not chosen the better part : whenever the 
heart is changed to God, the main bent of the life will pre- 
sently consist in the seeking of God. 

4. A new heart will have a new tongue. The fruit of it 
will appear in the scope of a man's discourse ; " for out of 
the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh ^." I know 
a man may force his words, and therefore I still say to you, 
that these proofs from the outward actions, are stronger for 
the negative, than the affirmative. An evil tongue will 
prove an evil heart, but to prove a man sincere, there must 
be both heart and tongue. But certain it is, that though 
words may be counterfeit, yet true conversion doth al- 
ways change the speech, and make the tongue also ser- 
viceable to those higher ends, which the heart is newly set 
upon. He that before had no mind to speak of any thing 
but earthly and fleshly matters, is now inquiring after other 
matters. The first words that we read of the converted 
Jews* Acts ii. 37. and the converted Jailer, Acts ix. and 
Paul, when he was converted, Acts ix. were, what God 
would have them do that they might be saved. Before, the 
very discourse of sin, and grace, and Christ, and the life to 
come, were a trouble to them, but now it is otherwise. 
They know they have their tongues for no greater use, nor 
can they better employ them, than in seeking direction for 
( Matt. xii. S4. 



112 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

their everlasting happiness. Now, if you mark them in the 
company that they come into, if they have any fit opportu- 
nity, they are lamenting their former sinful life, or warning 
others to avoid the way that they were led into, or telling 
men of the evil of sin, and the need of Christ and grace, or 
asking help of those that can help them ; how to search 
their hearts ; how to overcome the remnant of their sins ; 
and how to carry on the work of God, that they may be 
ready for death and judgment, and get safe to heaven. You 
that are carnal, do wonder that men speak so much of these 
things, and you are weary to hear them, but you know not 
the change that is made upon their hearts. Can you blame 
a man to talk of his everlasting condition, and of that which 
is of greater moment than all the matters of the world ? Can 
you blame a man to talk most of that which he mindeth 
most, and which his very heart is set upon? If his tongue 
be of heaven, while his heart is on earth, then he is an hy- 
pocrite : but would you not have a man's tongue to follow 
his heart, when his heart is right ? Yet some men are so 
perverse, and so against the things of God, that they are 
ready to say. Why cannot they keep their religion to them- 
selves ? Cannot they be religious in secret, without talking 
of it so much to others ? As if the heart only were made 
for God, and the tongue for the world, the flesh or the devil. 
As if a man should talk of nothing but the childish toys 
and trifles of the world, for fear of seeming an hypocrite, or 
for fear of troubling these queazy souls. Shall the Holy 
Ghost make such a change on the heart of a sinner, and shall 
not the tongue partake of it, or express it? Can Christ and 
his Spirit dwell in the heart, and the tongue conceal so 
blessed an inhabitant ! Can a man have a taste of hea- 
ven upon his heart, and the kingdom of God begun 
within him, and yet not express his life or joy ? Or is 
it meet for him that hath found the way to heaven, to 
hold his tongue, and let others quietly post to hell ? Should 
a man that hath narrowly escaped damnation, himself be si- 
lent, when he seeth others go in the same way that he had 
liked to have perished in ? Who will not call to another to 
take heed, that hath escaped a quicksand himself? Or set 
up a bush, that those that follow may see the danger ? Is 
it not a strange conceit of these men, that would have the 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 113 

converted so cruel to all that are yet unconverted ; so un- 
thankful to God that hath mercifully delivered them ; so 
senseless of matters of the greatest weight, and so service- 
able to satan the great deceiver, as to say nothing of such 
unspeakable things as these? What! have the love of God 
shed abroad in their hearts, and say nothing of it ! Have 
the pardon of sin in the blood of Christ, and say nothing of 
it I What ! see many hundred souls in danger of damnation, 
and say nothing, but let them perish ! It cannot be ; it 
must not be ; it is a most unreasonable thing to desire it. 
Our tongue is our glory, it is the principal instrument of ma- 
nifesting our mind, by which man differeth from all other 
inferior creatures : and should we not use it for God and 
the greatest things? What sottish people are these to 
think their worldly matters fit for their discourse, and the 
matters of everlasting life, unfit ! To think it no harm to 
jest and talk foolishly, and tell idle tales, and such a man 
they take for a pleasant companion, and never find fault 
with him. But for the things that may honour God, or tend 
to men's salvation, or to destroy sin and cross the devil, 
here we must be silent, and keep our religion to ourselves. 
Did ever these wretches believe Jesus Christ ; " that by 
their words they shall be justified, and by their words they 
shall be condemned ^ ?" Did they ever believe, or regard 
the words of the Holy Ghost, Eph. v. 3, 4.? " But fornica- 
tion, uncleanness or lasciviousness, let it not be once named 
among you, as becometh saints ; nor filthiness, nor foolish 
talking, nor jestings, which are not convenient, but rather 
giving of thanks." And Eph. iv. 29, 30. " Let no corrupt 
communication proceed out of your mouth ; but that which 
is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to 
the hearers, and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." " Let 
the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teach- 
ing and admonishing one another *"." " Exhort one another 
daily while it is called to-day, lest any of you be hardened 
through the deceitfulness of sin '." •* If any man speak, let 
him speak as the oracles of God, that God in all things may 
be glorified ^." Abundance of such passages are in Scrip- 
ture, which may tell you what to think of the folly of such 

f Matt, xii. 37. »' Col. iii. 16. * Heb, iii. 13. •' 1 Pet iy. 11. 
VOL. Vll. I 



114 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

carnal men ; and may assure you that a converted, heavenly 
heart, will always have a new and heavenly tongue. 

5. A changed heart will have change of company, if it 
may be had. There is somewhat in nature that disposeth 
all men to delight in that company which is most suitable 
to their disposition. While their hearts are carnal, they 
love the company of such : a man that is of their mind and 
way, and will break a jest, and be merry with them, or talk 
with them about their worldly matters, is the best compan- 
ion for them ; for the company of mortified and heavenly 
men, they have no pleasure in it. They do but mar their 
mirth with putting in words about the evil of sin, and death, 
and judgment, and everlasting things : they do but trouble 
them, and cast them into dumps, and therefore they have 
no mind to their company. But when converting grace 
hath changed them, their minds in this are changed also. 
O how sapless and unsavoury then is it to them to sit or 
walk in the company of such that have never a word of 
God, or that may help them in the matters that their hearts 
are set upon ! Their merry talk, and fine discourse, is to 
him but as the crackling of thorns in the fire. It doth but 
trouble him, and move him to compassionate such empty 
souls that have no God, no Christ, no heaven to talk of, but 
mere unprofitable trifles; but the company of those is sweet 
to him, that will discourse about the matters of his salva- 
tion ; that will tell him how he may get more grace, and 
open to him more the mysteries of the Gospel, and speak of 
the riches of God's love in Christ, or tell him of the dangers 
that are yet before him, or the duties that he must per- 
form. These matters are now savoury to him, for these he 
knows do indeed concern him, and are worth the talking of. 
When a man is in a strange country a thousand miles off, 
it doth him good to meet with his own countrymen, and 
talk with them about his friends, and family, and his es- 
tate, and inheritance, and home, which he must return to ; 
one hour of this discourse is sweeter to him, than an hun- 
dred with the strangers of the country, about matters that 
are little to him : so is it here ; a Christian that knoweth 
he is a stranger in this world, and that his God, his salva- 
tion, his home, his inheritance are all in the world to come ; 
had rather far discourse with a heavenlyminded man about 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 115 

his Father, and everlasting works and blessedness, than 
with worldly men about this world. Who loveth not the 
company of his dearest friends and brethren more than of 
strangers or enemies ? We know, those that fear God are 
like to be our companions for ever, and therefore we would 
have them our companions here. You may see by Scrip- 
ture that it is thus with true Christians. " In his eyes a 
vile person is contemned, but he honoureth them that fear 
God V " They take sweet counsel together, and walk to 
the house of God in company ""." " They that feared the 
Lord, spake often one to another °, &c." '* I am a compa- 
nion," saith David, " of all them that fear thee, and of them 
that keep thy precepts °." And it is one of the Hebrews' 
commendations, that they " became companions of them 
that suffered for Christ p." And on the contrary side, it was 
feigned to be one of Job's iniquities, to go in company with 
the workers of iniquity ^. For men are supposed to be such 
as their company is ; and we are commanded with such, no, 
not to eat ^ And " to have no company with them, that 
they may be ashamed *." And Solomon saith, " A compa- 
nion of fools shall be destroyed *." 

6. Another part of the change of the life is this, true 
conversion makes a man compassionate to those that are 
unconverted, and very desirous of their conversion, and 
therefore sets men upon such endeavours as they can use to 
bring it to pass; yea, it makes men zealous of good works", 
and very careful and studious to do what good they can. 
It is the disposition of wicked men to draw others with them 
into wickedness, and to make others as bad as themselves : 
" They not only do that which is evil, but have pleasure in 
them that do if." They would have others as loose as they, 
and as careless of their own souls as they, and to make as 
light a matter of sin as they do. The drunkard would have 
companions, and the gamester would have companions; 
every one that hates and derides a godly life, would have 
all others do so too. Men are loath to go to hell alone ; but 
like men that are running violently down a hill, they draw 

' Psalm XV. 4.  Psalm Iv. 14. " Mal.iil. 16. 

° Psalm cxix. 63. p Heb. x. 33. i Job xxxiv. 8. 

^ 1 Cor. V. 11. • 2 Thess. iii. 14. > Prov. xiii. 20. 

" Tit. ii- 19. » Rom. i. 32. 



H6 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

one another with them. It somewhat comforts them to see 
most of the world as bad as themselves, because they think 
then God will not condemn so many : as if the number of 
sinners did extenuate the wrong. And those unconverted 
men that are not so bad as to wish others as bad as them- 
selves, yet have little zeal for men's recovery : for how can 
they love other men better than themselves ? 

But when conversion hath given a man a sight and sense 
of the evil of sin, it makes him pity all that are misled, and 
earnestly desire their conversion and recovery. O how fain 
would the gracious soul have others to see the folly of sin, 
as he hath seen it ! How fain would he have them see the 
need of Christ, that glory above, that felicity that lieth in 
the favour of God, as he hath seen them ! It doth him good 
to have companions in good : he hath no mind to be happy 
alone. The number of partakers he knows will not at all 
diminish his joys. If he could tell how, he would have all 
the world to be as happy as himself, the more the better. 
And therefore he prayeth heartily for the conversion of other 
men : he pleadeth with them, and persuadeth them ; and 
fain he would have their eyes to be opened, and their hearts 
to be softened and turned to God. He remembereth that 
their case was once his own, and how foolish and froward 
he was, even as they now are ! He remembereth how 
miserable he then was, though he knew it not, and would 
not for all the world be in the same case again ; and there- 
fore he cannot choose but pity those that he hath left behind 
him, and long for their deliverance. 

Truly, sinners, it is from hence that men fearing God. do 
trouble you so much in your sins, and make such a stir with 
you about matters of your souls ; and tell you of your dan- 
ger, and persuade you to turn, and take another course : it 
is because they are loath to see you perish, if they could 
help it. You would have them let you alone, but they are 
loath to let you alone, in such a case and way as that. If 
some that are running to drown themselves, or do any mis- 
chief to themselves, should bid you let them alone, and 
meddle with yourselves, and take no care for them, you 
would not let them alone for all that, but would hinder them 
if you could from making away with themselves. So, if you 
are angry with men that would keep you out^of hell, and bid 



I 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 117 

them let you alone, and take no care for you, because you 
shall answer for yourselves, this will not satisfy them to 
stand still, and see you run into damnation, if they knew how 
to help it. Alas ! it is not because they love to be meddling 
with other folks' matters, or take pleasure in reproving and 
controlling other men. If it were not for your sakes and 
the glory of God, it is easier for us to let you alone. We 
have work enough of our own to do, and dangers enough of 
our own to prevent. It is small pleasure to any man that 
is well in his wits to meddle needlessly with other men's 
' matters, and to contradict wilful sinners, when he knows 
how little thanks he is like to have for it. What do you 
think we long to have men hate us and fly in our faces t Is 
it a pleasure to us to vex men, and make them our enemies ? 
No. Alas ! it is so great a displeasure, that it becomes a 
strong temptation to us to be unfaithful or negligent in our 
duty. Many a minister is so loath to get the ill will of his 
people, that he lets them alone in their sins, or only telleth 
them of it in public, or at the most but in an easy, ineffec- 
tual way, and so falls in danger of perishing with them for 
company. Nothing makes more negligent, unconscionable 
ministers, (next to the unfaithfulness of their own hearts,) 
than people's hating their instructions and reproofs, and im- 
patiently bearing the means that should recover them. 
Carnal ministers will not cast themselves upon the people's 
displeasure, but rather let them alone and venture them. 
They that dare venture their own souls to escape the ill will 
of men, will venture other men's too. And so it is also 
with private Christians. The reason why so few will be 
brought to deal plainly and faithfully for the saving of 
others, is because it is commonly so ill taken. Alas ! sin- 
ners, what ease, what profit, what good is it, think you, to 
other men to trouble you in your sins, if it were not for your 
good, and for the command and glory of God? But what 
man that is not a tyger, or hath not a heart of stone within 
a little of damnation, and let them alone ? Who can be so 
cruel as to hold his tongue, while he seeth men in the high- 
way to hell? If we were yet in our unbelief, and did not 
believe that the word of God is true, or that unconverted 
men shall certainly perish, then we might well be silent ; for 
who would go to make men sad with melancholy fancies or 



118 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

fearful dreams that have no truth in them? But O ! do not 
blame a man that hath been in the same condition himself, 
and is mercifully delivered by converting grace, if he look 
back to those he hath left behind, and tell them of their 
danger ! Do not blame a man that hath his eyes opened by 
faith, and seeth hell-fire a little before you, if he should call 
to you, and call again, and call with tears and greatest ear- 
nestness, to entreat you to stop, and go no further. I dare 
say, if you did but see what he seeth, you would be of the 
same mind, and would be as loath to go on in an unconvert- 
ed condition, as any one would be to suffer you. When 
the eyes of sinners are shut that they see not their own con- 
dition, nor what a storm is rising in heaven against them, 
they are content and quiet at the gates of hell ! But when 
either grace or torments have opened their eyes, the case 
will be quite changed with them. Well, this is certain, 
that whenever God converteth the soul, he maketh men very 
desirous of other men's conversion, and very compassionate 
to them that are yet in darkness and in bondage by their 
sins. Not only Paul and the preachers of the Gospel say, 
" Necessity is laid upon me, and woe unto me if I preach 
not the Gospel;" but every Christian in his place doth find 
a necessity upon him to endeavour the good of others ; and 
he findeth an earnest desire to it, and a delight in that which 
God hath made so necessary. And it is not in this matter 
of conversion only, but in all other things also, that a true 
Christian hath a special inclination to do good. As he that 
is evil, delighteth to do evil ; so he that is good, delighteth 
to do good Though he be not perfectly good, for so is none 
till he come to heaven ; much less primitively, and of him- 
self good, for so there is none good but God y. Yet hath he 
a derived, an imperfect goodness, and in that measure as he 
is good, he must needs be prone to do good ; for every thing 
will work according to its nature. It is a death to wicked 
men to do that which is a godly man's delight. A man or 
beast cannot fly in the air, but a bird can do it as easily as 
we can walk on the earth. A good man is never in his own 
element, but when he is doing some good. His mind run- 
neth on it : he studieth how he may effect it ; and he is not 
content to do good, unless he do much good. He knoweth 

y Matt. xix. 17. 



I 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 11.9 

what Christ hath said ; " Herein is my Father glorified, that 
ye bring forth much fruit ^." He findeth by experience that 
which others will not believe, that doing good is either a 
receiving of good, or inseparably conjunct with it. The 
more a man giveth to the poor or to other good uses, with 
right intents, the more he receiveth. Whatever others re- 
ceive by his endeavours, he is sure that he shall not lose his 
labour or cost, as to himself. " He that giveth to the poor, 
lendeth to the Lord ;" and look what he layeth out, it shall 
be paid him again. A carnal man is ever selfish, and draws 
all to him, as if there were no one but himself that he cared 
for : but a gracious man is in his place and measure like 
God, a communicative good. As ** God is good and doth 
good V' so is he. That which a man's nature inclineth him 
to, he cannot forget. A good man forgets not in the main 
to do good, for he knoweth that with such sacrifice God is 
well pleased ^. Mark this all you that profess more zeal for 
God than others : believe it, true conversion will appear in 
good works. The true servants of Christ do as much exceed 
the world in a contempt of earthly things, and in compassion 
to the miserable, and in readiness and bounty, according to 
their ability to those that want, as they do exceed them in 
praying, or other duties. Other men part with the world 
as their treasure, and almost as their blood, but the heavenly 
Christian parteth with it as his superfluity, or at least as 
that which he can spare. Faith teacheth men to do good ; 
and good works are part of the riches of a saint ''. Doing 
good is so excellent and necessary a thing, that even an 
enemy must be made partaker of it**.. And want of thank- 
fulness or requital from men, is no excuse to them that neg- 
lect it*. Some works of piety may be forborn for doing 
good to others ^ 

So much for that part of the change. 

» John XV. 8. • Psal.cxix. 68. '» Heb. xiii 16. « 1 Tmi. ri. 18. 
«» Matt. V. 4-4. « Luke vi. 35. ^ Mark iii. 4. 



120 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 



CHAPTER II. 

I HAVE spoken of the work of conversion, as it containeth 
the change of the judgment, and of the heart, and of the 
life, and so have finished the third particular promised : 
vi^hich was to shew you w^hat conversion is, and wherein it 
doth consist. By what is said, you may easily see that it 
is a great change that is made on the soul and in the life, by 
this renewing grace of Christ. Methinks now all those men 
that know, or may know, that never such a work was 
wrought upon their hearts, should see that it is time to look 
about them, and to lay to heart the sad conclusion, which 
Christ hath here protested in my text. What ! have all the 
people of this congregation found all this change upon judg- 
ment, heart, and life, as I have here spoken of? O that it 
were so well. What a joy were that to us, to angels, to 
Christ himself! And what everlasting joy would that be to 
themselves ! But, alas ! their conversations and careless 
lives do tell us, that with too many of them it is far other- 
wise. And what keepeth such guilty souls in peace? Can 
so many men hear such a text as this ; that except they be 
converted they cannot be saved, and yet not look about 
them, nor be awakened from their security ? Yet it is too 
evident by sad experience, that they that read this and know, 
or might know, that they are not converted, are yet as care- 
less as if they could endure damnation well enough. And 
what is the matter ? And how comes this to pass ? Doubt- 
less, because they do, not thoroughly believe the truth of 
what is said. 

IV. I shall therefore come now to the next thing 
promised : briefly to shew you from the word of God 
the certain truth of what we have in hand, that you may see 
it is a matter past all doubt and question. 

I. And first. What need you any more than the very 
words of the text ? Do you need further proof, where you 
have the words of Christ himself? But you shall see yet 
more, John iii. 3. He telleth Nicodemus, *' That except a 
man be regenerate and born again, he cannot enter into the 
kingdom of heaven :" that is, as a child is as it were a new 
creature that lately received life, which had none before, and 
newly entereth into the "orld ; so must every man that will 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 121 

be saved, as it were receive a new spiritual life, and enter 
into the world of grace, even into the church of God, and 
begin his life as it were again ; " If any man be in Christ, 
he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold, 
all things are become new/' See here both the necessity, 
and the nature of this change. It is not one or two, but 
every man that is in Christ, that is thus converted. And 
he that is not in Christ, is not a Christian, and he that is 
not a Christian cannot be saved. Every true Christian then 
is a new creature ; not in substance, but in quality and in 
life ; '* old things are passed away, behold, all things are be- 
come new !" What are these * all things V but those that 
I have before expressed to you ? A true converted man, 
hath not the same ends and intentions that he had before : 
he hath a new hope and happiness, new love, new desires, 
new sorrow, new delight, new resolution, and a new conver- 
sation : all is become new. He entereth a new covenant 
with Christ, and so he hath a new master, a new head, and 
husband and Lord : and is now a member of a new society, 
and entereth into a new kingdom and family. He hath a 
new work to do, he hath a new company to converse with, 
he hath new thoughts in his heart, and speaks a new lan- 
guage. He leadeth his life by a new law : and thus all 
things are become new. Even relations are here included, 
as well as physical qualifications. For he hath a new Fa- 
ther, a new inheritance, and so of the rest. It must needs 
be a great change indeed, where all things are become new. 
If it were but one or two of these, it would make a great 
alteration ; much more when it is in all. So in 1 Pet. ii. 2. 
The apostle likeneth them to " new born babes, who must 
therefore desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may 
live and grow by it." And in Gal. vi. 15. " For in Christ 
Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircum- 
cision, but a new creature. The world must be crucified to 
us, and we to the world, that we may live anew to God." 
ver. 14. And I told you before out of Ephes. iv. 22 — 24. 
That in conversion we '* put off the old man, which accord- 
ing to the deceitful lusts, is corrupt ; and are renewed in the 
spirit of our mind, and put on the new man, which after God 
is created in righteousness and true holiness." And Tit. iii. 
5. " According to his mercy he saved us by the washing 



122 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which 
he sheddethon us, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that 
being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs accord- 
ing to the hope of eternal life/' So Col. iii. 10. " We put 
on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the 
image of him that created us." Ezek. xviii. 31. He com- 
mandeth them to " make them a new heart, and a new spi- 
rit." And what he commandeth all, he declareth himself 
resolved to give to his elect. Ezek. xxxvi. 26. " A new 
heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put into 
you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, 
and I will give you a heart of flesh ; and I will put my Spi- 
rit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye 
shall keep my judgments and do them." So in Ezek. xi. 
19. " I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spi- 
rit within them ; and I will take the stony heart out of their 
flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh ; that they may 
walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them, 
and they shall be my people, and I will be their God." And 
as they are new creatures, so they have a new command- 
ment, or law to live by ; and a new promise, or covenant for 
their inheritance ^. They have a " new name, that no man 
knoweth but he that hath it "" :" or at least they shall have. 
They have " new employments, even serving God in new- 
ness of life, that as they were planted together in the like- 
ness of Christ's death, they should be also in the likeness 
of his resurrection. Knowing this, that their old man is 
crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, 
that henceforth they should not serve sin. For he that is 
dead is justified or freed from sin ^." And thus they " serve 
God in newness of spirit *." And so the whole church is 
" one new man in Christ ^" And a " new lump that is 
purged from the old leaven," must all particular churches of 
Christians be «. But lest any doubt should be left, I will 
reduce the rest to some particular arguments. 

1. It is the very office of Jesus Christ, which he came 
into the world to perform, to bring back ungodly sinners 
unto God. And shall we think that Christ came on a 
needless errand ? Believe it, sirs, as his suffering was ne- 

»» John xiii. 34. Luke xxii, 20. 2 Cor. iii. 6. Heb, ix. 15. 

» Rev. ii. 17. ^ Rom. vi. 4—7. « Rom. vii. 6- 

f Ephes. ii. 15. ? 1 Cor. v. 7. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. * 1'23 

cessary for our ransom, so was his doctrine and Spirit as 
necessary for our conversion, and we can no more be saved 
without the one, than without the other. Think with your- 
selves whether it be a likely thing, that God should send 
his Son on earth by a miracle, surpassing all miracles, and 
this on purpose to call home straying sinful souls, if they 
might be saved without conversion ? If it had been pos- 
sible for men to be happy without holiness, and to escape 
misery without escaping sin, what need Christ have come 
to sanctify them ? The Lord Jesus is the great Physician 
of souls, and he comes not to heal any petty diseases, that 
might as well have been healed without him ; but he comes 
to cure a killing plague, that no one else could have 
cured but himself. It was never the mind of Christ to come 
down from heaven to suffer for our sins, that we might be 
saved in them without a change. Never did it enter into 
his holy thoughts, to bring men to glory in their sins ; but 
to destroy their sins that would keep them out of glory. 
He never meant to bring you and your disease to heaven 
together ; but to heal your disease, that else would be your 
ruin. What shall we think, that Christ came to impute a 
righteousness to the impenitent and unconverted ? And to 
make God believe that they are j ust in him, who are not in 
him at all ? And to make men seem to be what they are 
not? Why, this were to fain the blessed Son of God to be 
the patron of iniquity, and to die for the upholding of sin; 
and not for the destroying of it. What greater blasphemy 
against Christ can there be, than to imagine that he be- 
friendeth sin, which he doth so hate ? And that he taketh 
part with satan, and strengtheneth his kingdom, when it 
was his very business in the world to destroy it, and his 
works'"? What must Christ come, and so miraculously 
condescend and do, and suffer what he did, and all to heal 
diseased souls, and kill that sin that else would kill them, 
and after all this, shall he be made the patron of it ? Take 
this home with thee to thy heart, unconverted sinner, who- 
ever thou art. If men could have been saved without 
conversion, Christ would never have done so much to con- 
vert them as he hath done. You comfort yourselves in 
Christ, while you live in wilful sinning ; and you think that 
though you be not renewed, yet you shall be pardoned and 

*» 1 John iiJ. 8. 



124 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

saved by his blood-shed. Why, I tell you from the word of 
God, you may fetch much terror from the thoughts of Christ; 
but hope of salvation without conversion he will afford you 
none. You may rather think with yourselves, that if the 
changing of a sinner had not been a work of great necessity, 
Christ would never have come down to do it. I know that 
we have free pardon of sin by his blood, or else we had no 
hope ; but it is none but the converted that partake of that 
pardon, as you may see, Mark iv. 12. " Lest at any time 
they be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them." 
So Acts xxvi. 18. iii. 9. " Repent ye therefore, that your 
sins may be blotted out." If you had but that one chapter, 
Luke XV. to tell you in what manner Christ doth save men, 
you might easily see, it is not by bringing them to heaven 
in their ungodliness. He likeneth himself to one that hav- 
ing lost a sheep in the wilderness, goeth and seeketh after 
it, till he find it. And when he hath found it, (what, doth 
he leave it? no, but) layeth it on his shoulders, and bring- 
eth it home rejoicing ; ver. 4, 5. Or like one that sweepeth 
the house to find a piece of silver that was lost ; ver. 8. Or 
like the father that gladly receiveth the returning prodigal. 
But without returning, there had been no receiving him, 
nor any rejoicing over him. 

Object. But doth not Christ tell us of some that needed 
no repentance ? ver. 7, Answ. True, why is that ? Because 
they had truly repented before. They needed no conver- 
sion ; or such conversion as the new converts have, which 
consists in a change, from a state of sin to God : but only 
a proceeding in obedience, and particular repentance for 
their particular slips. But if they had not been converted 
before, they would have needed such a conversion or re- 
pentance. For so the prophet saith, Isa. liii. 6. " All we 
like sheep have gone astray, and have turned every one to 
his own way." And so, 1 Pet. ii. 25. " For ye were as 
sheep going astray, but are returned to the shepherd and 
bishop of your souls." Or if there be any that were sancti- 
fied in their infancy, as no doubt there is, so that their ac- 
tual going astray was prevented ; yet as they went astray 
in Adam and their parents, so had they a straying disposi- 
tion in their corrupted natures, which needeth a turn, as 
well as the sins, which appear in the life. And thus it 



r 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 125 

appeareth that Christ came of purpose to convert men. and 
not to pardon any soul without conversion. " The Son of 
Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost */* 
" Who gave himself for us (not to pardon us, and to save 
without converting us, but) to redeem us from all iniquity, 
and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good 
works ^," So that hence you may see the absolute neces- 
sity of conversion to salvation. 

2. It is the very drift of the Gospel, and main 
design of the whole word of God, to convert men from 
sin to God, and build them up when they are once 
converted. And do you think that God would have 
made it the scope of his word, if it had not been neces- 
sary ? If a man could be saved without conversion, what 
need God to inspire prophets and apostles to deliver his 
word to the world, and to seal it with the miraculous 
gifts of the Holy Ghost, and all to convert men, and build 
up the converted ? Would God make all this stir with us, 
as he doth in the Bible, for a needless thing ? Alas ! if he 
did not know that your disease will kill you except it be 
cured, he would never have prepared so many remedies 
against it. This is the very use and glory of the law of God. 
" The law of God is pure, converting the souP." What else 
doth Scripture call sinners to, but to repent and turn to God 
by Christ. " As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure 
in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from 
his way and live ; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways ; for 
why will ye die, O house of Israel ""." " But if the wicked 
shall turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and 
keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, 
he shall surely live ; he shall not die. Have I any pleasure 
at all that the wicked should die, saith the Lord God; and 
not that he should turn from his ways and live? Repent and 
turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity 
shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your trans- 
gressions, whereby you have transgressed, and make you a 
new 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, saith the Lord God ; wherefore turn yourselves and 

« Luke xix. 10. ^ Tit. ii. 14. ' Psal. xix. 7. 

•» Ezck. xxxiii. 1 1. 



(26 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

liveye^/' So Ezek. xiv. 6. iii. 18— 21. Isa. xxxi. 6 ILx. 20, 
21. Jer. iii. 7, 14. xviii. 8. xxvi. 3. Prov. i. 23. " Turn 
ye at my reproofs, and I will pour out my Spirit unto you ;" 
Hos. V. 4. xii. 6. Joel ii. 12. " Turn ye to me with all your 
hearts, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning ; rend your 
hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your 
God ; Jonah iii. 8. An hundred such places might be brought 
in which it is apparent, that the turning of sinners to God, 
is the main scope of the holy Scriptures. 

3. It is as certain, that it is the very business that the 
ministers of the gospel are appointed to, to convert men to 
God by the faith of Jesus Christ. And is it likely that God 
would send us to trouble the world with a needless work? 
For my part, if I did not know that repentance and conver- 
sion are absolutely necessary to the glory of God's grace 
and saving of the sinner, I should be loath to trouble my- 
self and others so much about such matters as 1 do. Who 
could find in his heart to study, and preach, and weary him- 
self, and vex the world, and call men to such unwelcome 
duties, and preach to them such unpleasant truths, and set 
them upon works that are so hard to flesh and blood, and 
put them upon so many sufferings in the world, if all this 
were for a needless thing ? John Baptist began to preach 
repentance ; Christ followed him in preaching repentance, 
and tells them, " except they repent, they shall all perish °." 
The apostles follow him in preaching the same repentance, 
^s that without which there is no salvation p. They tell us, 
*' God commandeth all men everywhere to repent *i." PauFs 
business was, " to shew all men that they must repent and 
turn to God, and do works meet for repentance "■." And " to 
open men's eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and 
the power of satan to God, that they may receive remission 
of sins, and an inheritance among the sanctified by faith in 
Christ \" As Christ himself came to " call sinners to re- 
pentance *," so doth he send his ministers on the same er- 
rand ; and after all his sufferings, he will give men pardon 
on no other terms. But " repentance and remission of sins 
must be preached in his name among all nations "." Mark 

n Ezek. xviii. 23, 30—32. ® Luke xiii. 3, 5. p Acts ii. 38. viii. 22. 

1 Acts xvii. 30. ' Acts xxvi. 20. « Acts ixvi. 18. 

« Matt. ix. 13, u Luke xxiv. 46, 47. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSIOK. 127 

the way of gospel-preaching and salvation : " The God of 
our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a 
tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a 
Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and for- 
giveness of sins ''^ Repentance in order before forgiveness. 
When men turn from sin, God turneth from his punishing 
wrath ; but not before. God hath " granted to the gentiles 
repentance unto life y." The sum of Paul's doctrine was, 
** Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus 
Christ^." For this do God's ministers " instruct in meek- 
ness them that oppose themselves, if God peradventure 
will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the 
truth, that they may recover themselves out of the snare 
of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will*;" 
and 2 Pet. iii. 9. it is said, that " God is not willing that 
any should perish, but that all should come to repent- 
ance ;" which plainly implieth, that if they come not to re- 
pentance, they must perish for all that. And therefore re- 
pentance is one of the fundamentals, and preaching repent- 
ance is laying the foundation, as appeareth, Heb. vi. 1 . And he 
that is grown uncurable, and remediless by apostasy, is said 
to be one that " cannot be renewed by repentance ^. Which 
supposeth that there can be no other way of renewing. And 
a desperate man is one that " findeth no place for repent- 
ance *=." And in the godly, all the fruits of holiness are 
made the " fruits of repentance ^." 

4. The very providence of God in mercy and affliction, 
are purposely to bring sinners to repentance. And there- 
fore certainly, " Repentance is necessary to salvation *." 
" Despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbear-^ 
ance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of 
God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness 
and impenitent heart, treasurest up to thy self wrath against 
the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment 
of God ^" If conversion were not necessary to salvation, 
God would not make so much ado by affliction and mercy 
to bring us to it. 

« Acts V. 30, 31. y Acts xi. 18. * Acts xx. 21. 

a 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. *» Heb. vi. 6. «^ Heb. xii. 17. 

«« 2 Cor.vii.9— 11. " * Rom. ii. 4. 'Rev. ix. 20. xvi. 9, 11. 



128 T'REATISE OF CONVERSION. 

5. God makes it the duty even of every man in hi« 
place, to do all that he can for the conversion of others : 
and this he would never do, if there were another way to 
salvation. " They that turn many to righteousness shall 
shine as the stars for ever and ever ^" James saith, " If any 
of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him 
know, that he that converteth a sinner from the error of his 
ways, shall save a soul from death, and cover a multitude of 
sins s/' And David promiseth, if God would pardon and 
restore him, that he "will teach transgressors his way, that 
sinners may be converted to him **." So that, lay all this 
now together, and judge whether it be likely that God would 
have set all the world on work for the conversion of sinners, 
if there had been any other way to save them. Should 
Christ himself have come upon this errand ? Should the 
word of God be written to this end ? Should all the pro- 
phets, apostles, and ministers of the Gospel be sent on this 
message ? Should all mercies, and all afflictions be directed 
to this use ? Should it be made the duty of every Chris- 
tian to endeavour it ? If men could be saved without con- 
version, by any other way ? Doubtless the case is plain, it 
should not be. 

I beseech you therefore, let this be received by you as 
an unquestionable truth : make no halt or doubt in the bu- 
siness ; shift it not off with foolish cavils ; but ground it 
even in the bottom of your heart, that without true conver- 
sion, there is no hope of salvation. 

You have as good proof of it as you can desire of any 
truth in the world. Yea, besides all that I have said, it 
is a thing that in general is confessed by heathens, and 
discerned even by the light of nature. They that will 
not believe in Christ, will confess the necessity of re- 
pentance and reformation, which yet cannot be wrought 
without faith in Christ. Though I know there is a great 
deal more necessary to this work, yet I should think I had 
done something to-day, if you would but all go home 
resolved without all doubt of the truth of my text : and 
would never more think that there is any other way to sal- 
vation, besides conversion. For certainly, if you were 
once well resolved, that you must every man of you be con- 

f Dan. xii. 3. f James v. 19, 20. •• Psal. li. 13. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 129 

verted, or condemned, you would look a little better about 
you than most do. At least this would destroy your de- 
ceiving hopes and presumption, and make you see what is 
yet to be done, and would much help to prepare you for a 
further work. And that none of you may say another day, 
that you never heard or knew the truth, I do here solemnly 
proclaim it to you all in the name of Christ, that there is no 
hope of salvation without true conversion. And I have 
fully proved it to you from the word of God. So that if 
ever a man or woman that is here before the Lord this day, 
shall yet dare to live in an unconverted state, you are left 
without a cloak for your sin. You shall not be able to tell 
the Lord atjudgment, that you never heard or knew so much. 
If he ask any of you at that day, how it came to pass that 
you turned not to God, nor sought after converting grace, 
and how you could ever think to look God in the face with- 
out conversion ? you shall not be able to say, ' We lived 
under a minister that never told us of it ; we thought we 
might have done well enough without it, and some particu- 
lar repentance might have served the turn.' The truth hath 
shone this day in your eyes : you have heard what Christ 
saith, and what his apostles say, and what is the drift of all 
the Scripture. If yet you will believe that a man may be 
saved without conversion, it is your wilful obstinacy and un- 
belief that maketh you think it : you must wink hard, and 
draw the curtains of carnal security about your ears, if in 
the midst of this day-light you will sleep as in the night of 
former darkness. 

Quest. But are there not many in the world that need no 
conversion, even from their infancy ? Doth not God rege- 
nerate men by baptism, or at least before, which baptism 
sealeth ; or at least by Christian education in their infancy ? 
And what need have these of after conversion ? 

Jlnsw. To this I shall answer briefly, but plainly, in 
these propositions following : 1. No doubt but God doth 
pardon original sin to multitudes of infants by the blood of 
Christ, through the covenant of grace, which is made to 
the faithful, and their seed. And being thus pardoned, they 
may be truly said to be new creatures, or regenerate rela- 
tively. And this pardon bestowed by the covenant, is seal- 
ed by baptism, which solemnly couferreth it. 2. It is most 

VOL. VII. K 



J30 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

probable that God doth also make some change on the 
hearts of infants, secretly giving them some seed of inward 
grace before, or in their baptism. 3. It is certain, that 
sometimes before their death, he doth give this Spirit to 
elect infants, according to their capacity, and thereby fit 
them for glory. I mean those that die in infancy. 4. Holy 
education of parents may be a means through God's bless- 
ing, of actual converting those that were before but semi- 
nally changed, yea, and of those that were not. And if pa- 
rents did their duty first in a believing dedication of their 
children to God by baptism, and then in a careful bringing 
them up in his fear ; it is most certain, that this would be 
the most ordinary age and season of regeneration and sanc- 
tification to life. For God would not be wanting to his 
own ordinances used in faith by his own people. He did 
not appoint them in vain, neither hath he given them a pre- 
cept without a promise. 5. If any one did receive the seed 
of true grace in their infa?icy, it will certainly appear in a 
holy life, even from their infancy upwards. And therefore 
there is the same work done in the hearts of such as were 
converted in infancy, and after were brought up in the fear 
of God, as I have before described to you in the truly con- 
verted. If any man did but live one year, or month, or 
week of his childhood after he had the use of reason, in a 
state utterly graceless, that man hath no reason to take the 
least comfort now to himself, upon any conceit that he was 
regenerate in his infancy. If he have from his childhood 
unfeignedly loved God above all, and been heavenlymind- 
ed, and hated sin, and delighted in all holiness, and feared 
God, and repented of all known sin, and laboured to subdue 
it, and had the rest of the marks of grace in his heart, then 
he may be sure that he was sanctified betime. But if any 
man have lived to the world or the flesh but one month, 
since his infant state, never minding the life to come, nor 
loving the holy ways of God, nor hating iniquity, he may 
be sure that he must have another conversion, than any he 
had in his infancy, or it will not serve his turn for heaven. 
An infant- conversion may serve for an infant state of salva- 
tion ; but he that hath after that lived to sin, must have an 
actual conversion, as he was actually a sinner. And if he 
had grace in infancy, he must have the same working of it 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 131 

toward God and heaven, which in the work of conversion I 
described before. So that I do not call you to judge of 
your state by the time or manner of your change, so much 
as by the matter or thing itself. Find all that work upon 
your judgments, heart, and life, which I have before laid 
down, and be sure it is there, and then, whensoever you 
came by it, you are happy. But if it be not now there, it is 
a silly delusion, to glory in the conceits of an infant-bap- 
tismal change. Yet I doubt not but there is many a true 
Christian, who hath received this grace so early, that they 
have the greater cause to be for ever thankful for it to God. 

So much for the confirmation of the point. That cer- 
tainly this work of conversion is necessary to all that will 
be saved. One time or other the image of God must be 
imprinted on the heart, and in those at age expressed in 
the life. 

II. I am next, according to the method propounded, to 
give you the reasons of it. Why a man cannot enter into 
the kingdom of heaven except he be converted. The case 
is so clear, that we may easily see reason for it, if we be 
willing to see. 

1. If there were no other reason apparent to us but the 
word of God, one would think it might satisfy such as we. 
Heaven is his own, and he may give it to whom he will, and 
he hath told us in his word, that he will give it to no other, 
and should not that suffice us ? May not he do with his 
own as he list ? It is his hand that must set on the crown ; 
and may not he set it on what head he please ? We are 
sure of these two things : I. That God hath full power to 
dispose of it, and therefore can do no wrong to others by 
denying it. 2. And that he is infinitely wise, and good, 
and just, and therefore it must needs be the wisest and best 
way that he takes, though such dark sinners as we could 
not see the wisdom, or the goodness, or justice of it. Do 
you grudge at this doctrine, that none shall be saved but 
those who are converted? Why, then you grudge at God. 
And do you think indeed that he knoweth not what he 
doth ? Are you wiser than he ? or are you more righteous 
than he ? What ! must the God of heaven come down to 
you to learn wisdom, or justice, or mercy? Will you ques- 
tion him at the bar of judgment, and ask him why he doth 



132 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

SO ? Will you charge him with injustice, or unmercifulness, 
and say, * Lord, why art thou so unmerciful as to condemn 
all the unconverted? O poor fools ! (for so I dare call you 
that dare so far presume) how easily will God answer you, 
and justify his wisdom, his justice, and his mercy. It is a 
fine world, when the Creator must be judged at the bar of a 
silly creature ! What ! if a fly or a flea could speak, should 
it expostulate the case with God, that he made him not a 
man ? or should a toad, or a snake, reprove him of injustice 
for making him such, that never had sinned ? or tell him that 
this is an act of unmercifulness ? How much less should a 
wretched sinner, that hath done so much wrong to the Lord 
that made him, that hath refused his grace by which he 
would have saved him, presume to open his mouth against 
God, and tell him after all this, that if he condemn him, he 
is unmerciful. But more of this anon. 

Sirs, I tell you my religion, and my resolution. I believe 
all that God saith to be true, though the matter were never 
so much beyond my reach. And of this I am so confident, 
that I will venture my soul upon it. I have looked up and 
down to see if there be any better and surer grounds for a 
wise man to venture his happiness upon, and I can find no 
better : nay, I am sure there is no better. If any man have 
found any better, let him take it, and make his boast of the 
gain when he hath it. For my part, I will take God's word, 
and I will trust my soul and hopes on this, and I will look 
for satisfaction of all my doubts and scruples, when I come 
to possess the promised felicity. And I am sure I can lose 
nothing, or no great matter by this resolution. For sure I 
am that all other happiness is a shadow and delusion : and 
all other foundations are sandy, and will deceive. If God 
tell me in his word, that " no man shall be saved except he 
be converted," I will take his word, and let them look well 
to their standing that do refuse it. I will set this word of 
God against all the reasons in the world that you can bring. 
Well, you say it is a hard saying, that so few should be 
saved : will you say you cannot believe that God will deal 
so hardly ? Against all these vain cavils I set the word of 
God. God hath said it, and will he not do it ? 

2. Well, but if we must needs go farther, to reasoning 
the case with you, and God's word will not satisfy you, I 



TRKATISE OF CONVERSION. 133 

will proceed to shew you some nearer reasons from the na- 
ture of the thing. And the first of these reasons shall be 
from the nature of God's government, and the state of men 
in this present life. We are set here as in the way to a fur- 
ther end. God never intended that this should be our home, 
nor that we should have the victory without a combat, nor 
the crown without the victory. God never meant that we 
should have the wages of his glory, how free soever, without 
a faithful performing of our work ; at least the work of un- 
feigned repentance and conversion. Would you have God 
reward men for serving the devil ? Or to say at the last day, 
*Corae, sinner, thou hast lived to the devil all thy life, and 
set thy heart on the world, and abused or despised me and 
my grace, enter now into the promised glory.' Why, sinners, 
if self-love did not blind you, and make fools of you, you 
could tell that this were a sentence unfit for the most wise 
and righteous God. What ! must he reward the devil's ser- 
vants ? Shall not the Judge of all the world do righteously • ? 
And what is righteousness, but to give every man his due? 
And is not punishment naturally due to the disobedient ? 
Especially when they have refused, or set light by a pardon. 
Sirs, the case is plain. A wise and righteous governor, let 
him be never so merciful, must make a difference between the 
righteous and the wicked. And therefore God will so do. 
" A righteous judge must pass sentence according to the 
law ''." Tell me, would you think well of that governor, 
that should let men rob you, or beat you, or violently take 
possession of your house or land, and never punish him? 
And will you think that God will put up infinitely greater 
injury at your hands ? Would you like such a law, that 
shall bid all men steal, and kill, and spare not, for the judge 
will not be so cruel as to hang or punish them ? I think you 
would say, this were but a foolish and unmerciful judge, 
that pretended thus to be merciful. Do not then for shame 
impute this folly and unrighteousness to God. If he should 
not have made righteous laws, which threaten punishment 
to sin, for the restraining of it, how should the world be 
governed? And if he should make laws, and never execute 
them, how should he be wise and righteous ? He is not so 
weak as to be put to govern the world by mere deceit. It 

• Gen. xviii. v5. ^ Mai. Hi. 18. 



134 TREATISE OF CON VERSION. 

belongeth to a righteous governor, to see that it go well 
with the good, and ill with the bad ; ' ut bonis bene sit, et 
malis male.' And I think if God should deal so well with 
the worst as with the best, your own reason would be ready 
to question it. Why, what can he do more to the best, than 
to save them in his glory, for what more are they capable 
of? And should he do this also to the worst? And sure, 
if he must shut them out of glory, they must need be in 
misery. For if there were no more, but to look towards the 
happiness which they so lost, and see Lazarus in Abraham's 
bosom, and the righteous whom they derided, possessing 
that glory which they set light by, it must needs fill their 
minds with anguish and vexation ; and their own consci- 
ences would torment them for ever. Well, you see then 
some reason why the unconverted should not enter into the 
kingdom of heaven. 

3. But further consider this. The holy nature of God will 
not permit the unclean and unholy soul in his presence. 
" There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, 
or whatsoever worketh abomination ^" ** Thou art of purer 
eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity "V* 
" For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, 
neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not 
stand in thy sight, thou hatest all the workers of iniquity. 
The righteous Lord loveth righteousness; but the wicked his 
soul hateth "" " Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in 
judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righte- 
ous °." " For God shall judge the world in righteousness, 
and minister judgment to the people in uprightness. And 
he is known by the judgment which he executeth, when the 
wicked is snared in the work of his own hand. So that the 
wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that for- 
get God ^.' ^What reason would you have more ? There is 
a contradiction between the nature of God and the uncon- 
verted. " What fellowship hath righteousness with unrigh- 
teousness, and what communion hath light with dark- 
ness^?" Therefore it is that God also putteth an " enmity 
between the seed of the woman, and of the serpent ^" And 

» Rev. xxi. a7. «" Hab. i. 13. « PsaJ. v. 4. xi. 5. 

o PsaK i. 5. P Psal. ix. 8. 16, 17. 'i 2 Cor. vi. 14. 

' Gen.iii. 15. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 135 

calleth his converted people to come out from the impeni- 
tent unbelieving world ; not by a schismatical, but by a 
godly separation. " For what concord hath Christ with 
Belial ? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel ? 
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? 
For ye are the temple of the living God ; as God hath said, I 
will dwell in them, and walk in them ; and I will be their 
God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out 
from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord 5 and 
touch not the unclean thing ; and he will receive you, and 
be a father to you ^" If God himself could endure com- 
munion with the unholy, then he would allow his people to 
endure it. But because they are his, and must be like him, 
therefore must they withdraw from such. Sinners, I pray 
you judge as you would be judged of. Would you have 
communion yourselves with that which is against your na- 
ture ? Would you be tied to feed upon toads or snakes, or 
to put them in your bosom, or lay them in bed with you ? 
or if a toad could speak, would it be a reasonable argument 
to say. Why art thou so unmerciful as to refuse my company 
or thus to abhor me, and cast me away ? Why, the holy 
nature of God is infinitely more against unholy sinners, a& 
such, than your nature is against the most venomous toad. 
And therefore he cannot admit the unconverted into his 
kingdom. Therefore it is, that he will redeem and sanctify 
them, and cleanse them from their sin, that they may be pre- 
sented spotless and unblamable to him by Christ, before 
they shall come to glory *. Believe it, sinners, light and 
darkness, holiness and unholiness, God and sin, are utterly 
unreconcilable. If ever God and you must live together in 
glory, you must become holy as he is holy, that you may 
be such as he can dwell withal, and delight in. Either he 
must turn unholy like you, or you must turn holy like him. 
And which do you think is the more likely to be done ? 
Can you expect that the Sun of righteousness should turn 
dark to comply with your darkness ? or that the immutable 
God should lay by his excellency, to suit himself with your 
vileness ? Why, this were for God to cease to be God. For 
to be an unholy God, is to be an evil God, and this is to be 
no God. For to be God, is to be the chiefest good. See 

• « Cor. vi. 1*— le. » £phe». v. 26, «7. 



136 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

then what a fair issue the carnal reasonings, and confident 
hopes of wicked men have. They hope to be saved without 
conversion and holiness. And the issue is this, they hope 
that God will cease to be God, lest they should be damned 
and shut out of his kingdom. Do not say I make worse of 
your reasoning than it is. The case is plain, it is no better. 
And I appeal to thy own conscience, whether the brains of 
a man be capable of greater madness. O sirs, what a be- 
fooling thing is sin ! Is it not more reasonable that thou 
shouldst cease to be ungodly, than that God should cease 
his blessed nature ? There is some possibility yet that thou 
mayst cease to be a wilful impenitent sinner. But there is 
no possibility that God should cease to be God. Woe to 
thee, if thou ^ast thy soul upon such hopes. Should God 
cease his goodness and blessed perfection, all the world 
would be confounded, or turn to nothing. Turn, therefore, 
for be sure of it, he will not turn to thee. He hath com- 
manded his servants, that they come not one jot nearer the 
wicked. " Let them return to thee, but return not thou to 
them "." And will he then do that which he forbiddeth his 
servants ? Many a sinner hath thought that God is like 
himself, even of his mind, and thought as lightly of sin as 
.they, Psal. 1. But they never found it so in the end. He 
did, by wonderful incomprehensible condescension, become 
man to save sinners, but he will never become a sinner to 
save sinners ; nor unholy to save the unholy. He took our 
flesh, and he took our curse, and in that sense became sin 
for us, who knew no sin ; but he will never take to him sin 
itself. He is yet reconcilable to sinners, but he will never 
be reconcilable to sin. Yet, if thou wilt turn to him, thou 
mayst be welcome ; but never look he should turn like 
thee ! 

4. And do you not yet see reason enough, why no uncon- 
verted sinner should be saved ? Why come along with me, 
and I will shew you yet more. God offered them salvation in 
this life, for the very taking. I may well say upon easy and 
reasonable terms, when it was no more but accept it, and 
have it ; and they would not. It was propounded to their 
choice, and they refused it. They might have had Christ, 
and pardon, and holiness, and happiness if they would, and 

" Jcr. XV. 19. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 137 

they would not : and would you have God to save them, 
whether they will or no? He set life and death before 
them, and bids them choose life, that they might live^. 
He set before them blessing and cursing, and denounced to 
them, that they should certainly perish if their hearts turned 
away, and they would not hear. He called heaven and 
earth to record against them ^ : and he sent his Son, his 
apostles to them, to entreat them, and in his name to be- 
seech them to turn to him, and to be reconciled ^; he charg- 
ed us to be " instant with them, in season, and out of sea- 
son '';" and " to reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffer- 
ing and doctrine ;" as suitors that would take no nay. He 
bids us even " compel them to come in *";" and yet they 
would not come, we could not prevail. Some would make 
excuses from one thing, and some from another : some had 
their farms, and some their trades, and some their wives, 
and all their sins to regard ; they could not have while to 
be converted and fear God : and some set light by us and 
our message '^ : and some did openly oppose it, and contra- 
dicting the truth and cavilling at it, as if they were wiser 
than to be converted and saved ; as if they had more reason 
than to come in to God that called them, and accept of his 
salvation ; and therefore even scorned the Holy word and 
way of God, that should have saved them. Sirs, to our 
heart's grief we must witness it against the face of thousands 
of our poor hearers, that this was the true case, and thus 
things were carriedbetween God and them : Christ called out 
to them when he was on earth, even with tears, and bids us 
do the like with tears now in his stead. " Oh, that thou 
hadst known at least in this thy day, the things that belong 
to thy peace!" but they would not, till they were hid from 
their eyes, and it was too late **. " How often would I 
have gathered thee, as a hen gathereth her chickens under 
her wings, and ye would not^." Sinners, I beseech you, 
let not sin and flesh befool you, to make you fly in the face 
of God, instead of returning to him at his call. Can you 
think that God is unjust or unmerciful, that would have 
given you heaven, and you would not accept of it ? If he 

" Deut. XXX. 19. y Deut. xxx. 17—19. * 2 Cor. v. 20. 

> 2 Tim. iv. f. * Matt. xxii. 9. Luke xiv. 23. 

c M att. xxii. V. <> Luke xix. 41, 42. « Matt, xxiii. 37. 



138 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

deny you that everlastingly, which you would not accept of, 
can you blame him or yourselves ? I know what some 
hearts will be ready to imagine : you will say, * I was wil- 
ling to be saved, and therefore this is nothing to me/ But 
were you willing to take salvation as it was offered ? If not, 
you may as well say plainly, you will have none of it ; for 
you shall have none of it upon any other terms. You would 
have had mercy by the halves and not in whole. You would 
have picked out that part of salvation, which pleased you, 
and left the rest. God would have saved you from the 
guilt and power of sin, from hell, and from unholiness ; and 
you would have but one of these, without the other : or 
would have been saved from hell and all other punishments ; 
but you would not be sanctified and brought near to God, 
and taken off from this world, and set your hearts on the 
world to come : and you knew, or might know, that God 
would not halve and part his salvation : you shall have all, 
or you shall have none. If you will keep sin, you shall 
keep the curse with it : if you will keep the serpent, you 
shall have the sting and venom with it. If you will not 
take Christ for your master, as well as your Saviour, and be 
ruled by him, when his yoke is so easy, and his burden so 
light, never look to find rest to your souls ^ If you will 
not be converted, you may as well speak out, and say plain- 
ly you will not be saved : for it is all one. He that saith, 
he will not eat and drink, may as well say he will not live : 
and he that will not take the physic, may as well say, he 
will not be cured. Sirs, if Christ, and grace, and glory 
had never been offered to you, nor you had any means to 
have brought you to the knowledge of him, then you had 
had some excuse. As Christ saith, John xv. 22. " If I had 
not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin, but 
now they have no cloak for their sin." If we had not in 
Christ's name entreated you to return, and offered you sal- 
vation, you had some excuse. But now, what can you rea- 
sonably say ? I dare challenge the reason of all the world, 
to answer this one reason, by which God will prove, that 
the unconverted should be condemned. It is reason, that 
he that would not have heaven upon such reasonable terms 
as Christ did tender it him, should for ever be shut out. 

' Matt. xi. 27—^9. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 139 

What will you say to this, when God shall question thee, 
and say, * What sayst thou, sinner, did not I freely offer 
thee my grace and salvation?' Do you believe you shall 
have the face at the day of judgment, to tell Christ he is un- 
merciful if he damn you, when he shall tell you, that he 
would often have gathered you to him, as a hen gathereth 
her chickens under her wings, and ye would not? Will not 
that one word stop thy mouth for ever ? What dost thou 
complain of, man ? Is it for want of mercy? Why, what 
tenderer mercy wouldst thou have had ? "I would have 
gathered thee as the hen, &c." Sinners, I witness to you 
this day, that God, and angels, and men shall judge of you, 
that if you be thrust into hell, it is because you would not 
be saved ; and it is not because God was cruel to you, but 
because you were cruel and unmerciful to yourselves. I 
tell you this will prove true at the last. 

5. If all these reasons do not satisfy you, I will shew you 
more, and such as methinks should satisfy any man on 
earth, that the unconverted cannot be saved. Even because 
it is an impossible thing. It is a flat contradiction. Why, 
conversion is part of salvation here, and the perfection of it 
is an higher part hereafter. Why, sirs, sin is the soul's 
sickness, and wound, and death ; and grace and holiness is its 
health and life : and were not that man a fool, that expecteth 
you should make him well, and not remove his sickness ? 
And cure his wounds, and never heal or close them ? Or 
make a dead man alive, and yet let him be dead still ? Why, 
it is as great a contradiction and impossibility for a man to 
be saved and not converted. What is it that we must be 
saved from, but sin and hell? And there is no saving from 
hell but by saving from sin. "He shall save his people 
from their sins ^." Do you know what the salvation is that 
God hath promised us in glory? Why it is this; that we 
should be perfectly freed from all sin, and have the image of 
his holiness perfected on our souls : that we shall be per- 
fectly in love with God, and perfectly beloved of him, and 
live in the sight of his majesty, and fill ourselves with the 
view of his pleased face, and breathe out his praise with the 
heavenly host for e\ er. Doth such a heaven as this is like 
you? or doth it not? If it do not, you must have none ; for 

•• Matt. i. 21. 



140 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

there is no other, except you will call an alehouse or an 
whorehouse, or other sensual pleasures your heaven. But 
if you will have this heaven which God doth offer you, you 
may easily see that it cannot be had without conversion. 
Can you be saved from sin, and yet keep it? Can you be 
perfected in holiness, and yet be unholy ? Can you live in 
the everlasting love of God, and have no true love to him at 
all? Can you delight in him, and yet have no delight in 
him, but be weary of him, and delight in your worldly vani- 
ties more ? Well, sinners ! I think I need to say no more. 
The contradiction is so evident, that you may as well say, 
' I will be saved, and I will not,' as to say, ' I will be saved, 
but not converted.' 

But perhaps some vain caviller will say, ' It is true, we 
cannot be glorified without conversion and holiness, but 
God might have given us that in another world, though he 
change us not here.' 

Answ. But do you not know, that this life is the appoint- 
ed time of working, and running, and fighting for the crown ? 
The life to come is the time of reward, and of your receiving 
the prize that here you run for. Would you have God help 
you in your race, when you are past it, and your time is 
gone? Or contrary to wisdom and governing justice, to 
confound the way and the end, this life and that to come? 
You may with far more wisdom expect, that when you have 
loitered till the sun be set, God should call it back again, 
at your desire, that you may have daylight to work by. He 
gave thee time, and gave thee warning to use it while thou 
hadst it ; and told thee, " this was the accepted time, this 
was the day of salvation \" And to trifle out this time, and 
then to think that God should give thee both grace and 
glory in that life, where he hath resolved only to perfect 
grace in glory, and crown those that have overcome on 
earth. This is such folly in so great a business, as I desire 
no friend of mine may be guilty of. 

Object. * But it is our ignorance of God that maketh us 
unholy ; and therefore when death hath opened our eyes, 
as we shall know him better, so we shall the more love him 
according to that knowledge ; and so we shall be sanctified. 

» 2 Ck)r. vi. 2. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 141 

And God cannot but love those that love him ; and there- 
fore they w^ill be saved. 

Answ. It is not all knowledge of God, that will cause a 
love to him. If you know him as excellent, and yet as your 
enemy, and one that standeth resolved everlastingly to pu- 
nish you, this will provoke no love to him, but hatred. The 
dignity and worth of an enemy may be some matter of ad- 
miration to us, and of reverence, but not of such love as may 
tend to fruition. It is inseparable from your natures to love 
yourselves ; and therefore you will love that which you 
think is for your good, and hate that which you think is 
against you, and tends to your destruction. You will then 
find that your damnation was part of God's righteous go- 
vernment of the world : and that the whole work of govern- 
ment, was one inseparable frame, begun by legislation, and 
finished by judgment and execution : and that God will no 
more break the frame of government, than he will the frame 
of nature : nor so much. For that he may do when he 
please, though he will do it rarely, but this his own perfec- 
tion is against. So that when you see God, as it were 
obliged everlastingly to destroy you, you cannot close in 
love with him, as your friend or chiefest good, as those do 
that enjoy him in the promised glory. 



CHAPTER ni. 



V. Having thus cleared the way, by shewing you the 
meaning, and the truth of the point in hand, I shall next 
come to the application of it to ourselves. 

Use I. And first, by way of inference you see from hence, 
that there is a kingdom of heaven to be obtained. It were in 
vain to talk who shall come thither, and who shall not, if there 
were no such thing to be had. Doubt not Christian, thou hast 
the word of the God of heaven for it. Challenge the tempter, 
if he would draw thee to doubting, to prove that ever the God 
of this word deceived any. If he would tempt thee to 
question, whether it be his word or not ; shew him upon it 
his image and superscription, with the seal of his manifold 
uncontroled miracles. And ask him what better evidence 



142 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

mortals can expect, unless they would have God, who can- 
not be seen, to walk among them, and speak to every parti- 
cular man. Oh ! that thou wouldst be true to God and thy- 
self, and then thou shalt find God will be true to thee. As 
sure as there is an earth for thee to tread on, and as sure as 
there is a sun whose light thou seest; so sure is there an 
heavenly everlasting glory, for every converted, persevering 
soul. There can be no better ground of assurance than the 
word of God. I know, that man, whilst he is in this flesh, 
is strange to things beyond his sense, and hath a natural de- 
sire to have his senses themselves to be the inlets of his 
knowledge ; and therefore he is apt to., think that either he 
is uncertain of ajl that he seeth not, (unless he hath seen the 
like that may help him to understand it) ; or else that his 
knowledge of it, is as no knowledge ; but this is a weakness 
unworthy of a man. What if you had never seen London, 
or any such city, and should hear the glory of it described 
by others ; would you think it uncertain that there is such a 
place, because you have not seen it? Nay, further, you 
have not seen your souls, do you think il therefore uncertain 
whether you have a soul or no ? A man that is born blind 
did never see the sun, and yet he will not doubt whether 
there be a sun, when all the world about him telleth him so : 
and shall not the word of God be taken as soon as the word 
of a man? You never saw God himself, and yet it is the 
grossest error in the world to think that there is no God, 
when we see every hour the works that he hath made ; and 
which we know could none of them make themselves : you 
see that which assureth you of the things that art; unseen. 
You see the word of God ; you see his works, and daily 
providences ; you see a divine testimony, the sufficient 
ground of your belief. Noah did not see the flood, when he 
laboured so many years in making the ark. But though the 
unbelieving world might deride him in the beginning, at the 
last the flood came and did convince them. " By faith 
Noah being warned of God, of things not seen as yet, moved 
with fear, prepared an ark, to the saving of his house ; by the 
which he condemned the world, and became heir of the 
righteousness, which is by faith ^." O, if the devil could 
once make you stagger at the truth of the promise, and 

^ Heb. xl. 7. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 143 

make you doubt whether there be a heaven and a hell, be- 
cause you see them not ; he might then delude you with the 
vanities which you do see* But when you believe it upon 
God's word, as verily as if you saw it, then you will be 
likely to be Christians indeed. Therefore the apostle bring- 
eth such proof of the doctrine of the resurrection, and when 
he hath done, he buildeth this exhortation upon it. 
" Wherefore my beloved brethren, be stedfast, unmovable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as 
you knowyour labour is not in vain in the Lord**." 

Use II. Having gone thus far with you, and shewed you 
that a kingdom of heaven there is j and that certainly none 
but the converted shall enter it : my next business is, to 
come nearer your hearts, and to inquire of, and beseech you 
to inquire of, yourselves, whether you are the converted 
heirs of this kingdom, or not? Sirs, you hear from the 
mouth of Christ himself, how the case standeth. He that 
spoke this will be your judge, and according to this word it 
is that he will judge you. Believe you not this? I hope 
you do believe it. Methinks now I should need to say no 
more to reasonable men, to warn them presently to enter 
into their own consciences, and try, and try again whether 
they are converted. But because that this is so necessary 
a work, I will tell you some of those reasons that should 
move you presently to set upon this trial : and shew you 
how desirable it is to be well resolved in this point. For I 
know that the devil will be such an enemy to it, and the 
heart so backward to it, that all we can say, is likely to be 
too little to bring the most, but to a faithful examination of 
their own souls. 

1. The first reason that moveth me to entreat you to try 
yourselves, is, the weight of the business in hand. A wise 
man may put a small thing to a venture, but he will not ven- 
ture all his estate, or liberty, or life, if he can help it. How 
much less should a wise man venture his soul ! Great 
things and eternal things should be made as sure of as we 
can. For a man to be in endless happiness or misery, is a 
matter that should not have one cold, or dull and careless 
thought : much less should it be ordinarily, or wholly made 
light of. 1 profess to you brethren, I wonder how you can 
•» 1 Cor. XT. olt. 



144 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

SO little regard the assurance of your conversion and salva- 
tion, as most of the v^rorld doth ! As if hell w^ere grown 
sufferable : or heaven grovv^n of smaller value ; and the glory 
of it did begin to fade. For, a man that is no heathen, but 
believeth that a departing soul goes some v^^hither, either to 
heaven or hell : methinks he should be willing to know 
whither it should go before it is gone. For, when it is once 
gone, it is past recalling. Methinks, as long as you are in 
much doubting of your salvation, this one thought should 
often be running in your mind : * What if I should not be 
converted or saved ? What a case were I then everlast- 
ingly in V Your hearts, it is like, do cherish some hopes 
that you are converted, and all shall be well enough with 
you when you die : O, but what if it should prove other- 
wise ? Methinks this one thought should even amaze you, 
whilst you are in that estate. For all my hopes, what if I 
should perish ? O, what wise man would put his everlasting 
salvation or damnation to the venture, if he could possibly 
get it out of doubt ? Therefore Sirs, I beseech you for the 
Lord's sake ; get alone again and again, and put this ques- 
tion to your own consciences, ' How can I tell that I am 
truly converted ?' And if you are ready to say, ' I hope it 
is so,' when you have nothing for these hopes, but because 
you would have it so ; call to your consciences for the proof 
of what they say, and do not take your own bare words. 
It is proof that must carry it, and not mere saying that you 
are converted. Ask therefore conseience, * How canst thou 
prove it? What canst thou shew that will evidence a con- 
version, more than unsanctified persons may shew V And 
I pray you, see that you be not put off too easily, and take 
not every gloss for evidence ; but in a matter of such con- 
sequence, see that you deal faithfully, and go to the very 
quick : alas ! almost all the comfort of your lives lieth upon 
it : and your everlasting salvation lieth upon it ; which is 
much more. 

2. Another reason, which makes me the more earnestly 
desire that you would try, whether you are truly converted, or 
not, is, because all men by nature are children of wrath, and 
need conversion, and the greatest part of the world do live 
and die in their natural state, and never come to be truly 
converted. Seeing therefore, that it is a thing that every 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 145 

one must have that will be saved, and yet most men gb 
without it, and therefore are damned, should it not waketi 
you to examine, whether you are of the number of those 
that are converted, yea or nay ? If it were a needless thing 
that might be spared without your undoing ; or if it were a 
thing that every body hath, or that almost all, or most have ; 
you might be the more secure ; but it is not so. What need 
we more proof than God's express word ? ** The gate is 
strait, and the way narrow, and few there be that find it *=." 
And common experience seconding this word of God. Do 
you see that most men are converted, and such as I before 
described to you ? O that it were so ! But we shall speak 
more of this towards the end. Will any man that hath not 
lost his senses, now stand cavilling, and quarrelling that so 
few should be saved, instead of making sure of his own sal- 
vation ? The reason that there are so few, is, because they 
will not be saved upon God's terms. And if you will take 
their course, and quarrel with the gracious word and ways 
of God, instead of submitting to them, you will speed as 
they, and be carried down the stream for company. But 
those that care for their souls, will take warning by other 
mep's miscarriages, and be awakened to make sure. 

3. Another reason that should move you to examine, 
whether you be indeed converted or not, is, because the 
want of this is one of the greatest causes why so few come 
to be converted, and to be saved. Nothing doth more keep 
a man from turning back again, when he hath lost his way, 
than when he doth not know that he hath lost it : and how 
can he know, that wandereth in the night, and will not in- 
quire and ask the way, or that is so wilful and self-conceited, 
that he will not believe any man that telleth him he hath 
lost his way? As long as he is of this mind, he will never 
turn again. So is it with most of the careless world : they 
are going into the way of worldliness or vainglory, and live 
to the flesh, which is clean contrary to the way to heaven, 
and yet they will not once seriously ask a minister, or ask 
any one that can inform them, whether that be the way or 
not? Or whether they shall ever come to heaven in that 
way ? But they trudge on after their fleshly business, as if 
they had no tongue in their heads ; or as if it were not 

« Malt. vii. 14. 
VOL. VIJ. L 



140 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

worth the asking, to know whether they were in the way to 
heaven or hell. Surely, if men will not so much as inquire, 
or consider with themselves, and examine their way by the 
word of God, to see whether they are right or wrong, they 
are never like to be saved. If you, that never had this great 
cure done upon your souls, did but know so much, you 
would not rest sure, till it were done. You could not lie 
down quietly, nor rise quietly : you could not eat or drink, 
or sleep quietly. Tell me, ever a man or woman of you : could 
you be quiet, if you were sure that you were yet unconverted, 
and in a state, that if death should find you in, you must be 
damned? If you knew this by yourselves, how could you 
choose but get presently to God on your knees in secret, and 
cry out, * Help Lord, or I am everlastingly undone ! O forgive 
me, and change my heart and life, or else I am a lost man and 
woman for ever !' How could you choose, if you knew 
yourselves unconverted, but follow God with your prayers 
day and night till he had changed your hearts. You could 
not sit at home, but you would go to the ministers, and to 
experienced Christians, and ask them for some help, and ad- 
vice for your salvation. But, when men think all is well 
with them, who can expect that they should put themselves 
to so much trouble ? Or seek much to God or man for cure, 
or make any great matter of the greatest misery ? I do not 
fear any one thing more, to make me lose all this labour, 
and leave many of you after all this, unconverted, than this 
conceit that you are already converted, when you are not. 
This is it that is most like to hinder our work, and to undo 
your souls. And therefore for the Lord's sake, sirs, deny 
me not this one request, to take a little pains to try 
whether you are converted. " For if any man think he is 
something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself." 

4. Another reason that should make you never rest till 
you know that you are converted, is, because of the many 
exceeding benefits that the true knowledge of this one thing 
would afford you. For the truly converted, holding on to 
the death, shall certainly be saved. O sirs, if you had but 
this assurance once, you might live quietly, and abound 
with comforts ! You might lie down, and nothing make 
you afraid : you might rejoice in the mercies of the Lord, 
as the tokens of his love ; and bear his rod with greater 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 147 

peace, as being the chastisement of a father. Had you but 
this assurance once, you might hear and read the word with 
comfort ; and when you come to the promises, say, ' These 
are mine :' you might secretly and publicly pray with com- 
fort, " and have access with boldness to the throne of grace' :'* 
you might run to God when any thing aileth you, and call 
him your Father in confidence of his acceptance : you might 
gladly feast with the saints in the holy communion of the 
church : you might cheerfully sing God's praises, and glory 
in the thoughts of his great salvation. And when you are 
dying, you might look to heaven as your home, " and long 
to be dissolved and to be with Christ ^" And might joyful- 
ly let go your departing souls, and say as Christ, " Father, 
into thy hand I commend my spirit." O sirs, what a blessed 
life is this, when a man can look upon every thing with com- 
fort ! If he look on the godly, he can say, * They are my 
brethren :' if on the wicked, he can say, * I am delivered 
from their sad estate.' If he look on any of the mercies 
which he possesseth, he can say, * They are the fruits of the 
blood of Christ, and the tokens of his Father's love.' If on 
his poverty or want, he can say, ' My greater wants are sup- 
plied, and these prepare for the everduring riches.' If he 
look on the law, he can say, * It hath nothing against him,' 
because he hath pardon through him that hath borne the 
curse. If on the Gospel, he can rejoice in it, as the glad 
tidings of his salvation. If he look on the threatening, he 
can say, ' It reacheth not a pardoned sinner :' if on the pro- 
mise, he can say, * It is my charter for heaven.' If he look 
upward to heaven, he can say, * It is my own inheritance, 
thither I am going, and there I shall shortly be.' If he look 
downward, toward the place of torments, he can say, * From 
thence did grace deliver me.' If there were any terror to a 
man's soul, it would be in sin, and satan, and death, and 
hell, but none of these are matter of terror to him. Not sin, 
for it is pardoned, and mortified in part, and will be perfect- 
ly ere long. Not satan, for he is conquered, and cast out of 
his possession. Not death, for it hath lost its sting, and is 
become the passage into everlasting life. Not hell, for it 
will be our perpetual joy, to see that we are delivered from 
such everlasting torments. In a word, because he can say, 

•Heb. X. 19. Eph.iii. la. 'Phil.l.f3. 



148 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

* God is my Father, Christ is my Saviour and my Head, the 
Holy Ghost is my Sanctifier ;' therefore he can say, ** All is 
mine, as I am Christ's, and Christ is God's s." O sirs, what 
would you give ; nay, what would you not give, to be pre- 
sently put into such a condition ? Had you not as lief as have 
all the world now, that you were sure that you are convert- 
ed, and in this state of life? Sure, if you were well in your 
wits, you had. Who would care what becomes of the world, 
if he were once sure of heaven ? Or what become of his 
corruptible flesh, if he were sure it should go well with 
his soul, and that flesh itself should rise again to glory. O 
what a terrible thing it is, for a soul to go out of the body, 
and not know whither ! And how much more to depart un- 
d^r the curse of God ! From the damnation of the law, to 
the condemnation of the judge. But how blessed is it, to 
remove from the state of a frail and sinful man, to live with 
Christ, to be " equal with the angels ^" 

What say you now, beloved hearers ? Is there not weight 
enough in these reasons to persuade you to try whether you 
are converted or not? Dare you say there is not? If you 
dare not, you are witness yourselves that you are convinced. 
You see it is your duty ; or see it is necessary for your own 
good. Your labour will be small in comparison of the pro- 
fit : the loss will be nothing ; the commodity may be un- 
speakable. Shall I then as your minister beseech you pre- 
sently to fall to this work ? As a messenger of Christ shall 
I entreat it of you ? As a friend to your souls shall I entreat 
it of you? It is for yourselves : it is no unreasonable mat- 
ter, you see, that I ask of you. Conscience shall witness 
one day to the face of refusers, that it was not unreasonable. 
Neighbours, I pray you for the Lord's sake, and for your 
soul's sake, do not deny it me. I profess in the presence of 
the Lord, I had rather you would grant me this small re- 
quest, than give me all you have in the world : even that you 
would but make it your business to try, and thoroughly try, 
whether you are yet converted, or no? But then, let me 
entreat you to do it seriously, and make somewhat of it, and 
leave it not till you have done your best to be resolved whe- 
ther it be so with you or not. You do not need to ask me 
what aileth me to be so earnest with you for such a thing. 

8 I Cor. iii. 21 2 Cor. iv. 15. '' Lukexx 36, 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 14^ 

You have heard by the foregoing reasons what aileth me. 
You may see here in my text what aileth me. When Christ 
himself saith, ** Except you be converted, and become as 
little children, you cannot enter into the kingdom of hea- 
ven." This is the thing then that I entreat you to do : that 
you would betake yourselves at your next opportunity with- 
out delay into some private place, and there bethink your- 
selves what you have heard ; or at least what is said here 
in my text : and say thus with yourselves ; * I see there is 
no hope of salvation without conversion ; my heart must be 
turned from the world, and flesh, and sin, to God by Christ, 
or else I cannot enter into heaven. I know 1 shall shortly 
leave this life : doth it not concern me then to see betimes 
that I be converted ? Was ever such a change as this 
wrought in my heart, or not? There is no dissembling with 
God ; he will not be mocked. What sayest thou, con- 
science? Have I ever had such a change, or not? Thus 
follow on the inquiry, and leave it not, till you can say off 
or on whether you have been converted, or not. Or at 
least till you have some more light into the business than 
you had before. And if you cannot do it at one time, as it 
is likely you cannot fully, go do it again and again : think 
on it as you lie in bed : think on it when you are alone, and 
say to yourselves, * Seeing I must be converted or condemn- 
ed, is it not time for me to know whether it be so with me, 
or not?' And if you cannot get the case well resolved, let 
me entreat one thing more, which I have often entreated of 
you ; that you would come to one of us that are your teach- 
ers, or go to some judicious, able Christian, and ask advice 
to help you in trial : for in so great a business, it is dange- 
rous to be mistaken. I do not speak all this to those Chris- 
tians that have lived long in the fear of God, and have doubts 
raised in their minds by the temptations of the enemy, or by 
their own great care of the matter of their salvation, and 
have asked help of ministers, and taken pains, and done 
what lieth in them to be resolved, and yet find some doubts 
remaining. It is not these that I now speak to. Though I 
would not grudge my labour to these whensoever I can have 
time for it, to do them any good I could. Yet I would ra- 
ther advise them to acknowledge the light of grace that 
shineth in their eyes, and not forget their own experiences, 



150 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

nor make light of the abundance of that mercy, which hath 
translated them from darkness into the kingdom of Christ, 
and feed upon that glory that is propounded to their faith. 
But I speak to those that either never did yet set to the 
work of examination, or never followed it, till they discern- 
ed their miserable estate, or at least not till they got out of 
it, but are still sticking in the world and flesh : and also to 
those young, unsettled Christians that be not yet well re- 
solved for a change ; or at least those that never yet had the 
advice of any minister, or judicious person, for the right 
settling of their spiritual estate : for all these, but espe- 
cially for those that never set upon examination before, I 
would entreat them, if they find themselves in the dark, and 
cannot well manage it themselves, or cannot find whether 
they are converted or not, that they would come to us, and 
seek advice. I pray you, neighbours, do not think that we 
are either so stout, or so careless of your souls, as to des- 
pise you, or to think it much to take this pains with you. 
The poorest beggar in town shall be welcome to us, that 
will come to us on this errand. Indeed, ministers are set in 
every church, as the physician is in the town, for all that are 
in distress to resort to for advice, that their diseases may 
not prove their death. It is not only to preach to you that 
we are made ministers, but especially to give advice and di- 
rection for their salvation to all that have special need, and 
come to us. Indeed for small matters you should no more 
trouble a minister, than you should trouble a physician for 
a cut finger, because you have others enough at hand to give 
you advice. If all the people of England would use their 
ministers to this kind of employment, it would be happier 
for their souls, and happy for the nation, and would make 
men know better the nature and need of the office of the 
ministry. We do not desire you to come to us, as the Pa- 
pist priests make all their people do, to confess every secret 
sin that they have committed in Lent, before they receive 
the sacrament at Easter. But when you hear out of the 
word of God, that no man can be saved except he be con- 
verted, and you set yourselves to try whether you are con- 
verted or not, and cannot find it out : here your salvation 
lieth much on the business, and therefore common reason 
telleth you, that you should take the best advice you can. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 151 

and that presently, without delay. And so, you may be 
much better resolved, and your minds more quieted, and 
you may go upon surer grounds for your salvation, than 
perhaps you would otherwise do. There is never an honest 
minister in England, but would be willing to forbear his 
meat, or sleep, as far as nature would bear, to help his peo- 
ple in such straits as these ; when they come to us, and tell 
us, ' I have taken some pains to try whether I am converted 
truly, or not, and I am not able to discern ; I know it is 
your office to help me ; I pray you help to resolve my doubt, 
for I am resolved I will not venture my soul so carelessly 
as I have done till now.' You do not know what good you 
might get, if you would but take this course to be resolved. 
For God will bless his own ordinances. I pray you, there- 
fore, let no carelessness, or bashfulness hinder you ; for mat- 
ters of salvation are not such things that you should either 
be careless, or ashamed of. However, say not but we offered 
you our help. 

But perhaps you will ask me, When I am examining my 
conscience, how shall you know whether I am converted or 
not? By what marks may it be discerned? To this I an- 
swer, I have so often given you divers marks already, in the 
sermons I have preached, and the books that I have written 
for your use, that I am loath to do the same thing over too 
often. But for this time it may suffice, if you will but re- 
member that description of the work of conversion, which 
I gave you before. For in that are all the marks that are 
necessary. 

When you are examining your own hearts inquire then : 

(1.) Whether you ever found that change upon your 
mind that I before mentioned. Are you soundly persuaded 
of the truth of the word of God, and the life to come ? And 
do you know and believe how vile a thing sin is ? And 
what need you have of Christ? and what he hath done for 
you, and ofFereth to do ? And do you esteem of the love of 
God, and the hopes of salvation above all things in this world, 
and account of all but as dung, that you may win Christ? 
Are you fully persuaded of the riches of free grace, and of 
the necessity of a holy life, how much soever you may have 
slighted them heretofore ? 

(2.) And have your hearts been so far changed hereupon. 



152 TRATISE OF CONVERSION. 

as that you have laid up your treasure and hopes in the life 
to come ; and that is it that you take for your felicity : so 
that you can truly say, that the main bent and drift of your 
life is, not for the pleasure or jirofits of the world, but 
how to please God, and be happy for ever ? Though you 
may step out of the way by human infirmity, yet this is the 
bent and scope of your life : this is your chief care, and this 
hath your most serious thoughts and business. Can you 
truly say, you use the world for God and for heaven, and 
do not serve God for the world ? And that you take all 
these outward things, but as necessaries in your journey, 
but look at heaven as your home and happiness ? And that 
God hath the highest room in your hearts, and the world 
and flesh stand under him ; and that you do not prefer 
these things before him? And that you are resolved, what- 
soever it cost you, to stick to God though you lose the 
world; and not stick to the world, when it loses you the fa- 
vour of God ? And that God shall be first served, and that 
the world shall have his leavings ; and not the world first 
served, and God have its leavings ? Have you tasted of the 
infinite love, which he hath manifested for your salvation in 
the blood of his Son, and admired that free grace, that hath 
thus purchased your redemption ? And fled to Christ, as 
the only refuge of a guilty soul, from the curse of the law, 
and the wrath of God ; renouncing all conceits of any me- 
rits, or legal righteousness of your own, taking Christ and 
his merits for your righteousness ? Do you find that you 
hate the former sins that you loved, and take pleasure in 
those holy ways that you had no pleasure in before ? And 
are you resolved thus to hold on to the death? 

(3.) Is all this to be seen in your life ? Have you in 
good sadness changed your former courses, and resolved to 
turn to them no more ? Have you left your own ungodly 
company further than your calling, or necessity, or charity 
requireth you to be with them ? And have you betaken 
yourselves into the company of those that fear God, and 
take pleasure in their holy communion, and in their help 
and company in the way to heaven ? Especially do you 
avoid those great transgressions, by which you were carried 
away in your ignorance ! And are you willing to destroy 
the remains of your sin, whatsoever it cost you, and not to 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 153 

spare, or cherish, or befriend it ? So that there is no known 
sin, that you wilfully live in ; nor known duty that you wil- 
fully cast off. But you would fain be what God would 
have you be, and your greatest sorrow is, that you can be no 
better. And if you fall by any temptation, you rise again 
with shame and grief, and free confession, and renew your 
resolution by the grace of God, to take better heed for the 
time to come. 

This is the sum of the work of conversion, and this is 
the state of a gracious soul. I have left out divers particu- 
lars, lest I should be too long, because you may see them 
together before you ; but the rest are implied in these. 

When you go then to examine your hearts, set these 
few questions before you, and put them to your hearts, or 
else peruse those marks that I have given you in my " Direc- 
tions of Peace of Conscience," or those in my " Treatise of 
Judgment," or those in my " Book of Rest." You do not need 
to be at a loss for marks to try by. Books will help you, 
or ministers will help you, or friends will help you. But all 
the difficulty is in two things. 1. To get your heart to the 
work. 2. To be able to know your own hearts. For they 
are so dark and deceitful, that without a special light and 
diligence, you may easily be mistaken in yourselves. 

Well, brethren, I again renew my request to you, that see- 
ing you must be converted, or condemned, will you set your- 
selves to try whether you are converted or not ? I hope you 
be not willing to be deceived ; and I hope you do not think 
that salvation is not worth this much labour. I should hope 
that I might request as much as this from you, if it were for 
myself, or a friend ; how much more, when it is for your sal- 
vation. Tell me, therefore, will you do this much at my re- 
quest, at Christ's request, yea, and at his command, or will 
you not? Will you bestow now and then a secret hour about 
it, and follow it on till you get resolution, and know whether 
you are converted or not ? Truly, neighbours, I do not speak 
these words to you carelessly or customarily, as matters that 
I shall never look after when I am out of the pulpit ; or as 
if I cared not whether you ever more minded them, or not. 
But it* is the matter of practice that 1 regard : whether 
you will do the thing that I am desiring of you. I am loath 
you should spend another day in a state of condemnation. 



154 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

and not know it. I am loath you should spend another day 
in negligent uncertainty of your everlasting state. If you 
are converted, I would fain have you know it ; if 1 could 
procure it, I would have you sure to go to heaven when you 
die, before you pass another week, or before you go this 
night to bed. And if you are not yet converted, I would 
fain have you know it, that you may lay to heart your con- 
dition, and without any more delay, may make out for the 
grace of Christ, that must recover you. 1 pray you do not 
think that it is utter despair that I am driving you to. If 
you should upon trial find that you are unconverted, you 
need not despair, and say, * there is no hope.' No, but you 
must know, that there is mercy before you. Christ hath 
prepared it for you, and ofFereth it to you, and is willing you 
should have part in it if you be willing. Only you must 
consent to be changed now at last, and resolve to go no 
further in the old way. It is conversion, and not despera- 
tion, that God requireth. And I hope a man may seek after 
his error to amend it, rather than to despair of the amend- 
ment. What, if upon examination, you should perceive 
that till this hour, you have been in a state of death ? It 
doth not follow, that you must live and die so ; but that 
you must make haste to get out of it, which you will hardly 
ever do, till you find that you are in it. It were a foolish 
traveller that will say, * I will not ask the way, lest I find 
that I have missed it, and then I have no hope of getting 
home.' But rather he should ask the way, that if he have 
missed it, he may know it, and get in the right way before 
it be night. And because it is my present business, rather 
to convince the unconverted for their recovery, than the 
converted for their comfort, I shall here tell you for the ne- 
gative, who they be that are yet unconverted, and must be 
changed, if ever they will be saved. 

(1.) That man or woman, that never yet perceived and felt 
that sin is a great and detestable evil, deserving the wrath 
of God, and that never felt what need they stand in of the 
pardon of sin, by the blood of the Lord Jesus, nor was ever 
humbled in the apprehension of his unworthy dealing with 
God, but can bear his sin as a tolerable burthen, is yet un- 
converted ; and without conversion cannot be saved *. 

> Matt. X). 28. Luke xiii. 3, 51. Psal, li. 17. Isa. Ivii. 15. Luke xiv. 11. xviii. 14. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 155 

(2.) That man or woman that was never driven to 
Christ for deliverance, nor beaten out of the conceits of 
merit, or sufficiency in himself; nor brought to admire the 
glorious design of God in the great work of redemption ; 
nor savoured the sweetness of the glad tidings of salvation, 
which are brought to distressed sinners in the Gospel. So 
that his heart was never warmed with the sense of the Re- 
deemer's love and blood ; but heareth and readeth the Gos- 
pel as a common story. Or, as if it were not he that was thus 
redeemed, is yet unconverted, whatsoever he may seem ''. 

(3.) That person that hath not his heart and hopes in 
heaven, and looketh not at that as his only happiness, and 
doth not make it the business of his life to attain it ; but 
setteth his heart more upon the things of this life, is cer- 
tainly unconverted, whatever he may pretend ^ 

(4.) That person that is not weary of all known sin, and 
hateth it not, and would not be rid of it with all his heart, 
and is not willing to be at the labour or cost of duty, in the 
use of those means which God hath required for the ob- 
taining of a conquest ; but will venture his soul upon a 
careless life, rather than he will be brought to diligent god- 
liness ; and taketh up godliness in part upon mere neces- 
sity, having rather let it alone if he durst, and taketh it for 
a grievous thing to be hindred from his sin : that person is 
not as yet converted, but must have a further change before 
he can be brought into a state of life '". 

(5.) That person that doth not set himself to the duties 
of holiness to God and righteousness, and mercy toward 
man, that hath not the Spirit of Christ within him, and the 
image of God upon him, and doth not express it in his wor- 
ship and obedience, and is not loving, compassionate, and 
merciful to others, nor humble and low in his own eyes, nor 
delighteth in doing good, nor is willing to do as he would 
be done by ; I say, that person is not yet truly converted, 
whatsoever seemings of conversion he may have ; but must 
yet be otherwise converted, or be condemned ". 

'' Phil. ill. 8, 9. Eph. iii. 18, 19. Lulce vii. 47, 48. Rora. x. 15. Acts xiii.S2. 

' PhU. m, 21. Matt. vi. 21. Rora. v. «. Tit. i. 2. Heb. xi. 1 Cor. xv. 19. Col, 
i. 5. 23. 

"> Lulce xviii. 23, 24. Rom. vi. 14. 16, 17. 21. vii. 13. 22. 24. Pttul. cxix. 5. 

" Matt. V. Heb. xii. 14. 1 Pet. i. 15, 16. ii. 5. 2 Pet. iii. It. Heb. iii. 1. 
Psai. i. 2. 



15(j TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

(6.) That man or woman that hath any thing in this 
world, that is so dear to them that they cannot spare it, 
and part with it for Christ, and obedience to his command, 
but will rather venture their souls upon his threatenings, and 
will only take up so much of religion as may stand with 
their worldly prosperity or seeming felicity, and are not re- 
solved by strength of grace, rather to let go all than Christ: 
I say, that person is yet unconverted, and must have a fur- 
ther change, or be condemned °. 

Now, the Lord have mercy' on poor sinners ! What a 
world of them are yet in the state of death ! And how little 
do they believe it, or lay it to heart ! I wonder what men 
think of such words in Scripture, when they meet with them. 
Sure they cannot choose but consider that they concern them 
as well as others. And if no man can be saved without con- 
version, they must needs know they cannot. What then 
do these men think of themselves ? Do they think that 
they are converted, or that they are not ? If they think 
they are not, then surely they durst not rest till they are. 
Fori do ngt think they are willing to be damned. It must 
needs be, therefore, that they think they are converted, when 
they are not ; and that is the thing that deceiveth and 
quieteth them in their misery. But it is worth inquiry to 
find out what it is that so deceiveth men, that the grossest 
worldling, or the vilest sensualist, are yet persuaded that 
they are converted, gracious men ; and I find among others 
these three things are the cause. 1. They do not know 
what conversion is, but take that to be true conversion, 
which is no such thing. 2. They do not know themselves, 
but take themselves to have what they have not, and do 
what they do not, and be what they be not. And 3. They 
are resolved to believe what they would have to be true, be 
it never so false ; and therefore will rather think they are well 
already, than they will be at the trouble to know that it is 
otherwise, and to use the means for a thorough discovery. 

Use III. By the foregoing inquiry, we have certainly 
found, that conversion is too strange a thing in the world ; 
and that the greatest part of the world, yea, of those that 
are called by the preaching of the Gospel, are yet uncon- 
verted. The consideration of this must needs be a grief to 

o Matt, xvi. <^4. X.37, 38. Luke xiv. 3;?. Phil. iii. 19. Matt. xiii. 6. 20,21. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. l67 

the heart of every faithful minister, that knoweth the misery 
of an unconverted man, and foreseeth his latter end. It will 
be a grief to any honest physician, if he have a whole hos- 
pital of sick persons under cure, to see that the most of 
their diseases are mortal, and to find but few recovered by 
the greatest skill and care that he can use; how much 
more must the everlasting danger of men's souls be grievous 
to those that are appointed to watch over them ? Would 
the Lord but cause you to know your own misery, as we 
know it, and to compassionate yourselves, as we must com- 
passionate you, we should have the more hope of your re- 
covery. Will you now join with us in lamenting your own 
condition, and lay to heart what a case it is to be uncon- 
verted? Truly humanity, and much more Christianity, 
doth bind us to think on your condition with lamentation. 
Should we see an enemy ; should we see a very dog in tor- 
ment, and have no compassion ? How much less, so many 
men and women that are so near us, and so dear to us in 
the flesh ? Alas, that there is such a glory, and most men 
will miss of it ! That there is such a fire prepared for the 
devil and his angels, and the most will run themselves wil- 
fully into it ! Why, faith maketh things absent as if they 
were present. That which will be so one of these days, I 
look on it as if it were even so already. Oh ! methinks I 
see the thousands of the unconverted, departing from the 
face of an angi-y Judge ; who hath newly shut them up un- 
der his final sentence, ** Depart ye cursed into everlasting 
fire P." If you ask me, why I tell you of such sad things? 
Truly, brethren it is, because they are much more sad to suf- 
fer, than to hear of ; and because you are yet alive in a pos- 
sibility of preventing them. If you marvel that I should 
believe such things, when no man seeth them : it is because 
I am a Christian. And if you believe them not as well as 
I, you would do well to say so plainly, and do not dissem- 
ble any longer, and take on you to be Christians, when you 
are not ; and to believe God's word, when you do not. I 
profess to you, I should take it but for a paltry profession, 
to ride up and down to preach the Gospel, and trouble the 
minds of men in vain, and get the ill will of most of our 
neighbours, and tire and spend ourselves in this work, if it 

, P Matt. XXV. 41. 



158 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

were not certainly true, which we must tell them ; and if the 
Gospel were a fable or human device. If the word of God 
were not true, ministers have the most unworthy employ- 
ment upon earth. But if it be true (as nothing is more 
certain), O Lord, what hard hearts then have we, that we 
are no more affected with your condition! And what 
hearts have you, that are no more affected with your own ! 
The Lord knows, if I were not confident that this word is 
true, that telleth us of the danger of all that are unconverted, 
I would not have been here to-day ; nay, I would shut up 
my books, and take another trade in hand, and never preach 
more. But shall a man that knows the unconverted will be 
condemned, forbear to tell them of the misery that is near 
them? Then were our case more sinful than yours, for you 
know it not, and therefore love not to hear of it. 1 believe 
it, and know it, and yet should I silence it? I know it is 
unpleasant doctrine, but it is necessary, and it is most true ! 
God never yet did prove a liar ; if he were not true, he were 
not God. You will believe yourselves the things that you 
see not, upon common experience ; and why should not I 
believe that which I see not, upon a better ground ? You 
see not the sun at midnight, and yet you believe that it will 
rise the next morning, because it useth to do so. You see 
no flowers or fruits on the earth in winter, and yet you be- 
lieve that you shall see them the next year, because they 
use to come in their seasons. You are now all alive, and 
see not your graves digged, nor your friends about you, 
there laying you, and leaving you in darkness to the worms, 
and yet you know that such a day will come, though now 
you see it not; as truly do I know, that there is endless 
woe to every sinner that dieth unconverted. I see not the 
flames, nor do 1 hear the cries of damned souls, but yet I 
know that there they are, while we sit here, and there they 
will be to all eternity. It is like, the man in Luke xvi. was 
a gentleman of quality, that had so bountiful a table, and 
was clothed so gorgeously every day. Alas, his poor bre- 
thren it is like, did little think what was become of his 
soul, when they had laid his body in the earth. If a preacher 
should have told them he was afraid he was in hell, do you 
think they would not have been ready to fly in his face, or 
account him intolerably self-conceited, or precise ; and yet 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 159 

the Lord Jesus brings us news that he was in hell-torment, 
wishing that one might be sent from the dead, to warn those 
his poor brethren that he had left behind him on the earth. 
No doubt, he knew that they were all of the same mind as 
he was, when he was alive ; and as fleshly, and worldly, 
and careless of their salvation, and therefore were in the 
road-way to the same condemnation ; or else if he had 
known them to be godly, heavenlyminded men, he would 
never have thought them in such danger, as it seems he did. 
But we read not that they had any such fears of themselves 
as he had. If one had come to them from the dead, and 
told them, that their late worshipful brother was in hell for 
his sin, and knowing them to be all in the way to the same 
misery, had sent to them to beseech them presently to be 
converted, lest they also come to that place of torment : 
what welcome do you think such a messenger would have 
had ? I know not well what fear of a dead man appearing to 
them, might have done ; but I partly imagine what enter- 
tainment a minister should have had, that had said the like. 
Verily, sirs, the case of careless sinners is never the safer, 
because they see not, and fear not the danger. A man in a 
consumption or dropsy, is never the further from death, 
though he be never so confident that he shall not die. If a 
thief at the gallows have a conceit that he shall escape, 
that will not save his life. What if you should have an 
hundred men that you had known on earth, sent to you 
from the dead one after another, and all of them should tell 
you this one sentence in my text. That there is none enter 
into heaven but converted souls ; would you not begin to 
look about you, and say to yourselves. Am I converted or 
not ? What a case am I in then, that am yet in the flesh ? 
It may be if one appeared to you in your chamber in the 
night, and told you this news, it would only affright you a 
little, and you would forget it. Perhaps if two or three on- 
ly should appear to you, and tell you it, you might forget it 
again ; but if twenty should tell it you, methinks it should 
awaken you. Why, sirs, the words of the Lord are of more 
weight, than the words of a thousand dead men are. " If 
you will not believe him, neither will you be persuaded 
though one rise from the dead**." Seeing these things are 

4 Luke xtI. 31. 



H>0 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

SO, I do not blame ministers, if they be plain and earnest with 
you, though some may think them precise, and besides 
themselves. Paul was put to make this answer ; ** For 
whether we be besides ourselves, it is to God ; or whether 
we be sober, it is for your cause \" Truly, we are like a 
physician, that seeth a foolish man eating arsenic, or mer- 
cury, and telleth him, O what are you doing ? it is deadly 
poison, you must presently take a vomit, or it will kill you. 
But because it is sweet, derides the physician, and bids him 
look to himself, he hopes he shall do as well as he, till he 
feel the griping and burning at his heart, and then he will 
believe it. Oh ! the gripes of a damned man's conscience, 
when he reflects on the day of grace which he lost on earth ! 
We tell you not of this to drive you to despair, but to per- 
suade you to take the vomit of repentance, and to cast up 
your sins before you are past hope. Do not think we wrong 
you, to foretel you what will come of it, if you die uncon- 
verted. If there were any wrong in it, it must be laid on 
God that can do no wrong. If he have not bid us tell you 
of them, then take us for your enemies and spare not : call 
us liars, if we shew you not his word for it. But alas, when 
God hath revealed your danger, must we hide it ? And that 
when he hath foretold us, that if we tell you not of it, your 
blood shall be required at our hands, Ezek. iii. 18. Read 
that text well, and tell me then, whether you would have us 
such cruel enemies ; I had almost said such devils to you 
and to ourselves, as to hide a matter of such inconceivable 
moment from your eyes ? What good would it do you to 
be thus flattered into hell ? What good would it do you to 
have us to be damned with you, for being unfaithful for the 
preventing of your damnation ? Who will laugh at this but 
satan, the great enemy both of us and you ? Alas, you may 
easily think with yourselves that it is no pleasure to a mi- 
nister to tell you so sad a story of your misery. But if a 
Balaam must say, '* If Balak would give me the house full of 
gold and silver, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord, 
to do less or more^;" must not Christ's ministers be as 
faithful ? I say again, if this Gospel were not true, I would 
be a sweeper of channels, rather than a preacher ; and I 
would join in a petition to have all ministers banished the 

"^ 2 Cor. V. 13. ^ Numb. xxii. 18. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 161 

land : but seeing it is otherwise, I appeal to your con- 
sciences, who it is that wrongeth you: whether Christ and 
his ministers to tell you of your danger, or yourselves to 
make light of it, and to refuse the cure ? 



CHAPTER IV. 



Thus much I have spoken to you, to make you willing to 
hear and know the truth of your condition ; ray next desire 
is, that you will lay it well to heart. You will never make 
out aright for the remedy, till you feel your misery. Alas, 
what abundance of people are there in the world that never 
were converted, and yet live as carelessly as if all were well 
with them ! Come among twenty that are as merry as the 
best, and ask them one by one, whether they are converted 
or not? And some will tell you, they hope so, they cannot 
tell ; and some will deride you ; and most of them perhaps 
know not what conversion is, nor ever much minded any 
such thing ; and yet these very men do read, or hear the 
word of God, that telleth them so plainly, that, " Except 
they be converted, they shall not enter into the kingdom of 
heaven." What do you think, sirs, of such words, when 
you hear them, or read them ? Are you never touched at 
the heart with them, and doth conscience never make you 
cry out, Alas, then, what will become of me ? Well, be- 
cause I would have you sensible of your condition, lest you 
should rest in it to your undoing, I will tell you a little fur- 
ther, what it is in some particulars : and the Lord awake 
you to lay them to heart ! 

1. As long as you are unconverted, you are no true 
children of God, nor members of Jesus Christ. And there- 
fore you have no part in that fatherly, special love, but still 
stand before his eyes as enemies. For your hearts are not 
towards him, but toward the things below, as you know, or 
might know if you would. The world is divided into two 
sorts, the children of God, and the children of the devil : the 
converted, and they only, are the children of God, as you 
may see, John i. 10, 11. Rom. viii. 9. All the unconvert- 
ed are the children of the devil, as Christ himself calls some 
of them, John viii. 44. And so 1 John iii. 10. it is said of 

VOL. VII. M 



16'2 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

them all ; and long ago they were called the seed of the ser- 
pent, Gen. iii. 15. It is by faith in Christ Jesus that we are 
made the sons of God ''; and the unconverted have not true 
faith. When you go to God in prayer, if you cannot call 
him your Father, what comfort can you expect? If you 
look up for a blessing on your labours, and for supply of 
your wants, if it be not to a father's hand that you look, 
how cold will the comfort of them be ! Why, it is conver- 
sion that turneth the heart to God, and if he have not your 
hearts, you are not his children, and therefore none of the 
unconverted are his children. You are " all by nature the 
children of wrath ^ ;" and therefore not the children of God. 
And by regeneration you are new-born children of God: 
and it is conversion that is this regeneration. You may 
call him Father as long as you will, but he will never call 
you children till you are converted. You may think 
you have as good right in him as another, but he will 
never own you, till you are converted. You may call 
him. Lord, Lord, even to the last, but he will tell you, " he 
knoweth you not*^." It is not nature, but renewing grace, 
that putteth upon you his image, and putteth within you^his 
Spirit and holy nature, and if you have not that image, that 
Spirit, that holy nature, whatsoever you may think your- 
selves, he will never take you for his children**. All the 
children of God are somewhat like him : " they are holy, as 
he is holy*." And it is conversion that maketh men in their 
places and measure like to God. It is plain therefore, that 
the unconverted are none of his children ; and then how can 
they expect his fatherly love, or his fatherly care of them in 
the time of their necessity ? The goodness of God is the 
foundation of all the creature's hopes, but if you will keep 
out of the way of his goodness, and yet expect the benefit 
of it, you are like to be deceived ; for an enemy or a stran- 
ger cannot look for the portion of a child. 

And as you are no children of God, so you are no mem- 
bers of Christ without conversion ; for we are adopted only 
in Christ ; and therefore children of God, because members 
of Christ, who is his natural son. It is conversion that 
makes us members of Christ. I suppose you will confess, 

a Gal. iii. 26. Eph. iii. 17. *» Eph. ii. 3. « Matt. vii. 22. 

«» Gal. iv. 6, Rom. viii, 9. 1 Pet. i. 14. « 1 Pet. i. 16. 



TREATI8E OF CONVERSION.' 163 

that if you were not Christians, you were miserable : and if 
you be not converted, you are not true Christians. You 
may have the name, but you have not the nature. You may 
keep a room among those that profess themselves Chris- 
tians ; but God that knoweth the heart will ask you, 
" Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wed- 
ding garment '^?" And then you will be speechless. That 
man that hath no part in Christ, how sad and miserable a 
condition is he in ! It was the terrible description of the 
case of Simon Magus, " Thou hast no part nor lot in this 
matter ; thou art yet in the gall of bitterness, and the bond 
of iniquity f^." And the proof was, " because his heart was 
not right in the sight of God ^J* He was baptized, and had 
a kind of belief, but yet he was not converted, and therefore 
had no part in Christ. All the hopes and life of the world, 
is laid up in Jesus Christ, 1 John v. 11, 12. He therefore 
that hath no part in him, hath no hope, no life, no ground 
of peace, or comfort. Without a Saviour, how dare you 
draw near to God in prayer ? How dare you think of death 
or judgment ? What a sad appearance are you there like to 
make ? Oh ! woe, and ten thousand woes to that man, that 
must stand at the bar of God, without a part in the blood of 
Christ, and must answer there without that advocate. Nay, 
he will be judge himself, and will justify none but those that 
are his members. You will sure confess yourselves, that if 
you have no part in Christ, you are in a most miserable 
case. Why brethren, the case is as plain in Scripture as 
the high way, * That if you are yet unconverted, you are no 
true Christians, and have no part in Christ, as to any saving 
interest. You are by nature in another stock, and it is con- 
verting grace that must cut you out, and plant you into 
Christ, the living vine. This is the very nature of true con- 
yersion : therefore must men be humbled, and mortified, and 
broken off from themselves and all creatures, that they may 
be removed and planted into Jesus Christ ; and may abide 
in him, and he in Ikem, and that in him they may bring 
forth fruit ; for out of him you are nothing, and can do no- 
thing. And whatsoever you may profess, you are but 
withered branches, and must be gathered up, and cast away, 
and burnt in the fire '. It is all one to be a man, and not to 

f Matt. xxif. VZ. V Acti viii. 2S. ^ Act* viii. tl, > John xv. 1, 4—6. 



164 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

be born ; as to be a true Christian, and not to be new-born: 
for as our conception and birth is the passage into the life 
and world of nature, so our conversion or new-birth is the 
passage into the life of grace. We that know not your 
hearts, do call you all Christians that seem to be so ; but if 
we certainly knew who they be that are yet unconverted, we 
should tell these men to their faces, they are no Christians. 
Their souls are not yet washed with the blood of Christ, nor 
are they sanctified by his Spirit, and therefore having not 
his Spirit, they are none of his ^. O therefore in the name 
of God look about you sirs, and you that have lived so 
long unconverted, remember you have lived so long without 
a part in Christ. And therefore lament that you have taken 
on you to be Christians so long, when it is not so, and now 
be such as you have seemed to be. The union between 
Christ and true Christians, is internal, in the heart : mere 
words and ceremonies unite not men to Christ. 

2. Consider further, I beseech you ; there is no hope of 
the salvation of any unconverted man, that so liveth and 
dieth. This is true, whether you like it or not. If you are 
offended at this saying, you are offended with the saying of 
Christ that redeemed you : and it were better for you to be 
offended with your sins, than with Christ that condemneth 
them. If you say, it is a hard saying, I am sure it is a true 
saying, for God cannot lie. I gave you the proofs of it 
before at large : if you forget them, remember my text, and 
you need no more. What hypocrites then are those 
wretches, that say they will not believe it, and yet for all 
that, will take on them to be Christians, and to believe the 
word of God. You read here that Christ protesteth, " Ve- 
rily, that except ye be converted ye shall not enter into the 
kingdom of heaven." And when you read it, yet you say, 
you will not believe it. And yet you will say, that you are 
Christians and believe Christ. What contradictions are 
these ! What ! wilt thou worship a God, whom thou takest 
to be a liar? This cannot be : no man can heartily trust 
him, especially in so great a matter as his salvation, whom 
he takes for a liar. Thou wouldst not give God the lie ? 
If he be not perfectly good, he is not God : and wilt thou 
then feign a God that is like to liars, or wicked men ? No 

^ Rom. viii. 9. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 165 

marvel then if you be liars yourselves, if you think God be 
one ; for no man is bound to be better than God. And 
therefore I will never marvel to see any man do that evil 
which he conceits that God himself will do. 

But what will sinners get by this unbelief? It is but the 
way of their own self-delusion, and undoing. He that will 
not believe God, I cannot expect he *should believe me, or 
any man : nor can he rationally expect to be believed him- 
self. Yet I will ask him the question. 

You that see what Christ saith, and yet say you will not 
believe it, but that unconverted men may be saved ; what 
say you? Do you know any man in the world that you will 
believe, if he speak to you with such protestation as Christ 
here doth? If you do not, it seems you measure other men 
by yourselves. If you do, I would fain know of you> whe- 
ther you think that any man is better than God ? I had 
rather believe that God is true, and every man a liar, than 
that men are true, and God is a liar, Rom. iii. 4. And I would 
further ask you ; would you have any man believe you, or 
take your words ? If you say no, he is not wise that will 
have any thing to do with you, if he can choose : and then 
you openly proclaim what you are, even such liars that you 
would not wish men to believe you : but if you say aye, then 
I would further ask you, whether you dare take on you ta 
be better than God ? Why, thou sinful lump of clay, thou 
frail, imperfect, mutable wretch, wouldst thou be believed 
thyself, and wilt thou not believe God? Darest thou say 
that thou art truer and better than God, and that thy word 
is to be taken before his word ? If thou dare, do not blame 
him if he shortly stop that presumptuous mouth of thine, 
with his confounding indignation ; and if he make that blas- 
pheming tongue to be speechless, when he shall say, " Take 
him, bind him hand and foot, and cast him into utter dark- 
ness '." And then thou wilt have weeping and gnashing 
of teeth. 

Well then, if God be not to be believed, no one is ; and 
if God be to be believed, then no unconverted man shall 
enter into the kingdom of heaven. And is it not time for 
you then to consider of your condition, and look about, 
whether you be converted or not? I pray you be not so 

i MaU. xxii. It, IS. 



166 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

silly, as to take these words as mine, and so to think that it 
is I that make the matter so terrible. If I had not found 
them in the Bible, I had never preached them to you ; and 
we have nothing to preach, but what we here find, and to 
open this to you, that you may understand it. It will be 
nevertheless true, if neither I, nor any preacher in England 
should tell you of it ; or if none of us did believe it. For 
our unbelief maketh not the word of God of none effect. 
I do therefore entreat you all, as you are men of reason, see 
that you be truly converted, because no unconverted man 
shall be saved ; it is God that saith it, it is the devil that 
denieth it, and will you believe the devil before God ? This 
was it that brought destruction first upon the world, when 
God told our first parents, that if they sinned they should 
die ; and the devil told them, they should not die, and they 
believed the devil rather than God. And have you this 
warning, and will you do so too ? Is that a Christian, yea, 
is that a man, or worthy the name of a man, that will consi- 
derately believe the devil before God ? And believe his own 
flesh and carnal reason before God ? Whether is God or 
the devil think you, the better, and the more to be believed, 
and the better friend to your souls, and more to be trusted 
and regarded ? O horrible wickedness ! that ever men 
should put us on such a question, or make any comparison ! 
And what are you, that you should presume to set your rea- 
son against Christ ? God saith, ' Verily the unconverted 
shall not be saved,' and you say, for all this you hope they 
shall : and what are you, that you should be believed be- 
fore God ? What, do you know more than he ? Why, 
where had you that knowledge ? Is there any knowledge 
in the world, that comes not from God ? And doth he give 
you more than he hath himself? Is a dungeon lighter than 
the sun t Or is there any light here below, but what comes 
from the sun mediately or immediately ? Why, a dungeon 
may better compare with the sun, and say, ' I have more 
light than thou ;' than thou canst compare with God, and 
say, * I have more knowledge than thou :' Oh ! that ever 
dust and ashes should be so blind, as not to know this ! 
And that ever they should prefer their blindness, to the in- 
finite knowledge of him that made them I If you do not, 
how dare you say, you hope that will prove false which God 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 167 

hath spoken? But do you think that this unbelief will 
make your danger ever the less? No, it is this that in- 
creaseth your danger. What if a man in the midst of evil, 
will wink, or put his eyes out, is he therefore safe, because 
he seeth not his danger ? Again, therefore, I beseech you, 
if you be men of reason, if you be not resolved to be your 
own enemies, and to do the worst you can against yourselves, 
if you do not long for damnation ; O, then believe God, and 
take time while you have it, and make out for conversion 
without delay. And instead of hoping to be saved against 
the word of God, and as it were in despite of him, and whe- 
ther he will or no ; see that you presently yield to the word, 
by which he would convert you, if you do not resistit. Be- 
lieve your present misery, and look out presently to Christ 
for the remedy, and thank God that you may, and that the 
day of his patience is not past. And if the devil and sin do 
still so harden your hearts, that you will not believe, nor 
take this counsel, remember that thou wast told, that the 
unconverted shall not enter into heaven. Remember that 
this was preached to thee from the word of God, and thou 
wouldst not believe it. Yea, thou shalt remember it whe- 
ther thou wilt or no. 

3. I beseech you consider further ; that while a man is 
unconverted, he hath no sin pardoned ; all the sin that ever 
he committed, is yet upon his own score, and he shall an- 
swer for it before God, and suffer for it for ever, if he thus 
continue. I do not speak this either of my own head : I 
will now give you but three texts of Scripture to prove it, 
which is as good as three hundred. Mark iv. 12. When 
Christ speaks of those that were judicially hardened, be- 
cause they had wilfully resisted grace, he addeth, " Lest at 
any time they should be converted, and their sin should be 
forgiven them." By which you see, that till men are con- 
verted, their sin is not forgiven them. And Acts xxvi. 18. 
" I send thee to open their eyes, and turn them from dark- 
ness to light, and from the power of satau unto God, that 
they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance," 
&c. You see then, that men receive not forgiveness of sins, 
till they are turned from the power of sin to God. Rom. viii. 
30. This is the order of God's saving grace. " Whom he 
calleth, (that is, couverteth) them he justifieth; and whom 



168 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

he justifieth, them he glorifieth." So that no man is justi- 
fied, before he be called. 

Consider then, what a fearful case it is to have a load of 
unpardoned sin upon your souls. One unpardoned sin 
would as sure condemn a man for ever, as one stab at the 
heart would kill a man. What then will so many thousands 
do ? Poor sinner, if Christianity, and humanity did not 
bind me to compassionate thy soul, I would not tell thee 
these things to trouble thee. But I cannot forbear, unless 
I would be cruel to thee. It seemeth an easy matter to a 
felon to think of his crime, while he is not apprehended, 
because he lives in hope to escape, and therefore he can 
laugh when he talks of the gallows ; but when he comes to 
it, the case is altered : offenders may escape the justice of 
men, but no man can so escape the hand of God. It may 
now seem a small and easy matter to you, to think and talk 
of unpardoned sin ; but the day is coming when you would 
give all the world if you had it, for a pardon, as light as you 
do now make of it : all are sinners, but all are not unpar- 
doned sinners : it is not all sinners that shall perish ; for 
then we should all perish ; but all unpardoned sinners shall 
perish ; and all unconverted sinners are iinpardoned. When 
sin is pardoned, the terror of it is gone ; then a man hath a 
sure refuge against the accusation : he can say at judgment, 
if he be accused of his sin, that he hath a pardon of all 
through the blood of Christ, and then there is no more to be 
done against him : but so cannot the unpardoned. O, heavy 
case for a poor trembling sinner to hear, ' At such a time 
thou didst abuse God's creatures, and his name, and his 
word, and his ordinances ; at such a time thou didst neglect 
duty, and misspend thy time, even the Lord's day,* and to 
have nothing to say against the accusation. What a sight 
will it be for him, to have all his sins set in order before 
him ' ! All the sins of his youth, and his riper age ; of 
ignorance, and of knowledge, and have no remedy against 
the justice and the wrath of God! Once there was a re- 
medy offered them, but being finally neglected, there re- 
maineth no more sacrifice for sin, " but a certain looking for 
of judgment, and fiery indignation that shall devour the ad- 
versary >"." Tell me, I beseech you, sirs, what do you think 

' Psal. 1. 21. « Heb. x, 26. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 169 

to do by the sins that you are guilty of? Do you believe 
that you shall come to judgment for them, or not? If not ; 
what do you here among Christians ? If you do, will you 
tell me what you mean to say, or how do you think to come 
off, and to escape ? Either you must have a pardon, or 
not : if you have not pardon, what do you think will become 
of you ? There is no question of it, but an unpardoned 
sinner must be damned, as sure as the devils themselves are 
damned : for Christ telleth you this will be the sentence, 
" Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the 
devil and his angels "/' O, woe to that man that ever he was 
born, that shall stand at God's bar with unpardoned sin. It 
will be heavier upon thy soul, than a mountain upon thy 
body, and press thee down to everlasting misery. Unpar- 
doned sin is the very fuel of hell. If angels and men should 
all join together to save an unpardoned sinner at judgment, 
they could not do it. What hope have you then to escape, 
or to see the face of God with comfort? I beseech you, 
bethink you what you mean to say, or how you think to 
come off? Should a wise man be going to such a judgment, 
and never once think what to say for himself, or how to es- 
cape when he comes thither? Will you then plead, that 
* you hope you are pardoned by the blood of Christ V Why, 
alas ! that will be utterly vain ; for there is no hope that God 
will be false to his word ; and God hath assured you, that 
the blood of Christ and the mercy of God shall never par- 
don any sinner, but he that repenteth and is converted of 
his sin. Will you say, * Though I am not pardoned now, 
yet I hope I may beg pardon then.' And do you think to 
cry aloud, and persuade the Judge ? Oh ! if that would do, 
what a cry would there then be ! How many thousand and 
thousand souls would cry, * Mercy, mercy. Lord, on a poor 
miserable wretch ! O pity a lost sinner ! O do not con- 
demn thy creature ; do not deliver me up to the tormentor ; 
do not send me away from thy presence into those flames ! 
O, as ever thou hadst pity on a sinner, have pity on me.' 
If crying, and praying would then serve the turn, how would 
they ring in the ears of Christ ! Oh ! but it is then too 
late ! too late, sinners ! you should have done this sooner. 
The day of grace is now past, and there is no remedy. Now 

" Matt. xxr. 41. 



170 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

prayer might do good (with forsaking sin through the blood 
of Christ) and men will not use it, but then it will do no 
good at all. 

Do not say that I make this terrible doctrine of myself; 
the Scripture is full of it. Christ hath told you over and 
over of it : that if you are then found without the oil of sav- 
ing grace in your lamps, you shall in vain cry * Lord, Lord, 
open to us ;' and long enough may you knock, before you 
can have any hearing ; but Christ will say, " Verily, I know 
you nof*." It is not they that will cry " Lord, Lord, that 
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but they that do the 
will of our Father which is in heaven." For many in that 
day will plead acquaintance with Christ, to whom he will 
profess, " I never knew you, depart from me all ye that 
work iniquity." They are his own words in Matt. vii. 
21 — 23. I tell you again, if all the angels in heaven should 
fall down before the Lord Jesus Christ, and beg for you, 
(which they will never do) and beseech him to pardon your 
sins, he will not do it. For it is in this life that pardon 
must be gotten, or never. We have no hope to be wholly 
free from sin, but we may procure the pardon of it through 
Christ, and if it be not done now, it will never be done. 
Now must the pardon be procured, and sued out, and then 
it must be brought forth that you may not be condemned. 

Now, as ever you would stand with boldness in judg- 
ment ; sinners, repent and be converted, that you all may 
have the pardon of all your sins. As ever you would stand 
then at Christ's right hand, and not be sent into everlasting 
torment, look about you now for the pardon of your sins ; 
for there was never man that got a pardon after he was 
dead, who died unpardoned. I give you but the same coun- 
sel which Peter gave the Jews. " Repent ye, therefore, and 
be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the 
times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the 
Lord P." I pray you mark these words ; you see there no 
man's sins will then be blotted out, but those that now re- 
pent and are converted. 

4. The next thing that I would entreat you to consider, 
is this ; that as long as you are unconverted, you are the 
servants and slaves of satan, and under his power, and led 

« Matt. XXV. 11, 12. P Acts Hi. 19. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 171 

about as his captives at his will. It may be you do not 
think so much, nor believe this, but perhaps would take it 
ill to be told so. But God hath told us that so it is. There 
are but two sorts of men in the world, the slaves of sin, and 
the servants of Christ. All the world is in two armies : sa- 
tan is the general of one, and Christ of the other, and these 
two are in continual conflict with one another. In his first 
assault with Adam our first father, satan overcame him by 
drawing him to sin, and thereby got him and his posterity 
into his power. The Lord Jesus comes of purpose to res- 
cue us out of his hands, and this he doth by converting 
grace, and justification thereupon. So that, till a man be - 
converted, he remaineth in the bondage and slavery of the 
devil ; and when he is converted, he is entered among the 
freemen and sons of God. 

What think you of this ? Is it not a miserable state to 
be the devil's bond-slaves ? Why, if you will believe God, 
it is the case of all that are unconverted : nay, you may 
feel it in yourselves. Do you not feel that your wills are 
to do evil ? That he leadeth you to worldliness, to drunk- 
enness, or wickedness at his will? If he bid you rail or 
swear, you do it. If he bid you neglect everlasting life, you 
do it, and you have no heart to God and the life to come. 
Why, these are the marks of satan's bondage. Hear whe- 
ther the Sripture speaks it not plainly : " Know ye not that 
to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants 
ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of 
obedience unto righteousness *<.*' " He that committeth sin 
is of the devil. In this the children of God are manifest, 
and the children of the devil : whosoever doth not righteous- 
ness, is not of God '." The meaning of both is, that he 
that hath the main bent of his heart and life for sin, that 
is, for the flesh and the world, is of the devil : and he that 
hath the main bent of his heart and life for God, that is, for 
righteousness, is a converted child of God. So, 2 Pet. ii. 
19. " For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he 
brought in bondage." And in 2 Tim. ii. 26. they are said 
to be in the " snare of the devil, taken captive of him at his 
will." And in AcU xxvi. 18. it is expressly said, that con- 
version " tumeth men from the power of satan uuto God." So 

n Rom. rl 16. ' 1 John iii. 8. 10. 



172 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

that you see the case is plain in Scripture: that, till men 
are converted, they are in the power of satan. 

It may be you perceive not the misery of your condition ; 
and no marvel, for satan's servants are all volunteers, and he 
useth to keep his possession in peace, till a stronger than 
he shall come upon him, and cast him out ; Luke xi. 21. 
O that the eyes of poor sinners were but opened to see 
who it is that leadeth them about! Poor soul ! didst thou 
but see that the devil is thy ruler, that he standeth by thee, 
and puts thee on in all thy wickedness, it would sure make 
thee desire to change thy master. You are afraid of seeing 
him appear to you in any shape, and if you should but see 
him, it would make your joints to tremble. O! why are 
you not afraid to be ruled by him, and to follow him to your 
destruction ? Why are you not more afraid, lest you should 
dwell with him for ever ? A man that is in the favour of 
God, were not much the worse if he should see all the de- 
vils in hell, no more than a soldier to see the enemies, 
when they are conquered ; but a man that is unconverted, 
whether he see them or not, should tremble to think that he 
is yet in their snares. O that you did but know, and well 
consider, that it is the devil himself within you that cavil- 
leth against the word of God, and contradicteth the truth, 
and draweth you to doubt, and enticeth you to sin. If you 
did hear the devil say to you with a voice, ' Come, follow me 
to the alehouse,' it would sure frighten you from going. 
Or if you heard him speak out, and say against the Gospel, 
' It is not true, do not you believe it,' how would this affect 
you? Why, it is he that speaks this in you, whenever you 
have these thoughts in your hearts. Your own corrupt 
hearts are the mother, but he is the father of them all. 
When you feel such thoughts as these within you, that sin 
is a small matter, and that God doth not hate it so much as 
preachers talk of, and that God will not condemn all the 
unconverted, that so live and die, and that men may be 
saved without a holy life, and that this is but preciseness, 
and more ado than needs, all this is as truly the very in- 
ward persuasions and motions of the devil, as if you heard 
him speak it openly in a voice. It is he that bids you * go 
on in sin and fear not, and yet at least take a little more of 
your fleshly pleasure, and if you must turn, let it not be 



I 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. IW 

yet.' It is he that bids you hate them that endeavour your 
conversion, and make a scorn of those that fear God. It is 
he that bids you lose your time, especially on the Lord's 
day, and talk of filthiness or vanity, and rail, or lie, or back- 
bite, or hate your brother ; as truly as if you saw and heard 
him, this is he. The Scripture telleth us so, that this is his 
vv^ork, which Christ did come into the world to destroy*. 
We can certainly know the workman by his work. So bad 
a work hath no better an author. I beseech you, therefore, 
in the name of God, bethink you where you are, and what a 
case you are in. Have you known all this while, that you 
were in the power and captivity of the devil? What, and 
yet be so merry or careless as you have been ? What, sleep 
quietly, and live quietly, and yet be in such a case ? Why, 
if a man be taken prisoner by the Turks, and laid in a dun- 
geon, or put into their gallies, how sadly doth he take it ? 
How many a sigh and groan comes from him, to think where 
he is, and what a case he is in, in comparison of other men ! 
And many a time he cries, ' O that I were free !* And yet 
all the servants of satan are willing of their bondage. This 
is it that makes you deserve the less pity, because it is your 
own doing, and you will not be delivered. A Turkish slave 
would be delivered if he could, and would give a. thousand 
thanks to him that would deliver him : but you might be 
delivered and will not. Christ hath provided a remedy in 
his blood, he ofFereth it to you, and entreateth you to ac- 
cept it, and yet you will not. He hath commanded us to 
entreat you, and you will not be entreated. " God would 
have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of his truth," 
and many will not be saved. Christ " would gather them 
as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wing, and they 
will not *.'* When God offers you help, and ministers offer 
you help, and godly friends offer you help, and fain they 
would have you delivered, and you will not; what pity do 
you deserve, if you perish everlastingly ? It is a strange 
thing to see how people hate the devil, and yet love his 
service ! How they speak ill of him and yet obey him ! 
How they even spit at bis name, as men that abhor him, 
and yet will not be persuaded by any means that we can 
use, to come out of this captivity, when the doors are set 

• 1 John Ui. 8. '1 Tim. ii. 4. Matt. xxUi. 37. 



174 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

open by Christ that bought them. Not that I suspect that 
any of you do really love him ; for I know that God hath 
put an enmity in the beginning, even between the nature of 
satan and of man ". I know you hate him, even while you 
wilfully serve him. But the matter lieth here ; though you 
hate him, you love the sin, because it is pleasant to flesh 
and blood, and you do not know, or will not consider that it 
is he indeed that leadeth you to it ; or else you durst not 
continue in that case. Well sirs, lay this to heart, and be- 
lieve that all men are slaves to satan till they be converted ; 
and if you are not willing to live and die his slaves, and to 
be used for ever as his slaves, delay not your conversion. 

5. Moreover, the misery of the unconverted doth further 
appear in this ; that while men are unconverted, nothing 
that they do can truly please God. There are many works 
which, for the matter of them, are commanded, which such 
men may do, but yet there are so many defects, and so 
much of the venom of their corruption mixt in them, that 
God hath no delight in them, but doth abhor them. I 
would not be misunderstood in this, as if I said or thought, 
that therefore, all that the unconverted can do, is to no pur- 
pose, in order to their salvation : and that, therefore, it is 
as good for them to let all alone, and sit still and be care- 
less till God shall convert them ; or as if it were better, or 
as good for them not to pray, as to pray, and not to hear or 
read, or ask advice, as to do it, because that all is displeas- 
ing to God. But I mean, and say, that there is more in 
their best duties to displease God, than to please him, and 
that they are such as he hath made them no promise of ac- 
cepting, so far as to give them any special grace, or reward 
thereupon. Or if this please not any, yet this much is out 
of controversy, that the duties of no unconverted man are 
pleasing to God, so as to prove their persons pleasing to 
him, as his own servants are ; and that God takes no de- 
light in their duties, as he doth in those that are performed 
by the righteous. And thus at least you may take it as be- 
yond all question, that God is comparatively displeased 
with, and abhors even the best works that are performed 
by the unconverted. The works of wicked men are of four 
sorts. (1.) Some are such as have no tendency to their con- 

" Gen. iii. 15. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 175 

version and recovery, nor to the good of any others, but are 
either plainly wicked for the substance, or but indifferent for 
the matter, and wicked in the ends and manner. These God 
abhors in the highest degree. (2.) And there are some that 
are common civil actions, in themselves neither good or 
evil. But yet, because the common ends of such are wrong, 
and the manner sinful, these therefore are said to be abomi- 
nation to the Lord. (3.) And then there are their best works 
which are done by them with evil intents, to settle them in 
their present state, without any thoughts of turning from it, 
as their alms-deeds which are done to merit, or to quiet their 
consciences in a sinful state, or the like. These. also God 
abhon-eth, for all the good that is in them. For these they 
do as wicked men, wickedly, for all the goodness that is in 
the action. (4.) But then, there are some actions of the un- 
converted, that are in order to their conversion, and these 
God accepteth not, so as to accept their persons, as of one 
reconciled to him in Christ, nor as he accepteth the works 
of his people, nor so as to be engaged by promise for their 
reward. But yet he so far accepteth them, that they are or- 
dinarily the way in which he will be found ; and in which 
he will give them greater things. They are means of his 
appointing for the conversion of their souls, which he hath 
not appointed them to use in vain. So that by this time 
you may see my meaning here in this particular. The three 
first sorts of the works of wicked men, God doth plainly ab- 
hor, even their works that are both such for matter and end ; 
and their civil and natural works, that are wicked for the 
end ; and their religious works, that are wicked for the end. 
But the fourth sort, which are works that are done in order 
to their conversion, though they please not God as the 
works of the regenerate do, yet he abhorreth them not as he 
doth the rest : for as they come from a common faith, 
though not from a special faith, so they may please God in 
a common manner, though not in a special. And as they 
have an end that is good in its place ; that is, the saving of 
their souls by turning from their sins, though they have not 
the true ultimate end of the saints ; that it, the glory and 
pleasing of God everlastingly, and the enjoyment of him 
therein, so are they proportionably acceptable to God. So 
that it is the first three sorts of action that I mean in this 



176 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

application. And in regard of them, I say it is a matter of 
great terror to the unconverted, that God abhorreth all that 
they do. 

I will first prove it to you, and then shew you the terror 
of it. As for their wicked works, there is no question, they 
are abominable to God, and he hateth them. See Jer. Ixiv. 
4. Psal. liii. 1. 14. Ezek. xvi. 52. Tit. i. 16. Prov. viii. 
16. xi. 1. 20. xii. 22. And the " very thoughts of the wick- 
ed are abominable to him," as Prov. xv. 26. But the ques- 
tion is of their better works. And we find in Scripture, 
that their very trades, and works of their callings, are sin. 
The " ploughing of the wicked is sin ^ ;" or if perhaps the 
sense of that text may be that their preparations and con- 
trivances are sinful, which are metaphorically called plough- 
ing, yet of their best works the Scripture is plain. The 
*' sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but 
the prayer of the upright is his delight y." Note, that he 
saith not, the humiliation or the repentance, or thoughts of 
conversion that may be in a wicked man, but his sacrifice, 
which is somewhat that he thinketh God should accept, as 
a matter of worth. And therefore it was that Cain^s sacri- 
fice was abhorred, when Abel's was accepted. And that 
you may see that it is not only because of the wicked de- 
signs that they may have in it, the Spirit of God speaketh 
of both. " The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, 
how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind^." 
Yea, the very prayer of wicked men is abominable. Yet do 
not say that God is a respecter of persons, and will take 
that well from one, which he hateth from another without 
any just cause. For there is^ just cause. If you will not do 
the main things that God requireth, he careth not for the 
rest. " He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, 
even his prayer shall be an abomination '^." The law of God 
commandeth you to take another course, and condemneth 
your wicked life, and if you will turn away your ear from 
this law, that would turn away your heart from sin, God will 
not accept your prayer. " If I regard iniquity in my heart 
God will not hear my prayer ^." " He that calleth on the 
name of the Lord, must depart from iniquity ^" Yea, the 

* Prov. xxi. 4. y Prov. xv. 18. ^ Prov. xxi. 27, 

» Prov. xxviii. 9. •• Psal. Ixvi. 18. « jTim. ii. 19. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 177 

fasting and self-afflicting of the wicked, is disregarded''. 
Little doth a poor blind sinner think when he is boasting of 
his praying and religious duties, that God abhorreth them ; 
but if they be unconverted, they will find it so. " Ye are 
they that justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth 
your hearts **." For that which is highly esteemed among 
men, is abomination in the si^ht of God. And one reason 
is, because that the person himself is such as God doth hate ; 
and therefore no wonder if he hate his works. For a fig- 
tree beareth not thorns and thistles, nor the bramble grapes, 
but as the tree is, so is the fruit. ** Thou hatest all the 
workers of iniquity. The wicked is made for the day of 
evil, and every one that is proud in heart, is an abomination 
to the Lord '." Though men bless, yet the Lord abhorreth 
them^ When he seeth their wickedness, he abhors, even 
those that profess themselves his people^. Yea, and his own 
sanctuary, and the very place of his worship ^, Especially 
when they often deal falsely with him ^ And no wonder 
when wicked men do loathe the Lord and his service, if he 
do also loathe them. " My soul loatheth them, and their 
soul also abhorreth me''." Sinners, the case in a word is 
this : God is a Spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and 
in truth, and such worshippers only doth he choose ; and 
wicked men can give him but the shell, and the shadow of 
his service. God made all things for himself, and will ac- 
cept of nothing but what is intended for himself. But 
wicked men are turned from God, and do all for their carnal 
selves, even when they pretend to do it for God. It is your 
hearts that God hath lost, and your hearts that he regardeth, 
and your hearts he will have again, or he will have nothing; 
but you may even keep all to yourselves if you will, except 
you will give him this. What need hath God of your 
prayers, or other services, or what good can you do him by 
all ? It is yourselves that he desireth, and then he will ac- 
cept your service, though he need it not, and will make it 
good to you, though it can do no good to him. Therefore 
this is his first demand : " My son, give me thine heart ' ;'* 
and if you deny him this, you deny him all. He careth not 

c Isa. If ill. f , S. * Luke xvl. 15. • PmJ. ▼. 5. Prov. It, 5, 

' Pnl. z. S. « Deut. IH. 19. ^ Lament, ii. 7. 

t PmL IxzviU. At. ^ Zech. li. 8. ' Prov. nMl t6. 
YOL. rii. N 



178 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

for your lips, nor your religious duties, without it. If you 
will not first give him yourselves, he will not accept of any 
thing that you offer him. And, indeed, when it is not in a 
returning way, but in an offering way that wicked men will 
serve him, he plainly telleth them it is in vain, and telleth 
them he hateth it, and bids them keep it with them ; for he 
will have none of it till they leave their sins, and give up 
themselves to him. " To what purpose is the multitude of 
your sacrifices to me ? saith the Lord : I am full of your 
burnt-offerings. When you come to appear before me, who 
required this at your hands, to tread in my courts ? Bring 
no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination to 
me ; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, 
I cannot away with, it is iniquity, even the solemn meet- 
ings : your new moons, and your appointed feasts, my soul 
hateth, they are a trouble to me ; I am weary to bear them. 
And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes 
from you ; yea, when you make many prayers, I will not 
hear ; your hands are full of blood. Wash ye, make you clean, 
put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; 
cease to do evil ; learn to do well. Come now, and let us 
reason together, saith the Lord "\" If a prince have sub- 
jects, that are in rebellion, he will not take any gift at their 
hands, till they come in themselves : no more will God at 
your hands. There is no true minister of the Gospel, but 
feeleth some exposition of this in his own heart. If the peo- 
ple would send us any tokens of their love and expressions 
of kindness, if it were not for exasperating them, who would 
not return it them with contempt, as long as they refuse to 
be reformed, and will not yield to the word of the Gospel ? 
To let go their goods, if it were all they have, for us, is a 
matter that we regard not, if they will not let go their sins ; 
because we seek not theirs, but them : and much more is it 
so with Jesus Christ. If you should be as punctual in his 
worship as any, and give him never so much of your knees 
or tongues, yea, or your goods, and all you have, he will not 
take it as a thing that pleaseth him, unless withal you give 
him yourselves. " If I suffer my body to be burnt," saith 
Paul, " and have not love, it availeth nothing ".'' Many a 
poor unconverted wretch considereth not this, that comes 

™ Isa. I 11—14. n 1 Cor. xiii. 3. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 17& 

constantly to church, and receiveth the sacrament, and useth 
some kind of praying every day, and thinks, that if God 
should not accept of such as them, there should almost no- 
body be saved ; and therefore he makes no question of his 
acceptance. O but one thing is necessary, and that is yet 
wanting. If God had your hearts first, then he would take 
the rest in good part : but when the world hath your hearts, 
and though you sit and hear with some delight, as if you 
were his people, yet your '* heart goeth after your covetous- 
ness P." When your fleshly pleasure and profit have your 
hearts, God will not regard your service, were it much more. 
Now it is the work of conversion to bring the heart to 
God, that was never brought to him, and set upon him be- 
fore : therefore till this work be done, all is but abominable. 
" For without faith it is impossible to please God '^." You 
think to live to the flesh, and then to please God by your 
good praying and meanings, or by being of the right reli- 
gion, or by some good works ; but remember what God him- 
self hath told you, who best knoweth what it is that pleas- 
eth him ; " They that are in the flesh cannot please God ' ;" 
and all that are unconverted, are said to be in the flesh, be- 
cause they " mind the things of the flesh," and live accord- 
ing to their carnal inclinations, and for carnal ends. O what 
a sad consideration would this be to your hearts, if you did 
but understand and feel your own condition! You talk 
against this man and that man for being of a wrong religion, 
and you think you are better than this party or that, where- 
as you are miserable, whatsoever your religion be, because 
yon are heartily of no religion. You think God will be 
pleased with your serrice, and it doth but add to the load of 
your sin. You read the word, and think you do God service 
by it, when you do but read your own condemnation, be- 
cause you have your hearts against the doctrine that you 
read. You think you serve God by coming to church, but 
if you refuse to let the word convert you, how should God 
be pleased with such a service as this ? It is as if you should 
tell your servant what you have for him to do, and because 
he hath given you the hearing, he thinks he should have his 
wages, though he do nothing of that which you set him to 
do. Were not this an unreasonable servant ? Or would you 

P E«ek. iisW. SI. n H«b. il. 7. ' Rom. fiU. 8. 



180 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

give hiin according to his expectation ? It is a strange 
thing that men should think that God will save them for 
dissembling with him ; and save them for abusing his name 
and ordinances. Every time you hear, or pray, or praise 
God, or receive the sacrament, while you deny God your 
heart, and remain unconverted, you do but desy)ise him, and 
shew more of your rebellion than your obedience. Would 
you take him for a good tenant, that at every rent-day would 
duly wait on you, and put off his hat to you, but bring you 
never a penny of rent? Or would you take him for a good 
debtor, that brings you nothing but an empty purse, and ex- 
pects you should take that for payment? God biddeth you 
come to church, and hear the word ; and so you do, and so 
far you do well : but withal, he chargeth you to suffer the 
word to work upon your hearts, and to take it home and 
consider of it, and obey it, and cast away your former cour- 
ses, and give up your hearts and lives to him ; and this 
you will not do. And yet you think that he will accept 
of your service. Dare you plead such services with God 
for a reward, and say, * Lord, though we shut thee out of our 
hearts, yet we gave thee the hearing.' 

Sirs, I beseech you lay this well to heart, What will you 
do in a day of affliction ? What will you do at an hour of 
death ? Will you not fall a praying ? Will you not call to 
God for mercy, when you see that nothing but his mercy can 
relieve you ? Why, if you be unconverted, God will not 
hear your prayers ; he abhorreth them, because he hath not 
your hearts. O sad case for a man in misery to look about 
him, and see no hope in heaven or earth but God alone, and 
when he begins to cry for help to him, he will loathe their 
prayers, and turn away his ears, and will not hear ! Hear 
his own word, Prov. i. 26 — 29. ** Because I have called, and 
ye refused, I have stretched forth my hands, and no man re- 
garded," &c. to the end of that chapter. For my part, I 
foresee the day is coming, when I would not take all the 
world to be without a God to pray to. O then, to have a 
man's prayers themselves thought but iniquity, and charged 
on him as his sin, when he must have present help or perish, 
what sadder case can there be ? For a man that is going into 
another world, and calls to God to receive his soul, to have 
prayers and soul cast out together, how sad a case is it? 



I 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 181 

Sirs, do not mistake me, as if I took you off from prayers or 
other holy duties by this; but I tell you, that if you go on 
in any kind of duty, and remain unconverted, you cannot 
look that God should take any kind of pleasure in them or 
in you. If you say then, ' It is as good never a whit, as ne- 
ver the better :' I answer, do your great duty first, and then 
all the rest will be accepted ; yield to the word and Spirit, 
resist not the grace of God any longer; give him your 
hearts, and give them no longer to this deceitful world ; and 
then come and welcome. And for the duties that tend to 
conversion, as, hearing the word, and begging true grace of 
God, which may convert you, and considering of those truths 
that must be the instruments to do it ; these are the very 
beginnings of the work, and therefore it is not these that we 
discourage you from : it is time for you to use these, that the 
rest may be accepted. 

6. Another sad consideration, concerning the state of an 
unconverted man, is this, as long as they remain in that con- 
dition. They live in continual danger of damnation. They 
are under the wrath of God ; and though patience have long 
forborne them, to ti*y whether they will repent, yet are they 
not sure whether it will stay for them one day longer : they 
are under the curse of the law, and when it will be executed 
they cannot tell. I have told you already from the word of 
God, that an unconverted man cannot be saved, and I need 
not tell you sure, that he is uncertain how long he shall con- 
tinue in this world And methiiiks a man that is sure to go 
to hell if he dieth, and knoweth not whether it may not be 
this day, should have little comfort in his life till he were 
changed. Now the Lord have mercy on poor, hard-hearted 
sinners, what do they mean then that they look no more 
about them? Why will not the word of the living God awa- 
ken them, which telleth them how near they are to perdi- 
tion ? I do here make known to you from the word of truth, 
that if there be any unconverted souls in this assembly, they 
are not certain to be out of hell an hour. God knows, sirs, 
I would not tell you of this if it were needless. But alas ! 
what do you mean to continue in such a case as this ? At 
sure as the word of God is true, every soul that goeth uncon- 
verted out of the body, is shut out of all hope of mercy for 
ever, and enteretb into a remediless misery. Remember then. 



182 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

man, in the name of God, every morning thou arisest, and eveiy 
night thou liest down, that thou art uncertain to be out of 
hell till the next day. Alas ! it is enough to amaze a poor 
Christian, that is indeed converted, when he doth but find 
himself in doubt of it ; how much more should it awaken them 
that are yet in the flesh ? Many a one that truly feared 
God, having wanted assurance at the time of death, O how 
terrible hath it made death to them ! To look before them and 
think they must be gone, and they know not whither ; to think 
that it is but one day or two more, and my soul will be among 
angels or devils, and I know not which of the two it will be ! 
O what a dreadful thought is this, even to many that are con- 
verted, for want of assurance at the time of death ! But 
alas ! this is but a small matter in comparison of the case of 
the unconverted : for as soon as the soul is out of the flesh, 
all the fears of the godly are at end, and they shall never 
more have a doubting thought ; but for the rest, if you should 
die with never so great confidence, death would dispel it all ; 
and as soon as you were out of the body, your eyes would 
be opened to see that which would never let you have a 
thought of hope or comfort more. I speak none of this of 
myself. " When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall 
perish ; and the hope of the unjust man perisheth \" " For 
what is the hope of the wicked, though he have gained, 
when God taketh away his soul? Will God hear his cry, 
when trouble cometh upon him*?" " So are the paths of all 
that forget God, and the hypocrite's hope shall perish ; 
whose hope shall be cut ofl', and whose trust shall be a spi- 
der's web. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not 
stand ; he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure "." ** The 
eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and 
their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost ''." Take 
this home with you then, and let it cause you to have no 
rest till you are truly converted, that till then you are never 
certain to be one day or hour more in safety. 

7. From all this you may see another sad consideration, 
which is. That as long as a man is unconverted, he hath no 
ground for one hour's true peace or comfort, but hath reason' 
to live in continual terror, and to be the grief of all that know 
his misery. For should a man be merry that is in such a 

« Prov. xi. 7. t Job xxvii. 8. " Job viii. 13. 18. '^ Job xi.20. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 183 

case as this? O no, if his eyes were opened, it would cer- 
tainly affright him, either out of his sins, or out of his wits. 
Many worldly vanities and sensual delights such men may 
have, to delight their thoughts ; but this is their weakness, 
and not their happiness. Some malefactors when they are 
to be hanged, will make themselves drunk beforehand, that 
death may not be terrible to them ; but this is but a medi- 
cine against repentance, and not against hell. So do thou- 
sands of poor sinners make themselves drunk with merry 
company, and false conceits, and worldly businesses, and 
fleshly pleasures ; but though this do ease their hearts 
awhile, and keep away the feeling of their misery, it will not 
do so long, but only till the hope of cure be past. Brethren, 
the desire of my soul is to advance the consolation of the 
saints, and to take from you no peace or hope, but what 
death will take from you, if it be not done before ; and if I 
had any hopes that your men*y days would last after death, 
and would not end in everlasting sorrow, I would not be one 
that should interrupt your mirth. Truly you should hold 
on in your careless, drowsy course for me, if I did not see 
the after-reckoning ; but seeing the case is such as I have 
proved, with all that are unconverted, I must say to all in 
that condition, that mirth is very unsuitable to your state, 
and laughter doth ill become you. And if ever a man might 
say of it, as Solomon, * Thou art mad,' it is when it appear- 
eth in the face of such a man that stands all the while on 
the very brink of hell. What ! be merry in the power of 
satan, under the wrath of God, before you are pardoned, 
and before you know whether ever you shall be saved, or 
escape the everlasting pains of hell ? O doleful mirth ! 
What wise man would be partner with you in such plea- 
sure ? Now sirs, I beseech you that are in this case, for 
your poor souls* sake, when you are next among your merry 
companions, let this thought come into your mind, * O, but 
1 am not yet converted.' When you are next in your world- 
ly cares and businesses, or careless of your souls, bethink 
you then, * it 1 am not yet converted.* And every 
day and in icrever you are, whatever you do, O think 

still, * I am yet unconverted ;* that so you may look about 
you, and come to yourselves, and get into that condition, 
wherein yon may have cause indeed to be merry. Methinks 



184 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

every time you hear the bell toll, it should frighten you ; 
every time you go among the sick, or see any brought to the 
grave, it should frighten you : yea, every thing that you 
look on, should be matter of terror to you till you are out 
of this condition. Sure there is no believing friend that 
you have that knows your case, but must needs pity you. 
They are bound to lament you. Only this comfort doth yet 
remain, that a sufl&cient remedy is provided in the blood of 
Christ, which will recover you, if you do not proceed to 
make light of it. This is all your comfort, that your case is 
not remediless, as long as you are under the calls of grace. 
Take heed, in the name of God take heed, of going on any 
longer in that condition, lest you make it remediless ; there 
is yet a possibility of your salvation, but not without your 
conversion ; you have to do with a merciful God, and that 
you find by experience, or else you had not been here now. 
But O go not out of the reach of mercy : never did God's 
mercy save one unconverted soul, any other way than by 
converting them. And the greater are your possibilities 
now, and the more freely the blood of Christ is offered you, 
the greater will be your sorrow if you lose all this, and by 
neglecting it, do make your case remediless. 

8. Consider further. The warnings that the unconverted 
have of their danger, are so many, and so great, that if they 
be neglected, they will multiply their misery. To be an 
unconverted man among the Turks or heathens, is no won- 
der, any more than to be in the dark at midnight. To be 
unconverted among Papists, is not so much wonder, any 
more than to miss your way by moonshine : but to be un- 
converted in the midst of Gospel-light, this is a sin that 
hath no excuse, and a misery that liveth in despite of the 
remedy. All the preachers that have told you of your mi- 
sery, and persuaded you to return, shall be witnesses against 
you : yea, all the examples of the wicked that have gone before 
you, that were set forth for your bettering, shall be witnesses 
against you. The way to hell is abeaten road, and most of the 
world do tread it continually ; and therefore you might have 
known and avoided it, when God had told you how to know 
it. God hath not left you in darkness, but you shut your 
eyes ; the light shines round about you, and you will not 
see ; you have Bibles, and you have other good books, and 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 185 

you have teachers, and you may have neighbours that are 
able and willing to help you, but you will not make use of 
them. O sirs, consider I beseech you, to get well to hea- 
ven, is a business and not a play. It is a matter to be in- 
quired after, and prayed for, and learned with all diligence 
and care, and not to be put off with heartless shews. Hear 
then, O hear the call of God that soundeth in thine ears, to 
bring thee to conversion : wilt thou run on when God is 
calling after thee ? He calleth by his word ; he calleth by 
his ministers ; he calleth by his judgments, and by his mer- 
cies, by conscience, and by his Spirit ; and will you stop 
your ears, and slight them all ? Many an one hath come 
in at the first call that ever they had by the preaching of 
the Gospel, and you have had an hundred and an hundred, 
and yet will not return ! Believe it, sirs, the calls of God 
will convert you, or confound you ; his word will not re- 
turn in vain : you cannot resist his grace after all this war- 
ning, at such easy and cheap rates as many others in the 
world may do. Your impenitency and wilfulness hath the 
more obstinacy in it, by how much the greater light you do 
resist. If the Gospel do not convert you, you will wish you 
had never heard or read it. Hear what Christ himself saith 
of those that were not converted by his word. "Whoso- 
ever shall not receive you, nor hear your word, when you 
depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your 
feet ; verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for 
Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that 
city y." Christ did upbraid the cities where his works were 
done, because they repented not : " Woe to thee Chorazin, 
woe to thee Bethsaida, for if the mighty works, which have 
been done in thee, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they 
had repented long ago, in sackcloth and ashes ; but I say 
unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in 
the day of judgment than for you. And thou Capernaum, 
which art exalted to heaven, shalt be brought down to hell ; 
for if the mighty works which have been done in thee ', &c/ 
The Lord grant that I may never hear Christ upbraiding any 
of this congregation with the warnings that they did neg- 
lect. It is a h^vy case, that when Christ sendeth to men 
the Gospel of salvation, they must be upbraided with it, be- 
1 Matt. X. 14, 15. • Matt. li. tO— tS. 



f86 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

cause they would not be saved by it. And that Sodom and 
Gomorrah, those places of abomination that bore the 
most remarkable plagues of God, being consumed with 
fire and brimstone from the Lord, should yet speed better in 
the day of judgment, than many of our poor people that sit 
under our teaching from day to day. In a word, sirs, re- 
member this, all unconverted sinners that so lived and died, 
shall be condemned, but those that had the greatest means 
and warnings, shall have the greatest condemnation. 

9. Consider further. That the further men go on in an un- 
converted state, the deeper is their sin, the harder is their 
cure, and the greater will be their punishment. It is not a 
state wherein you may safely abide, no, not a day, if you 
were sure to have time for repentance. Is it a small thing 
to go on in sin, and to add to that heap that is so great al- 
ready, and to increase that mountain which is so insuppor- 
table? As long as you are unconverted, you live in the 
continual abuse of God, and all his mercies : you abuse him 
most unworthily, for you prefer the unworthy creature be- 
fore him, as if he and his glory were no better than this 
earth, nor so good neither : you abuse him by denying him 
that which is his own ; you deny him your hearts ; you de- 
ny him your service ; that which he hath made and redeem- 
ed ; you deny him that which none can lay claim to but him- 
self. You abuse his word by rejecting it ; you abuse his 
sabbaths by profaning them ; you abuse his image in his 
servants by contemning it ; you abuse his name by taking 
it in vain ; you abuse his mercy, and all his creatures by be- 
holding them in vain, and receiving them in vain ; and by 
advancing them into the throne, and giving them that which 
is not their due : though you worship not sun and moon, yet 
you worship meat, and drink, and ease, and money : and thus 
you live in the abuse of all things, and besides the rest, you 
abuse your own souls. They were made for the High God, 
and fitted to love him and honour him, and live to him here, 
and to see his face in glory hereafter ; and all unconverted 
men do abuse them to the basest drudgery of the devil : 
they make them sinks of sin, and dunghills to receive the 
excrements of the earth. God hath advanced you above the 
beasts that perish, and made you for a life with angels in 
his glory, if you would but believe it, and set your hearts 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 187 

upon it : and you debase your own souls, and make them 
brutish, as if they had no better a happiness than a swine ! 
or as if you were worms that live in the earth ; or rather 
beetles that live in dung. Who can marvel, if a carnal man 
abuse God, and the godly, and all things else, when he wil- 
fully and delightfully doth so abuse himself? It may turn 
the passion of those they abuse into compassion, when they 
consider, whatsoever they do against others, they do an 
hundred times more against themselves : they scorn us, and 
they wound themselves : they tempt others to sin, but they 
cast themselves into it : they wrong our names, or estates, 
or bodies, and they damn their own souls. Alas, poor 
wretches, who would have thoughts of revenge on such men 
that are the most cruel persecutors and destroyers of them- 
selves ? O what a base indignity do they put upon a noble 
and immortal soul, to make it like the body, inclining unto 
earth, as if it had been taken hence as the body was, to take 
it down from living upon God, and engage it in a life of 
mere vanity ! 

Moreover consider, that all the while you continue un- 
converted, you grow hardened in your sin ; and as you for- 
sake God more, so doth his Spirit withdraw from you ; and 
custom will still make you worse and worse. Your recovery 
will be harder the next week than this, and therefore it is 
not a state to be continued in : but of this we shall speak, 
when we come to the particular exhortation. 

10. As long as you remain in an unconverted state, you 
Deprive yourselves of a world of happiness, that God doth 
offer you, and you might possess. You might have God 
instead of the creature ; and Christ instead of a carnal self 
and the Spirit instead of the devil that doth deceive you 
you might have holiness instead of the filth of wickedness 
and justification for condemnation ; and a blessing for the 
curse; and the state ofreconciledness, instead of the enmity 
that you are in to God : you might have peace of conscience 
instead of terrors or groundless security : you might serve 
a better master now and in better company ; and have better 
wages both here and hereafter. You do not know what you 
lose every day that you remain unconverted, more than all 
the pleasures of sin can afford you. Ask any of them that 
have escaped out of tliat condition that you are in, whether 



188 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

they are willing to return ? You see not perhaps that they 
have got any thing by the change, and therefore you think 
you lose nothing by continuing as you are ; hut their gains 
are out of sight : it is almost out of their own sight, and 
therefore it may well be out of yours. But if themselves 
should deny it, it is not therefore an uncertain or contemp- 
tible thing ; for the foundation of God standeth sure ; he 
knoweth who are his. If it were but to be employed upon 
higher things, and to escape the deadly wounds of con- 
science which you give yourselves, or else prepare for, it is 
no small gain to be a true believer ; and if they found them- 
selves in no better a case than they were before, they would 
be tempted to return to their former state ; but that they 
will not do for a world. I dare say, if you did know but the 
danger and horrible misery of the life that you now live, you 
would make as much haste out of it, as a man would do out 
of a house that was on fire over his head ; or as a man that 
was at sea in a leaking vessel, that if he did not bestir him- 
self as for his life to get it to the shore, would sink and 
drown him. And if you knew but the case of a converted 
soul, even of those that walk most heavily, and most bewail 
their own condition, you would not be out of it one day 
longer, if you could possibly help it. Well, I have shewed 
you what it is to be unconverted : if any of you dare yet go 
on in such a case, and unbelievingly cavil at the word of 
God, or carelessly trample it under your feet ; if God do for- 
sake you and leave you to yourselves, and if death do find 
you in that sad estate, you may thank yourselves. 



CHAPTER V. 



Having said thus much to you by way of terror, if it may 
be to drive you from an unconverted state, I shall not so 
leave you ; but shall next say somewhat also by way of al- 
lurement to draw you to a better state. For as there is 
enough in your misery to drive a sober man from it, so is 
there enough in the hope that is set before you, to draw any 
believing heart to embrace it. The Gospel is a joyful mes- 
sage, and bringeth glad tidings of salvation to all that enter- 
tain it ; if you will not shut your eyes by unbelief, orincon- 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 189 

siderateness, you shall see that God calls you not to your 
hurt or loss. If there be not more to be had in his service 
than in the service of the world, the flesh, or the devil, take 
your course, and never regard me more. If I do not give 
you sufficient reason to prove to you that you may make a 
better bargain by speedy conversion, than by continuing in 
your carnal, unconverted state, I am contented that you ne- 
ver more give me the hearing: for my part, I would not per- 
suade you to your hurt or loss, nor make such a stir about 
an uncertain gain ; nor about a small matter, were it never 
so certain : but my principal arguments are yet behind. 
Fear is not the principal affection of a true convert ; and 
therefore terrifying arguments are not the principal means ; 
yet these must be used, or else God had never put such an 
affection into man's heart ; nor such terrifying passages into 
his word : and we all feel the need and usefulness of it ; for 
in reason he that is in danger should know it. But yet, it 
is love that must be the predominant affection, and therefore 
it is the discovery of the amiableness of God, and the won- 
derful gain that comes by godliness that must be the princi- 
pal argument that we must use with you. For we know 
that men will not be directly affrighted into love, though 
they must be affrighted from the contrary that hindereth it : 
do not think that God hath no better argument to use with 
you, than to take you by the throat, and say, * Love me or 
I will damn thee.' Thus he will use to wean you from the 
contrary love, and to let you know the fruit of your folly, 
that he may equally carry on his work upon all the affec- 
tions of your souls together. But he that principally re- 
quireth your love, doth give you undeniable reason, why you 
should love him : and he that calls for your hearts, doth 
shew you that which might take with your hearts, and effec- 
tually win them, if your eyes were opened to see what he 
aheweth you. He draweth them as the loadstone doth the 
iron, by the force of his attractive love. If there be not more 
in God that is worth your love than in all the world, if all 
were yours, then hold on your present course and spare not. 
But why make I any comparison in such a case ? It were 
a dangerous irreverence in me, but that your necessity re- 
quireth it ; because wicked men do not only make a com- 
parison first, but also prefer the world before God, though 



190 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 



not in their tongues, yet in their hearts and lives : if I were 
but able to make you thoroughly know what that condition 
is that I persuade you to, I would desire no better argument 
to prevail with you ; were it in my power but to open your 
eyes to make you know what conversion is, and what it doth 
for those that have it, I should make no doubt of your speedy 
conversion : for none withdraw their hearts from God, but 
for want of knowing him ; and none are against a holy life, 
but those that understand not sufficiently what it is : and 
none do prefer this world, and the pleasures and profits of 
it before the glorious things that God doth offer them, but 
only they that are cheated and bewitched by it, and know 
not what it is that they dote upon. If I were but able to 
give you such a sight as Stephen had, (Acts vii, 56.), when 
he saw the heavens opened, and Christ standing at the right 
hand of God, I should have no need to call you from your 
fleshly vanities. O how contemptuously would you throw 
away your former pleasure, and run to see and be possessors 
of that glory ! If I could but bring you with Paul into the 
third heaven, to see the unutterable things that every true 
believer shall possess, I would give you no thanks to cast 
off this world, and presently to turn to God. Nay, if you 
had but the light about you that Paul had at his conversion, 
it would do much : but what talk I of these extraordinary 
things ? If you did but know by a sound belief such as all 
the converted have, what a blessed life it is that we invite 
you to, away you would come without delay ; as the apos- 
tles when Christ called them from their trades and friends, 
and bid them follow him, they presently left all, though they 
saw nothing in the world to draw them on ; so would you, 
if you were but well illuminated. And because all that I 
can do in this work, is to propound to your understandings 
the excellency of that condition which I persuade you to, I 
shall next fall upon that, and leave the issue to God, desiring 
him to open your eyes, to see what shall be propounded. 

1. When a sinner is converted, he is delivered from the 
power of satan. Acts xxvi. 18. The bonds of your captivity 
will all be broken in your return to Christ, as Peter's chains 
fell off him, and the prison doors were set open, when the 
angel raised him up, (Acts xii. 7.) ; so will it be with thy soul 
when God converteth thee. Ignorance and wilfulness in 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 191 

fleshly pleasures, and the love of this world, these are the 
chains that satan holds men in ; and conversion will bring 
thee "from darkness to light," Acts xxvi. 18. Even from 
the " power of darkness into the kingdom of Christ," Col. i. 
13. It will bring such a marvellous light into thy mind, as 
thou never hadst before, which will make thee marvel at the 
riches of grace and glory, and marvel at the wonderful love 
of God, and wonder at that thy former folly that couldst neg- 
lect it. Thus will God bring thee " out of darkness into his 
marvellous light," 1 Pet. ii.9. Telling you what this light is, 
will not be sufficient to make you know it, till you see it your- 
selves. You shall then have other apprehensions of things 
than now you have, even of the same things which you see 
and seem to know. You will have another knowledge of 
the world, and of Christ, and grace, and duty, and all spi- 
ritual things, even of good and evil than now you have. As 
the first sin did open Adam's eyes to know good and evil by 
sad experience, as having lost the good and felt the evil, 
and also to know them in a separated sense, as distinct and 
separated in his thoughts from God ; so true conversion will 
open your eyes to know good and evil by a blessed expe- 
rience, even to see God the chiefest good, as recovered to 
you for your felicity ; and sin and hell the greatest evils 
from which you are delivered ; and to see God in all the 
creatures, and the respect and tendency they have all to 
him. I cannot by bare telling you make you conceive what 
a marvellous change will be in your understanding ; what an 
excellent and marvellous light you will see, when once con- 
version hath opened your eyes. Let me endeavour by a fa- 
miliar comparison to acquaint you with somewhat of it in 
general, though I cannot give you the thing itself. You 
know that a dog that liveth in the house with you doth see 
the same things, and place, and persons in the house as you 
do ; he knoweth every room, and every person in the house : 
suppose now that God should turn this dog suddenly into a 
man ; do. you think there would not be a marvellous change 
in his apprehension ? Would he not see something in every 
thing, and place, and person to marvel at? Would he not 
know all these things in another manner than before he did ? 
I do not say, that the change which conversion makes is 
just of such a kind as this ; but it is very marvellous, and 



192 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

we may by such a similitude help our apprehensions of it. 
When some of the poor naked Indians have been brought 
into this land, how strange did every thing seem to them? 
When they came into London, with what wondering would 
they gaze about them, as if they had been in another world ? 
And will not a poor converted soul do so, when God hath 
newly opened his eyes, and made him see that which he 
never saw before ? O then he sees that evil in sin that 
maketh him wonder ! That ravishing love in Christ that 
maketh him wonder ! That amiable glory in the face of 
God, and that truth in the promises of eternal blessedness, 
that makes him wonder ! When before he could see no- 
thing to wonder at in any of them. Oh ! sirs, if you knew 
but the pleasure of this marvellous light that God by con- 
version would let into your souls, you would never rest till 
you found yourselves converted. Every man hath a natural 
desire of knowledge, and in a natural way they are seeking 
after it ; and many do even in the use of these means, which 
should be spiritual, employ themselves but in natural seek- 
ing. One man thinks that common learning can help him 
to this light, and therefore he readeth and studieth day and 
night ; and I deny not but in its place it is good. Another 
thinks that among this or that party it is to be found, and in 
the discovery of this or that low opinion it doth consist ; but 
when all is done, it is the great and common truths that are 
most wonderful, and converting grace that must shew men 
the glory of them. It is not in rarities of new discoveries, 
nor strange principles that were never heard of till now, that 
this light is to be found. But it is in the substance of 
Christian verity. I tell you, sirs, you that now use to mut- 
ter over your creed for a prayer, and hear the catechism 
without understanding it, if your eyes were opened by con- 
verting grace, you would marvel at the very doctrine of the 
creed and catechism. You would see that excellency, and 
feel that weight in common truths, that would exceedingly 
take up your very hearts. You now know not what it is to 
believe in God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost ; but 
then these three words would seem to you of greater glory, 
than the sun at noon-day ; they would find you both work 
and wonder, and yet delight, if you had no more than these 
to think of. 



I 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 193 

And do you love the darkness rather than such light ? 
Have you been so long in the dungeon, that you are fallen in 
love with it, and are loath to come out? Is all this light 
so small a matter in your eyes ? Are you like an owl or bat 
that cannot endure the light of the sun ? Or rather like a 
thief that hates the daylight, because he is afraid of being 
made known ? Oh ! sinners, I beseech you come away and 
leave your dungeon state of darkness, and live in the light 
of the countenance of God. " It is a pleasant thing for the 
eyes to see the sun *." Deprive not yourselves of the plea- 
sure which is offered you. 

And it is not only your chains of darkness, but also your 
wilfulness and blind affections that converting grace will 
turn you from : these bonds of worldly profits and pleasure 
that seem so strong to others that they cannot overcome 
them, you will shake them off as Samson did his bonds, 
and they will not be able to separate you from the love of 
God : the same tempter that so easily prevails with others, 
will not be able to prevail against you; ** The God of peace 
will tread him under your feet^." In the work of conver- 
sion Christ layeth siege to the heart of a sinner, which na- 
turally is Satan's garrison, and he battereth it, and starveth 
it, and forceth it to yield, " and bindeth that strong man 
that possesseth it in peace ^^.^ So he is cast out of his pos- 
session by converting grace ; he hath not the same power 
there that he had before ; once he could have commanded 
the man to swear, or be drunk, or neglect his soul, and he 
would have done it ; but now he hath no such power : once 
he could have turned their thoughts against Christ, and their 
tongues to cavil against his word, but now he cannot ; they 
are now under another government. They have now that re- 
pentance to the acknowledgment of the truth, by which they 
are recovered out of the snares of the devil, who formerly 
led them captive at his will **. The very first day that you 
are converted, you are the freemen of Christ, who were the 
bond-slaves of the devil all your lives before. As ever then 
you would partake of this blessed privilege, resist no longer, 
but yield to the call of grace, that you may be converted. 

2. Another excellent privilege of a converted soul, is this; 
As soon as ever a man is converted, he is united or join^ 

» Eccle». xi. 7. »» Roro. x?i. «0. « Luke x\, «1. •* 2 Tira. ii. «5. 
VOL. VII O 



194 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

to Jesus Christ. This is the very root of all the rest. Con- 
version turneth men from satan to God ; it breaketh them 
oiF from their former lovers, and uniteth them to Christ as 
the husband of their souls. He is " the vine, and we are the 
branches, and into him we must be grafted, if we will have 
life *." He is the Head, and conversion is it that makes us 
his members ; giving us that faith, by which we receive him 
to dwell in our hearts ^: so that as the sovereign and subject 
make one commonwealth ; as the head and the body make 
one man, so Christ and his church are one. Whether or no 
the union be any more than relative, taking union in the 
strictest sense; yet it is wonderful and glorious, and a com- 
munication of holy qualifications doth follow it. We are 
one in relation, and one in judgment, as being of the same 
mind ; and one in affection, and one in regard of the simili- 
tude of nature, and many ways one in a larger sense. Here 
is the root of the saints' felicity. If you were one with the 
prince, you would not fear the want of honour or riches • 
you would not fear any thing that he could save you from. 
When Jonathan loved David as his own soul, he ventured 
his life to save him from his father's indignation: when La- 
zarus, whom Christ loved, was sick, he raised him from the 
dead. If you be once so near to Christ as to be one with 
him, what will he not do for you ? Will he neglect his own 
members ? Will he hurt himself? The apostle could use 
this argument with husbands to love their wives, because 
they are as their own body ; and " whoever hated his own 
flesh ? But nourisheth it and cherisheth it, even as Christ 
doth the church." From hence doth the apostle fetch the 
example of conjugal love; "husbands, love your wives, 
even as Christ loved the church :" yea, from this union ; 
" for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his 
bones ^." ** This is a mystery," saith the apostle, speaking 
of Christ and the church ^ ;" and a mystery of unspeakable 
consolation to the saints. O therefore resist not that grace 
that should convert you. If you would be united to Christ, 
come to him, and yield to the drawings of his love that you 
may be one with him, who is one with the Father, according 
to your capacity, for that is his will, concerning all that are 
truly converted. Judge now, whether it be not a most ho- 

« John XV. f Eph. iii. 17. ^ Epii. v. 5J5. 28—30. '' Ver. 32. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 195 

nourable and inconceivable felicity, that conversion doth 
advance the soul into. It was the greatest miracle of all 
God*s works, that ever he revealed to the sons of men, to take 
the human nature into union with the divine ; that Christ, 
who was God, should condescend to be made man : and the 
next is, that he will take his church into union with himself, 
and will magnify his love, in such a wonderful advancement 
of poor sinners, that without his grace they could not well 
believe it. 

3. Another benefit that followeth conversion, is this; As 
soon as ever a man is truly converted, he is made a member 
of the true church of Christ : for he is at once united to the 
head and to the body. A man may be a member of the vi- 
sible church, or rather, be visibly made a member of the 
church before conversion : but that is but as a wooden leg 
to the body ; or, as Bellarmine himself acknowledge th, they 
are not living but dead members : and as many of his friends 
whom he mentioneth, confess, they are but as the hair, or 
the nails, which are not properly members of the body, 
though they are in the body. Or, as Austin saith, like the 
chaff among the com, which is so a part of the field, as to 
be an appurtenance of the corn. So that till conversion, 
even the baptized and the most understanding men, are but 
as the straw and chaff in God's barn, and as the tares in his 
field, as Christ himself compareth them. But conversion 
doth effectually ingraft them into the body, and make them 
living members ; and so " by one Spirit we are all baptized 
into one body ' ;" and so, " we are the body of Christ and 
members in particular''." " All are not Israel that are of 
Israel," saith the apostle to the Romans. And " in Christ 
Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircum- 
cision, but a new creature, and faith that worketh by love '.*' 
" For circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the 
letter '"." " They are the circumcision that worship God in 
the spirit"." And it is not the mere baptism of water, but 
the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which is given in conversion 
that maketh you living members of the body. 

4. As soon as ever a sinner is truly converted, he hath a 
pardon of all the sins that ever he committed, be they never 

' 1 Cor. xii. IS. ^ Ver. «7. ' Gal. »i. 5. 15. Col. iii. 11. 

 Rom. ii. 99. " Pliil. iii. S. 



196 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

SO many, and never so great. Though with Paul he have 
been a persecutor of the church of God ; though he have 
with Manasseh, been a veiy sorcerer ; though he have hated 
godliness, and made a mock at it; though his very heart 
hath been against Christ all his days ; yet when he is once 
truly converted, he is pardoned. Though he have spent the 
flower of his youth in vanity ; though he have been a drudge 
for this world, and forgotten his soul, and the world to come ; 
though he have hindered others from conversion and salva- 
tion ; yet when he is once truly converted, he is forgiven. 
Though he have long resisted grace, and strove against his 
own salvation ; though he have stifled many convictions of 
conscience, and broke many purposes and promises, and 
much abused the patience of God ; yet, if the work of con- 
version be true, all this shall be pardoned and done away. 
For the Lord Jesus hath made satisfaction for all ; and there- 
upon hath made a conditional promise, that all that truly re- 
• pent and believe, shall be pardoned : and as soon as ever 
they perform the condition through his grace, the promise 
becomes effectual to them, and their iniquities are therein 
forgiven them. 

O what news is this to a weary, heavy-laden sinner ; to 
them that are bruised and broken under the sense of sin and 
wrath, that would give a world if they had it, for a pardon ! 
Why, come to Christ, sinner, and take it freely. He hath 
purchased it, and he freely offereth it ; but only to them that 
take himself: for God hath made these benefits appurtenances 
to himself; take Christ himself, and all is thine. O what 
comfort is it to such a sinner as Mary,that lay wiping Christ's 
feet with the hairs of her head, and washed them with her 
tears, to hear him say, " Thy sins are forgiven thee." Those 
sins that do so terrify the conscience, and those that lie 
asleep till conscience be enlightened ; thy secret sins, which 
the world knoweth not of, and thy open sins that have been 
thy shame, at the very hour of true conversion will be par- 
doned. All thy sinful thoughts, words, and actions ; sins 
against knowledge, conscience, consideration ; sins of igno- 
rance, and presumptuous sins, all shall be done away°. 
" Whom he calleth, them he justifieth p." " Christ is exalt- 
ed to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and for- 

• Actsxxvi. 18. Mark iv. 12. P Rom. viii. 30. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 197 

giveness of sins *J." And thus doth " he bless them, in turn- 
ing them from their iniquities'^;" and in turning away from 
them the punishment of that iniquity. He that sent John 
Baptist first to preach ** repentance, for the remission of 
sins * ;" and hath shed ** his own blood for the remission of 
sins * ;" and calleth men to repent for that end " ;" hath pro- 
mised to give it to all that thus repent and believe in him, 
and are converted to him "" ; and commanded his ministers to 
join these together, and " that repentance and remission of 
sin be preached in his name^." And may we not say with 
David, and after him with Paul, that they " are blessed 
whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered, and to 
whom the Lord will not impute sin^ ?" O therefore receive 
converting grace, that you may be made partakers of this 
blessedness. Take the counsel of Peter to Simon Magus, 
" Repent of thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the 
thoughts of thy heart may be forgiven thee *." Or as the 
same Peter to the Jews, " Repent ye, therefore, and be con- 
verted, that your sins may be blotted out **." O blessed hour 
that freeth the soul from such a load, that else would have 
sunk it as low as hell ! A day and a mercy that must never 
be forgotten by us. 

5. Another benefit is this ; As soon as a sinner is con- 
verted, he is reconciled to God : the former enmity is done 
away : though this be in substance the same with the former, 
yet doth it shew us our happiness in another consideration. 
A future reconciliation was purchased before by the blood 
of Christ, and a conditional reconciliation given out in the 
Gospel ; but the soul was never actually reconciled till the 
time of conversion. Before, a sinner did either presump- 
tuously intrude into the presence of God to his own danger, 
or else fled back through the terrors of his conscience. Oh ! 
the frowns of the face of God, were enough to deter a guilty 
soul ! What comfort could that man have to think of God, 
that lay under his continual curse and wrath ? But when 
once they are converted, the face of God then smileth on 
them, and his arms are open to embrace them, as the father's 
were to the returning prodigal. God cannot shew himself 

«» Acts V. St. ' Acts iU. '26. • Mark i.4. Luke HI. 3. 

» Malt, xxrl «8. " Acts ii. 38. « Acts x. 43. y Lake xxlv. 47. 

» Psal. xxxii. 1. Roiu. lv.7. » Acts viii. S2. "» Acts iii. 19. 



198 TREATI.se OB' CONVERSION. 

pleased with a graceless, carnal soul ; nor can he choose but 
be reconciled to the soul that is once possessed of his image, 
and reconciled unto him. As you are, so will he be to you. 
He did but stay for the turning of your hearts, that you 
might be fit to receive that kindness from him, which you 
are not fit for in the bondage of your sins. This is the hap- 
piness of a converted soul, that he hath the love and favour 
of Almighty God. Therefore doth Christ call them his 
friends*^. And what is it that he will not do for his friends, 
that did so much for us while we were enemies ^, O there- 
fore yield to the calls of God. The word of conversion is a 
word of reconciliation ; and this it is that he hath commit- 
ted to us, that we might " beseech men in his name and stead 
to be reconciled to God *." Which is only by being con- 
verted to God. Did you know the worth of peace with God 
you would quickly yield to return unto him. 

6. Another precious benefit to the converted, is. That they 
are the adopted sons of God ; which is a step higher, than 
to be barely reconciled and his friends. When they are 
planted into Christ the natural Son, they become adopted 
sons. For ** God sent his own Son made of a woman, made 
under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that 
we might receive the adoption of sons ; wherefore we are no 
more servants only but sons ^" This is a benefit not com- 
mon to all. It is as '* many as are led by the Spirit of God 
that are his sons s/* And they that are in their measure 
" blameless and harmless, without rebuke, in the midst of a 
crooked and perverse nation, among whom they shine as 
lights in the world V Christians, know your own felicity, 
that you may rejoice in it, and give glory to God. You may 
boldly draw near him, and call him your Father, and look for 
the love and bounty of a Father, at his hands. O wretched 
world, to despise so great a mercy as this is ! Doth it seem 
a small thing to them to be the sons of God ? It raised the 
blessed apostles into an admiration : " Behold what manner 
of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should 
be called the sons of God \'* And as a Father tendereth a 
son that he delights in, so doth the Lord the poorest of his 

<= John XV. 13—15. James ii. 23. ^ Rom. v. 10. « 2 Cor. v. 18 — 20. 

f Gal. iv. 4, 5. 7. g Rom. vili. 14. ^ Phil. ii. 15. 

* 1 John iii. 1. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 199 

people. The world, I told you, is divided into the children 
of God, and the children of the devil. And it is by conver- 
sion from sin to God, that men are known to be the children 
of God. If, therefore, you value this wonderful privilege, 
yield then to the grace of God, which would convert you. 

7. Another benefit of the converted, is. That they have 
the Spirit of Christ within them. By it doth Christ possess 
and govern them ; by it doth he make them like to himself, 
and work out all that is contrary to his holiness. For it is 
a cleansing Spirit, and a Spirit of holiness ^, By this he 
helpeth them against the flesh, and effectually mortifieth it '. 
By this doth he quicken them to newness of life ; for it is 
a "quickening spirit ""." By this it is that " he helpeth their 
infirmities, and teacheth them to pray "." By this he ** teach- 
eth them his law, and writeth it in their hearts °." By this 
he possesseth them with filial affection, and causeth them 
to " cry to him, Abba, Father i"." By this one Spirit, all his 
people have access to him*^. And by this they are made his 
habitation ^ And in the unity of this Spirit, they are one 
with the Lord, and among themselves ^ This Spirit is the 
earnest of their future glory *. And where this Spirit is, 
there is liberty from former slavery ". So that you see how 
great a mercy it is to have the Spirit of Jesus Christ within 
us ; and this is the case of all that are converted, and none 
but them. " For if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, 
the same is none of his ''." If you did but know what it is 
to be possessed by the Holy Ghost, when ungodly men have 
the spirit of uncleanness, you would not rest without this 
blessedness. 

8. Another part of the happiness of the converted, is. 
That all the promises of grace are theirs. They are the chil- 
dren of the promise, and God is, as it were, obliged to them, 
and hath engaged his word for their security y. All the pro- 
mises are in Christ, yea, and amen '. They, therefore, that 
are in Christ, must needs have part in them. O how full is 
the book of God, of free and precious promises to his peo- 

^ Rom. i. 4. ' G«l. V. 16, 17. Rom. vUi. 1, «. 14. » Rora. viii. ] 1, 

n Rom. viii, 26. E|>h. vi. 18. " t Cor. iii. 3. P Gal. i?. 6. 

q EpJi. ii. 18. ' Eph. ii. ««. • 1 Cor. »1. IT. xii. 12, IS. 

t 2 Cor. i. 22. ». 5 "2 Cor. iii. 17. » Rom. viii. 9. 

y Gal. iv. 28. iii. tt. Eph. iii. 6. » t Cor. I. 20. 



200 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

pie ! and all belong to thee that art converted. There hast 
thou promises for remission ; and promises for assistance 
against temptation ; and promises for acceptance of thy per- 
son, and duties ; and promises for protection and deliverance 
from evil ; and when thou readest them, thou mayst say * all 
those are mine/ He that knoweth that God is true, will not 
take a promise as an inconsiderable mercy. If men account 
it such a matter to have a lease, or deed of gift of land, and 
worldly riches, how should we value that covenant and tes- 
tament of our Lord ? In a word, " Godliness is profitable 
to all things ; having the promise of the life that now is, and 
of that which is to come ^. And what can any man desire 
more ? 

Yield therefore to the voice of grace, that you may be 
converted, and all the promises of grace will be yours : and 
then it will be an unspeakable comfort to you, that whatso- 
ever condition you are in, you have a promise of God that 
you shall be better. If you be in poverty, if in sickness, if 
at the hour of death, yet you have a promise, which is 
enough to support a believing soul. As one saith, ' I had 
rather be at the bottom of the sea with a promise, than in 
paradise without it." For there is no misery so deep, but 
we shall certainly be delivered from it, if we have but a pro- 
mise. But without it, Adam was not safe in innocency. 

9. Another benefit of the converted, is. That all their 
duties are pleasing to God. I mean not their sins, nor the 
failings of their duties ; for God will never be reconciled to 
these, when he is reconciled to the sinner. But the failings 
of all their duties are forgiven them, through the blood of 
Christ ; and the failing being forgiven, the duty is accepted 
and well-pleasing to God. ** By faith Abel offered a more 
excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness 
that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts. By faith 
Enoch had this testimony that he pleased God ^. The 
" sacrifice of their good works is pleasing to him ^." Their 
" prayer and alms-deeds come up before him ; for in every 
nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is ac- 
cepted of him *." And it is their study and work to do those 
things that please him, and walking in all pleasingness is 

•> 1 Tim. iv. 8. <= Heb. xi. 4, 5. «* Heb. xiii. 16. 

e Acts X. 4. 35. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 201 

accepted of him ^ And all this is through Christ in whom 
the Father was first well pleased «. O how great a consola- 
tion is this to the saints ! See that you be truly converted, 
and go to God, and fear not lest he reject you further than 
is necessary to reverence and caution. When he abhorreth 
the gilded sacrifice of the hypocrite, he will accept that 
which seemeth weaker from thee. He will hear thy very 
groans and tears, and broken expressions. Lament over thy 
weaknesses, and see that thou disown them, and then thou 
shalt find, that God will not disown thy services for them. 
O what a comfort is this in a time of extremity, in trouble 
of conscience, in sickness, and at death, to have God to be 
well pleased with all our duties, and to know that he will 
not abhor our prayers. The time is near. Christian, when 
thou wilt find this privilege more worth to thee than a thou- 
sand worlds, that God will let thee come near him with ac- 
ceptance, and bid thee welcome, and hear thy prayers ; and 
the time is coming when unconverted sinners would give a 
world if they had it, for such a privilege, and say, O that I 
could go to God, and have a gracious hearing as well as 
they ! But it will not be, because they knew not the day of 
their visitation. 

10. Another benefit of the converted, is this ; The angels 
of God have a special order and commission to attend them. 
They are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for 
them who shall be heirs of salvation ^. Note here, that an- 
gels are servants, not to us, but to God for us ; and that it 
is in a special manner for the heirs of salvation : and that it 
seems it is all the angels that are designed to this office. I 
say not, all the glorious spirits that are before the throne of 
God. For, I presume not to determine whether there be 
not other spirits besides the angels ; for the word angel 
si^nifieth a messenger, and therefore it is only these that are 
employed as God's messengers, that are called by that name ; 
and those that believe in Christ, are said to have their own 
angels always beholding the face of God ». These doth he 
send to deliver his servants in distress, as they did, Dan. iii. 
21. vi. 22. And Peter, Acts xii. For, " he giveth his an- 
gels charge over them to keep them in all their ways, they 

'Heb.iii.«l. PhU.hr. 18. t JohniU.sy. Col. 1 10. r Bfatt. iii. 17. xvii. 5. 
^ >| Ueb. i. 14. ' Mutt, zviii. 10. 



202 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

shall bear them up in their hands, lest they dash their foot 
against a stone ''." Yea, they have their office also for the 
good of souls. An angel appeared to Christ himself, and 
strengthened him in his agony '. And as evil spirits can 
hurt the souls of the wicked, so no doubt but the good can 
help the souls of the righteous ; and, therefore, when satan 
comes to deceive, he is said to be transformed into an angel 
of light "". Yea, when the soul goeth out of the body, these 
angels are the conductors of it into the presence of God", 
where we shall be made equal to the angels themselves °. 
O, if the eyes of true Christians were but opened to see 
their glorious attendance, they would be more sensible of 
this privilege, and thankful for it, than now they be. God 
could do all things for us without instruments if he pleased, 
but as he rather chooseth to work by instruments and second 
causes for our bodies, so also by these invisible instruments 
both for body and soul. When Saul had sinned against 
God, and was forsaken by him, the good Spirit was taken 
from him, and an evil spirit given him. Some common be- 
nefits even common men may have by these angels while 
they forfeit not their helps, but not that special benefit as 
the saints. The world cannot distinguish the righteous 
from the wicked, but the angels of God can ; for they must 
needs know their own charge, and who it is that Christ hath 
especially committed to their trust. 

11. Another excellent benefit of the converted, is this. 
As they are true members of the catholic church, (whatso- 
ever any schismatics may say to the contrary, that would 
confine the catholic church to their own party,) so have they 
communion with the whole church, and many spiritual ad- 
vantages by that communion. Besides that external com- 
munion in church order and ordinances, which the ungodly 
may have as well as they, there is a spiritual internal com- 
munion, which is proper to the living, converted members. 
All the saints have one Spirit of holiness, to animate them p. 
And they all intend the same end, and conspire in the same 
way for the accomplishment. God is their common end, as 
he is their common original "i. They have all " one God, 

^ Psal. xci. 11, 12. ' Luke xxii. 43. " 2 Cor. xi. t4. 

" Luke xvi. 22. ** Luke xx. 36. p Rom, viii. 9. 1 Cor. xii. 

1 Rom. xi. 36. 1 Cor. viii. 6. 11, 12. 




TREATISK OF CONVERSION. 203 

one Christ, one faith," though they may differ in many 
smaller opinions, and to " every one of them is given grace, 
according to the measure of the gift of Christ "■." And so 
they " are all one body and one Spirit," and must endeavour 
to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace*." 
They are members of one heavenly city, *' even Jerusalem, 
which is above, the mother of us all," where they shall be 
perfected *. And of the militant church, the city of God, 
while they are here on earth. It is the design of God in the 
fulness of time, to gather them all into one, in Christ, yea, 
to make them and the angels in heaven to be one body ". 
They have here the same officers and means, even apostles, 
and prophets, and their holy writings, pastors and teachers, 
and the use of ordinances, and this for the edifying and per- 
fection of the body, " till they all come in the unity of the 
faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect 
man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. 
That speaking the truth in love, they may grow up into him 
in all things which is the head, Christ : from whom the whole 
body fitly joined together and compacted by that which 
every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in 
the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, to 
the edifying of itself in love *." 

Moreover, all the whole church doth constantly pray for 
every member ; not only as for those that are yet unconvert- 
ed, that they may have grace, because they have no absolute 
promise to -be heard in that; and that they shall hot be 
heard for all men in general, they are certain, and therefore 
may not so ask it. But when they pray for the godly, it is 
as for those for whom they have a promise. As they live in 
the constant love of one another, which is the mark by 
which the world must know them, and an effect of the Spi- 
rit which doth animate the whole body y, so doth this love 
express itself in the breathings forth of constant desires for 
the prosperity of the whole, and each part. O Christians, 
what an excellent privilege is this, that the poorest man or 
woman of you that is converted, hath thousands and thou- 
sands of the prayers of the saints going for you to God from 

' Epii. iv. 5—7. • E|)h. iv. 3, 4. ' Heb. xii. J2, 23. 

" E|)h. i. 10. « Eph. It. U, l3. 15, 16. ^ I Pet. i. ««, 1 John iv. 

7,8. Johuzlii.34, 35. 



204 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

day to day. Which way ever you are going, or whatsoever 
you are doing, this stock is improving for you, this work is 
going on. When you are about other matters and think not 
of it, there are thousands of holy people praying for you. 
When you grow cold and faint in prayer, there are thou- 
sands of fervent Christians at prayer for you. When you 
have caught a fall, and conscience is troubled, and you dare 
scarce go to God again, there are thousands of Christians 
that are at prayer for you, tliat have clearer consciences and 
boldness with God. Is not this a comfort when your graces 
are weak, when temptations are strong, and troubles, and 
fears, and doubts are many, to remember you have thousands 
of the people of God at prayer for you? Is not this a great 
comfort in the greatest dangers, when you are afraid of your 
salvation, to remember how many thousands are at prayer 
for your salvation ? Nay, it is even all the whole church of 
God. And you may well think that God will not easily de- 
ny the prayer of his whole church. He that hath promised 
to hear two or three, yea, every single person, that asketh 
any thing in the name of Christ according to his will, is un- 
likely to deny his whole church, when they join together for 
any such thing. And this is a matter that is according to 
his will, that his truly converted people should persevere, 
and be preserved in his love, and safely brought on to his 
heavenly kingdom^. O remember this in your doubts and 
troubles, that all the church of Christ is daily at prayer with 
God for your salvation. And is not this a great comfort to 
you ; in time of sickness, or at the hour of death, to remem- 
ber, that how the whole church of God is at prayer for you? 
You send to this-friend and that friend which you think have 
interest in God, and you are glad if you can but get them to 
pray for you. Htow glad then should you be, that all the 
church prayeth for you, who most certainly have so great an 
interest in him ? The spirit of prayer, which teacheth the 
people of God to pray, will not forget you, nor suffer them 
to forget you, but will make them pray for all the body, and 
every member of it ; as the very tenor of the Lord's prayer 
shewethyou: and Col. i. 3. Eph. vi. 18. Col. iv. 3. 1 Tim. 
ii. 1. Rom. i. 9. xv. 30. O then, sirs, if you be wise, yield 
to that grace of Christ that would convert you, that you may 

»2Tim. iv. 18. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 205 

be members of this body, and live in the spiritual commu- 
nion of it. For, alas ! to join externally in the communion 
of the church, when you have not communion with them in 
the Spirit, will but increase your condemnation at the last. 
You are every day among the saints of God, but you know 
them not, nor the Spirit by which they live, nor the spiritual 
part of the work which they do. Such a communion as the 
dead corps have together which you tread upon (whose bones 
and dust lie mingled in the earth) in comparison of our com- 
munion that are here together in the presence of God among 
the living ; even such a communion have the unconverted in 
the visible church, in comparison of that spiritual commu- 
nion with the people that are converted. 

12. Another excellent benefit to the converted, is. That 
they have the constant intercession of Jesus Christ, God and 
man, in his heavenly priesthood, at his Father's right hand 
in the heavenly glory. Their head is not insensible of their 
wants, noB doth he disregard them ; the wrong that is done 
you, he takes as done to himself. " Saul, Saul, why perse- 
cutest thou me?" said he to one that trod upon his foot*. 
And the good that is done to you, or denied to you by others, 
he takes as done or denied to himself, as may be seen in 
Matt. XXV. 40. 45. Surely then he doth not forget us, 
though he be exalted to his glory. He is not like the poor 
silly creatures, that cannot bear exaltation without being 
puffed up, and forgetting themselves ; yea, their friends and 
their God. No ; his exaltation is spiritual and heavenly, 
perfecting his human nature to the greatest height that it is 
capable of : he liveth in the face of God who is love ; nay, 
into the personal union with the Godhead which is love, 
hath he assumed our nature long ago ; he was never more 
tender of Jerusalem, when he wept over them *»; or of his 
people when he wept, and bled, and died for them, than he 
is now of them in his glory. Though he caanot weep or 
grieve now as he did on earth, yet he can love now as much 
as ever he loved ; and therefore his eye is still upon our 
wants, his heart is set upon us for our good, he looks down 
from heaven upon every particular member ; he seeth that 
this man wants this grace, and that man wants that, and the 
other is in danger of this or that corruption or temptation ; 

• Acu ix. i. ^ Luke zis. 41. 



20(J TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

and he is daily carrying on the cure. It is he that sends this 
minister and the other minister as his apothecaries, with his 
medicines, and persuadeth you to take them for your good ; 
it is he that directeth this or that affliction to be a purge for 
some dangerous disease, when he seeth that easier means 
prevail not. You see not your chief Physician, he standeth 
out of your sight ; but he seeth you, and it is he that doth 
all for you that is done : as he prepared a medicine of his 
own blood to cure sick souls, while he was here upon earth, 
so he is now continually applying it to them for their cure. 
Do not think that all his love was shewed upon the cross, 
or tftat all that he doth for you by his blood was then done ; 
no : he is still pleading as it were that blood on your be- 
half unto his Father, and offering the sacrifice for you again 
in the holiest, which he once offered for you on the cross ; 
and is there a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek*^. 
And " because he continueth ever, he hath an unchangeable 
priesthood ; wherefore he is able also to save them to the 
uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he everliveth 
to make intercession for them ^." " For as by his own blood 
he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eter- 
nal redemption : so shall this blood of Christ, who through 
the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge 
our consciences from dead works to serve the living God *." 
For Christ " is not entered into the holy place made with 
hands, which is the figure of the true, but into heaven itself, 
now to appear in the presence of God, for us ^." For " after 
he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever, he is sat down 
on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till his 
(and our) enemies be made his footstool ; for by one offer- 
ing he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified s." 
So that we have a perfect high-priest that perfectly loveth 
us, who is representing our case before his Father, and 
pleading a perfect sacrifice for us ; and through him it is 
that we ourselves have *'" boldness to enter into the holiest, 
even by his blood, by the new and living way which he hath 
consecrated for us, through the veil, even his flesh : for, 
" having such an high-priest over the house of God, we may 
draw near in full assurance of faith," if we have a " true heart 

c Heb. viii. 1— 4. vil. S. 11. 15. ** Heb. vii. 24, ^5. 

* Heb. ix. 11. 14. f Heb. ix. 24. e Heb. x. 12—14. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 207 

sprinkled from an evil conscience, as our bodies are washed 
with his baptismal water ^." O what an unspeakable com- 
fort is this, to every truly converted soul ! The Son of God 
is at prayer for thee. Christian. If thou think that God will 
not hear thy own prayers ; no, nor hear the whole church's 
prayers ; dost thou think he will hear his Son's prayers, or 
not? The poor man that was born blind, could tell that 
" God heareth not sinners," that is, unconverted sinners ; but 
" if any man be a worshipper of God, and doth his will, him he 
heareth '." How then can he choose but hear him that had 
no sin ? and hear him that taketh away the sins of the 
world? He that said, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am 
well-pleased, hear him ;" will sure hear him himself, because 
he is so. He telleth his Father, " I know that thou hearest 
me always ^'" and it is not only his common intercession for 
his common salvation, which he giveth to the world : for so, 
when " he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered 
among the transgressors, and bare the sins of many, he made 
intercession for the transgressors ^'* And said, " Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they do." And so he 
procureth them a conditional pardon and salvation, with the 
means and mercies that have a tendency thereto. But it is 
the special intercession for that special grace which he com- 
municateth to none but his living members. Read that ex- 
cellent prayer, John xvii. which he putteth up to the Father 
for his own, and remember that these requests are for you, 
and that it is for all that shall believe in him through the 
world that he thus intercedeth, verse 20. O what a com- 
fort is it to a poor Christian, that in his greatest infirmities, 
and deepest sense of unworthiness, he hath the beloved of 
the Father to take his prayers and present them to God, 
and to plead his cause more effectually than he can do his 
own. What say you then to this, you that are yet in the 
flesh, and unacquainted with the life of grace; would you 
have a Saviour to speak for you to the Father? Yea, one 
who hath all power in heaven and earth committed to him, 
and "is able to save to the uttermost, all those that come 
to God by him." O yield then speedily to converting 
grace, and rest not till this work be wrought upon your 

'• Heb. X. 19— «. « John ix. 31. k John xi. 4«. 

> Isa. Iui.1%. 



208 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

souls : this blessed state may be yours as well as other 
men's, if you do not now neglect it and refuse it. 

13. Another excellent benefit to the converted, is. That 
God hath assured them that all things are theirs, and shall 
work to their good. The promise is expressed, 2 Cor. iv. 15. 
1 Cor. iii. 21. Rom. viii. 28. Not that they have a pro- 
priety in other men's possessions in civil respects ; but 
finally, other men, and their possessions, and all the world 
are for their good. As the world at first was made for Adam 
and his offspring, so is it redeemed from ruin for the second 
Adam and his offspring, in a special manner ; the earthly 
proprietors shall have it in possession, and many of them 
not have a thousandth part of the benefit by it as others 
that possess it not : the physician hath his skill in 
his own profession : but the patient that is recovered by it, 
may have more benefit by it than he that possesseth it : the 
whole frame of heaven and earth are in perpetual motion for 
the glory of the saints; are all conjoined by the overruling 
Providence, and are carrying on the same design of God, 
when they seem at the greatest odds among themselves. 
When the instruments themselves are unacquainted with 
their own employment, and know not what it is that they 
are doing, yet God knoweth, who seeth and ruleth them all. 
The business that God hath in hand is to build the heavenly 
Jerusalem, to gather to himself the whole number of his 
elect that are scattered through the world "^. And to make 
them a city for his own habitation, and a people for his ever- 
lasting praise : and the very persecutors of the church are 
but now hewing them and squaring them, and fitting them 
for the building : when God seeth us sick of a pleurisy, he 
often useth the sword of an enemy to let us blood, which 
shall as certainly do the cure as the tenderest hand. The 
medicine knoweth not that it is healing a man's disease ; 
the lancet knoweth not that it is saving a man's life by tak- 
ing away his blood, but he that useth them knoweth what 
he is doing. Herod and Pilate, and the people of the Jews 
thought they had been securing their own seats, and the 
liberty of their nation, by crucifying one that called himself 
King of the Jews : they little knew that they were shedding 
that blood that was to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world, 

»" Matt. xxiv. SI. John xi. 52. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 209 

and crucifying that flesh that was given for the life of the^ 
world ° : but God knew what he was doing by them : for, 
they did nothing but what his counsel had determined should 
come to pass °. Pharaoh thought he was securing his in- 
terest ; but God knew he was getting himself glory, and his 
people a wonderful deliverance by his obstinacy. And even 
satan himself is as much overreached in his devices and en- 
terprises against the saints as their earthly enemies are. He 
is but exercising their graces, and driving them to Christ, 
and honouring the power of his blood and Spirit eventually, 
when he seeketh to devour them : his temptations do but 
make them the more watchful : or if they fall, they rise with 
the greater hatred of sin, and love to Christ, and thankful- 
ness for his blood and pardoning grace, and renewed reso- 
lution to walk more carefully for the time to come : O bles- 
sed state, where all the world, both good and bad, both 
friends and foes, both angels and devils are all carrying on 
the work of our salvation, some with delight, and some un- 
willingly, some with understanding, and some not knowing 
what they do ! What a state of comfort hath that man, 
that may be assured that whatsoever befalleth him, 
shall be for his good, and that all things do work together 
for the best ! I confess I have had myself so much comfort 
from that one promise, Rom. viii. 28. that I would not have 
been without it for a world. When I have had no particular 
discovery of the tendency of a providence, and under afflic- 
tion, and the appearance of death, have had nothing from 
below to support me, that one promise hath appeared so full, 
that I thought if there were no more, it might abundantly 
supply my soul with consolation : what fear should we have 
of want, or enemies, of sickness, or death, or any thing that 
may be terrible to the flesh, as long as we know that all 
things do but conspire to our salvation ? And though none of 
the wheels in the chariot of providence should know which 
way or whither they are moving themselves, yet do they all 
serve to convey us to our glory ; it is a matter that is past 
the belief of the carnal world, but it is a certain, sealed 
truth, that when the persecutor is treading down and tor- 
menting the poor, despised saints, it is the saint that is the 
gainer, and all this is for his good, and his ignorant enemy 

• John vi. 51. " Act* iv. 28. 

VOL. VII. P 



210 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

is scouring off his rust, and preparing him for his master's 
use, and for his glory, and is himself the loser, and the mi- 
serable wretch, when he is highest in his honour, and deep- 
est in his cruelty, and proudest in his triumphs. Why poor 
sinners, do not your hearts within you long to be partakers 
of this blessed state ? Is it not worth all that you can do 
or suffer, yea, worth ten thousand worlds, to be such an one 
as I have now described to you ? Why, you may be such 
if your own folly and neglect exclude you not, God hath not 
shut you out of the promise ; O do not shut out yourselves 
by refusing his converting grace. 

14. Another most excellent benefit to the converted, is. 
That they are past their greatest danger, and have done the 
greatest business of their lives, and now are ready for death 
and judgment, whensoever it shall come. Not that all dan- 
ger is over, or all enemies yet overcome, or all their work 
done, nor that they are yet perfectly ready to die ; but the 
main work is done, and the main conquest of the enemy is 
over, and the main danger is past, and in the main they are 
prepared for their change. What had we to do here but to 
prepare for glory, and in this short and troublesome life to 
get interest in a better, that shall never end ? And with all 
that are truly converted this is done : at the very hour that 
God converted them, he made them his sons, he pardoned 
their sins, and gave them right to everlasting glory : when 
he gives you Christ, he gives you all things, or puts you 
into a condition wherein you may well think he will give 
you all things, Rom. viii. 32. O, happy day ! may that man 
or woman say, as long as they live, when God did translate 
them out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of 
his dear Son ! Many keep their birth-days as a day of re- 
joicing or feasting while they live, when Solomon saith, 
" the day of death is better than the day of birth p." But 
they that know the day of their new birth may well make 
that a day of rejoicing while they live. Oh ! sirs, what a 
blessed change doth that one day or hour make, when God 
shall presently bring up the heart of a sinner to himself, and 
join them truly to Jesus Christ, and forgive all the sins that 
ever they did, and give them right to everlasting glory ! 
You are like a man that is pursued by his enemies, and as 

P Eccles. vii. 1. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 211 

soon as ever he can but get into such a castle or garrison, 
he is safe : so, when you first get into Christ by a living, ef- 
fectual faith, that very hour were you out of the reach of the 
prevailing, commanding power of hell ; then was the strong 
man cast out of your souls ; then were you brought from 
under the curse of the law, and the wrath of God, If death 
had found you one hour before that change, you had been 
damned wretches in hell for ever : and if death should come 
but one hour after that change, you will certainly be glori- 
fied saints with Christ. This is true, sirs, how strange so- 
ever it may seem to you : and the reason is at hand, because 
that the hour before your conversion, you were the members 
of satan, you were in the flesh, and had no saving interest 
in Christ or in the promise : and the hour after true conver- 
sion, you are members of Christ and children of the promise, 
and have part in him who is Lord of all. I deny not but 
you must still " watch and pray, that you enter not into 
temptation ;" and for all the " promise that is left you of 
entering into rest," you must ** fear lest you should seem to 
come short of it ^i." And you must still stand on your guard 
in all the spiritual armour, and work and fight out your sal- 
vation, and quit yourselves like men to the end : but yet I 
may well say that the main brunt is over ; the enemy is dis- 
possessed of his chiefest hold ; he that ruled you is now cast 
out, and though he be not quite under your feet, yet he 
shortly will be : and your greatest business now is to keep 
him out and to stand on your defence, and " keep that you 
have, that none may take your crown from you ;" and to fol- 
low on the conquered enemy, in the pursuit, till none re- 
main : and to ** grow in grace, and perfect your holiness in 
the fear of God," and cast out the remnants of your former 
filthiness ^ Hearken, therefore, poor sinners, and as ever you 
are friends to your own souls, neglect not that grace that 
would bring you into this condition. Wduldyou not think 
yourselves happy, if it were thus with you ? 

15. Another most excellent benefit of the converted, is. 
That they are the rightful heirs of everlasting glory, and as 
soon as the soul is gone out of the body, they shall have 
possession of it : and at the day of judgment they shall have 
a blessed resurrection, and shall themselves be justified in 

4 Heb. iv. 1 '9 Pet iii. ult. t Cor. v'tu 1. xiii. 9. Heb. vi. 1. 



212 TREATISE OF IIONVERSION. 

judgment, and also with Christ shall judge the world, 
and so shall be fully possessed of that glory in soul and 
body, and shall live in the everlasting praise of their Re- 
deemer. Here are many particular benefits, which for bre- 
vity I join together. (1.) They are now the heirs of e;lory, 
for being the sons of God, they are co-heirs with Christ, 
though they must follow him in sufferings, before they come 
to the possession of their inheritance. " The Spirit wit- 
nesseth with our spirits that we are the children of God ; and 
if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with 
Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be 
glorified together *." Though now in our minority we differ 
not from servants, yet "being sons we are heirs of all V 
When moved with holy fear we prepare the ark, and hide 
ourselves in Christ by faith, and become the heirs of the 
righteousness of faith, even then also do we become heirs of 
the end of that righteousness ". When we receive our in- 
terest in the promise, that promise makes us heirs''. O, 
brethren, that you could but conceive the greatness of this 
blessedness, which even the poorest beggar in the world may 
have that is rich in faith ; for even they " are heirs of that 
kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him ^" 
How certainly shall these be partakers of that glory, when 
they " have finished their course, and fought the good 
fight ^" For God hath " laid up a crown of salvation, for 
all such as love his appearing." And it is conversion that 
bringeth us into this blessed state, and the unconverted 
have no part or fellowship in it. See Tit. iii. 4 — 7. " But 
after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward 
man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have 
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the wash- 
ing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost ; which 
he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour : 
that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs 
according to the hope of eternal life." So that it is conver- 
sion that bringeth us into this happy condition : O, therefore, 
bless God if you find he hath wrought this work upon your 
souls. Yet be not careless for the time to come, but " let 
every one of you shew the same diligence to the full assu- 

» Rora. viii. 16, 17. ' Gal.iv. 1.7. " Heb. xi. 7. 

» Gal. iii. 29. y Jame» ii. 5. ' » Tim. iv. 7, 8, 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 213 

ranee of hope unto the end : that ye be not slothful, but 
followers of them that through faith and patience inherit the 
promise." And then doubt not, for God hath confirmed 
your salvation by his oath. " For God being willing abun- 
dantly to shew to the heirs of promise the immutability of 
his counsel, confirmed it by an oath ;" saith the apostle, 
" that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible 
for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who 
have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before us, 
which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and 
stedfast, and which entereth into that which is within the 
vail ; whither Jesus Christ the forerunner, is for us entered *." 

(2.) Hereupon it follows that whensoever the righteous 
die, their souls are conveyed by angels into that glory *». 
And when they ** depart, they are with Christ ^." And when 
they are '* absent from the body, they are present with the 
Lord *^." Of which they may ** be confident as walking by 
faith, and not by sight, and knowing that if our earthly house 
of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of 
God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens ;" 
and therefore may '* groan earnestly, desiring to be clothed 
upon with our house which is from heaven *." And when 
we die, we may say with Stephen, ** Lord Jesus receive my 
spirit ^" And were our death as ignominious as the thieves 
on the cross, yet that day should we be with Christ in para- 
dise, Luke xxiii. 43. O blessed people that live in such a 
case, so near the door of a more blessed life ! How can 
you endure to be out of this condition of hope and peace, 
one day or hour ? Oh ! that you did but know the blessed- 
ness that you neglect. 

(3.) But yet, this is not all, but the greatest part of the 
blessedness remains till the day of judgment, and then there 
are these four benefits to be received. 1. The righteous 
shall have a blessed resurrection ; not the resurrection of 
damnation, which will be the lot of all the rest ; but the re- 
surrection of life, as Christ distinguisheth them, John v. 28, 
29. The graves shall be no longer able to detain them, but 
he that conquered death by his own resurrection, will by the 
same divine power again overcome it by the resurrection of 

» Heb. yi. 11, It. IT— tO. * Luke xvi. ««. * Phil. i. «3. 

«» a Cor. V. 8. ' t Cor. v. 1—3. 6, 7. ' Acts vii. 59. 



214 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

his people. And as his natural body hath already triumphed 
over it, so shall his mystical body at that day : he that 
made heaven and earth of nothing, will by the same al- 
mightiness accomplish this : read 1 Cor. xv. throughout. 
2. And being raised and brought to judgment, the next be- 
nefit will be their final justification. They have now the 
justification and pardon of the Gospel, and then they shall 
have the final j ustification of the Judge. For he will give to 
every man according to right, and his promise made this 
their right through the blood of Christ. For, " there is no 
condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk 
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit e." Whatsoever sin 
can then be charged on them, they can answer all by shew- 
ing the Gospel pardon in the blood of Christ, and if their 
title be questioned, they can prove it by their faith and sin- 
cere obedience. So all that repent and are converted, will 
then '* have their sins blotted out, when that time of refresh- 
ing shall come from the presence of the Lord •*." It is not 
possible that Christ should condemn his own body and con- 
demn those that have believed in him, and sincerely loved 
him: so dear a friend, so tender-hearted a Saviour, that 
hath bought us so dearly, and sanctified us and cleansed us, 
and given us aright to that justification by his promise, can- 
not possibly condemn us after all this. As certainly as 
Christ himself is justified, and his promise true, and his love 
unchangeable, so certainly shall all the converted be then 
absolved. 3. And not only so, but also with Christ they 
shall judge the world : for so is the plain word of promise, 
1 Cor. vi. 2. Yea, they shall judge the angels themselves. 

(4.) And lastly, they shall take possession of their glory ; 
and enter into the joy of their Lord^ " Then shall the 
righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Fa- 
ther, when the wicked are cast into that furnace of fire, 
where shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth''." " He that 
hath ears to hear let him hear," saith Christ, when he had 
spoken these words : and he that will not hear such things 
as these, and regard them, will one day wish that he never 
had ears, and never had a heart in his breast, or else that it 
had been better. 

Oh ! dear friends ! that I were but able to make you 

s Rom. viii. l. h Actsiii. J 9. ' Matt. xxv. 21, 23, ^ Matt. xiii. 42, 43. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 215 

know the difference between the righteBlis and the wicked 
at that day. Surely I should not need then to say any more 
to you to make you apprehensive of the necessity of conver- 
sion, and to make haste to entertain that grace that is of- 
fered you. If the crown of glory be worth seeking, then 
must converting grace be sought : if an everlasting blessed- 
ness with Christ and his holy angels be worth the having, 
renewing grace is worth the having. Lift up your heads 
then Christians, and rejoice in the hope that is set before 
you. O bless the Lord that ever he brought you into the 
kingdom of grace, which is but the beginning of the kingdom 
of glory. As sure as your natural birth was your entrance 
into this natural world, so sure was your new birth the en- 
trance into a better world. For your life eternal was begun 
when you began to have the saving knowledge of God, and 
his Son Jesus Christ. He that hath given you the earnest 
of his Spirit, and who *' hath sealed us with the holy Spirit 
of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, till the 
redemption of the purchased possession ^" will doubtless^ 
give us the inheritance itself. Fear not. Christian, the Lord 
that hath promised will not deceive thee, for he never yet 
deceived any. But as sure as the sun doth shine in the fir- 
mament, so sure shalt thou live in the heavenly Jerusalem, 
and be joined with the holy angels of God in his everlasting 
praises, and then thou wilt better know than now thou canst 
do, what God did for thee that day that he did convert thee. 
I know it is the business of the enemy of thy salvation, if it 
might be, to draw thee back into thy former state of death 
and darkness ; and when he cannot do that, to rob thee at 
least of the comfort of thy felicity, that thou mightest doubt, 
and fear, and live in perplexity, as if thou wert not the heir 
of glory. Because as he is loath to be tormented before the 
time, so is he loath that thou shouldst be comforted before 
the time ; but do not thou believe him ; suffer him not to 
hide thy blessedness from thine eyes ; O, remember it can- 
not be loved, if it be not believed; thou wilt lose thy joy 
and God his praise, if the tempter prevail with thee to deny 
thy mercy. Believe then, and give God the glory by 
believing. 

16. Another of the blessings of a converted man, is. That 
• % Cor. i. St. V. 5. 



216 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

new life which he hath begun, is a life of health, and peace, 
and comfort, and the very beginning of his everlasting peace 
and life ; and the more he hath of it, the more happy will his 
life be. It is not only our suffering that is the way to reign- 
ing, and our tribulation by which we must enter into the 
kingdom of God ; but we have also peace the way to peace, 
and life the way to life, and joy the way to joy and glory. 
Our tribulation and sufferings are but some accidental atten- 
dants of this our militant state; but the life itself consists of 
other kind of matter. How blessed a life is it to live in so 
near a relation to God, as is above mentioned ! And how 
pleasant a thing is the believing exercise of his graces ! O 
how sweet is it to live here in any lively beginnings of the 
love of God ! How pleasant is it to know that we are be- 
loved of him ! How sweet is it to draw near to him, and 
plead our cause with him in faith, and to call him Father in 
confidence through Christ ! How sweet is it to live under 
the power of his ordinances, when by his Spirit he blesseth 
them to our souls ! What a joy is it believingly to think 
beforehand of their eternal blessedness ! And what comfort- 
able communion have the people of God together, and what 
good doth it do them to hear and speak of the glory that 
they shall possess ! O poor deceived sinners, that think the 
way of the Lord to be so grievous, and fly from it, as if it 
were an insufferable toil. Did you but know the safety and 
the comfort which the life of godliness doth afford, you 
would be of another mind, and take another course than you 
do. I do profess to you all in the name of the Lord, that 
you will never have a safe, nor truly peaceable and comfort- . 
able life, till you are converted, and live a spiritual and hea- 
venly life. The joy of the world is sorrow in comparison of 
that which you might have from Christ. The laughter of a 
fool doth not so much differ from the highest content of the 
greatest prince on earth, as your carnal mirth and peace doth 
differ from that which is fetched by true faith from the face 
of God, and the life to come. You fly from godliness for 
fear of sorrow and trouble, and I tell you it is joy and peace 
that you fly from, and sorrow and trouble that you continue 
in, and that you are preparing for. Believe the Lord Jesus 
himself, if you will not believe those that have tried. "Come 
unto me all you that are weary and heavy-laden, and 1 will 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 217 

give you rest ; take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for 
I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your 
souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light "*." 
" For this is the love of God, that we keep his command- 
ments, and his commandments are not grievous °." ** Being 
justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith unto 
this grace, wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the 
glory of God : and not only so, but we glory in tribulation °." 
" Whom not having seen, ye love ; though now you see him 
not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full 
of glory, receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation 
of your souls p." " We are the circumcision that worship 
God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no 
confidence in the flesh "i/* " Rejoice evermore ^" " Rejoice 
in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice ^" " Rejoice in 
the Lord, ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright*.*' 
" Ye that love the Lord, hate evil ; he preserveth the souls 
of his saints, he delivereth them out of the hand of the wick- 
ed. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the 
upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, and 
shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart"." 

What say you to all this now ? Is it a life of trouble and 
misery that God hath prescribed for his people to live in ? 
Is this a burdensome, grievous life ? Will you not believe 
him, concerning his own way ? I tell you again, and declare 
to you from the Lord, that you shall never have any true 
peace and comfort till you are converted, and lead a holy 
life. And you that say you shall never have a merry day 
more, if you leave your sins, and give up yourselves to a life 
of holiness, I do profess and proclaim to you, that you shall 
never have a merry life indeed till you do it : I mean, you 
shall never have that solid and lasting joy, which beseemeth 
a man of wisdom to regard. Believe the Lord himself that 
hath told you it twice over ; Isa xlviii. 32., " There is no 
peace saith the Lord to the wicked ;" Isa. li. 21., " There is 
no peace saith my God to the wicked.** " The way of peace 
they know not, there is no judgment in their goings ; they 

"> Matt, xl 27, <8. » 1 John ▼. 3. « Rom. v. 1— S. 

P 1 Pet. L 8, 9. t Phil. ill. 3. ' 1 Thcb». v 16. 

* Phil. iv.4. ' Psal. xxxiii. 1. • Psal. \xxix. 10—12. 



218 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

have made them crooked paths ; whosoever goeth therein, 
shall not know peace''." I confess, a carnal peace you may 
awhile maintain, and for a time may have a merry dream, but 
the day is near, when you will have a terrible awakening. And 
you may think that the godly have no such joy, because you 
see it not, or because you see them sad and heavy: but their 
" joy is such as strangers meddle not with." I know the righ- 
teous have many troubles, and are oftener in tears and groans 
than others; but that is from the remnants of their sins, which 
as it consisteth with prevailing grace, so doth that sorrow with 
prevailing joy, or may do at least. A dead man groaneth not, 
when a sick man doth : and yet that is no disparagement to life. 
What is sweeter than life? and yet sickness may make it 
grievous ; but we do not therefore prefer death before life, 
because some are sick : so what is sweeter than the life of 
grace ? and yet spiritual sickness may make us walk heavily, 
and yet we do not therefore prefer a death in sin before it. 
O come and try, sinners, the pleasures that be in the ways 
of God, and do not for shame speak against them, till you 
have thoroughly tried them. The Lord himself doth testify 
of them, Prov. iii. 13. xxi.20. " Happy is the man that find- 
eth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding ; for 
the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, 
and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious 
than rubies : all the things thou canst desire are not to be 
compared to her. Length of days is in her right hand, and 
in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of 
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of 
life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one 
that retaineth her." You see then that conversion is the be- 
ginning of consolation. 

17. Another of the privileges of the converted, is this; 
As he hath cause of continual joy, so no evil that can befal 
him, is a sufficient reason to lay by these joys, as to the ha- 
bit at least, and the prevailing degree. I know that so far 
as we have sin, we may, we shall, we must have sorrow : but 
then, so far as we have that sin pardoned and mortified, we 
may, we should have greater joy. And because a converted 
man hath no unmortified, unpardoned sin, therefore his cause 
of joy is greater than his cause of sorrow. Though yet 

5^ Isa. lix. 8. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 219 

I must say, that there are seasons when sorrow must 
be most expressed, as in days of humiliation, and in great 
falls, and in some afflictions; yet habitually then our 
joy should be the greater, though it be not the season to 
express it. But my special meaning here is about the 
eril of affliction, which is sanctified to the godly, and hath 
lost its sting, and is turned by a hand of grace to their ad- 
vantage. Should not that man live in continual joy, that is 
the heir of heaven, and a friend of God, and a member of 
Christ, and doth but wait for the hour of death to be pos- 
sessed of that unspeakable, endless glory ? What should 
trouble the heart of him that is escaped out of the power of 
satan, and the greatest trouble, which is the wrath of God, 
and the danger of everlasting misery? That which may 
torment the heart of another day and night, even the thoughts 
of the endless flames of hell; this is not only taken out of 
his way, but turned into the matter of his joy and praise, to 
think but of the fearful misery that he hath escaped. O 
what heart that hath received a pardon of all sins, and is saved 
thereby from the everlasting torments, can choose but daily 
rejoice in that salvation? Would not a Judas have been 
glad, while he was hanging himself in despair, if any one 
would have given him assurance, yea, or but hope of that 
salvation? Go to any despairing sinner, or any one under 
the terrors of the Lord, and ask them whether or no they 
would be glad if they could but be assured that they should 
escape that misery which they fear? You need not doubt 
what answer they would give you. They would be glad, 
and a thousand times glad ; much more if you could assure 
them of an everlasting glory, instead of that deserved misery. 
O then, what a blessed state are all those in that are truly 
converted ! How many times doth the mouth of Christ pro- 
nounce them blessed ! " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for 
their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the pure in 
heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are they that hunger 
and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled . Bless- 
ed are they that are persecuted for righteousness^ "sake, for 
their's is the kingdom of God ^** What case soever that 
man be in that is the heir of heaven, he cannot choose but 
be a blessed man. If any thing might make him seem mi- 
serable, it would be to be persecuted and hated, and made 

y MiitU V. 3. 6 8. 10. 



220 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

the scorn of the world ; and yet Christ saith, that even then 
he is blessed ; and biddeth them even then ** rejoice and be 
exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven ; for so 
persecuted they the prophets that were before you." That 
man that hath a reward in heaven, may be exceeding glad, 
whatsoever befal him here on earth. Will a prince be trou- 
bled for the loss of a farthing, or the barking of a dog ? That 
man that hath not clothes to his back, nor a house to put his 
head in, nor a good word from any about him, and yet hath 
assurance of living in glory with God and his holy angels, as 
soon as ever he is gone out of the flesh, I think is a happy 
man in the eye of reason itself. And he that professeth to 
have assurance of such a glory, and yetliveth not comforta- 
bly in every condition, I will not believe him, whatsoever 
he profess. Sure I am the great monarchs and princes of 
the world, when they are parting with their crowns, would 
be glad to have assurance of the everlasting crown, on con- 
dition they had lived as poor as the vilest beggar on the 
earth. There is not the stoutest gallant and proudest sinner 
but would be glad to change states with the poorest saint, 
when he seeth the end. O, but they must be wise in time, 
that will be ever the better for their wisdom. Balaam could 
say, " O that I may die the death of the righteous, and that 
my last end may be like his ^." All the world would say at 
last as the foolish virgins, if it would do any good, ** Give 
us of your oil, for our lamps are out*." Who would not be 
a saint, when he is past the pleasure of his sin, and cast off 
by the world, which deceived him in his prosperity ? 

Methinks the greatest men on earth should tremble in 
the midst of all their glory, to remember the everlasting 
misery that they are near, if they be not living members of 
Christ, as Belshazzar did in the midst of his joviality ''. 
And methinks the poorest true believer should have his 
heart abound with joy, to remember the things that God 
hath promised him, and which he must certainly ere long 
possess. O think not what you are. Christians, but what 
you shali be. Yet a little while, and you shall groan, and 
weep, and complain no more : you shall not know what po- 
verty, or trouble, or any other sufferings do mean. You are 
almost past all your sorrow, as the unconverted are almost 

* Nurab. xxiii. 10. * Malt. xxv. 8. ** Dan, v. 6. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 221 

past their joy. O what difference is between their part and 
yours; between the good things which they have here, and 
the portion which you have there ! Is it not better go by 
the dunghill to the everlasting crown, than by a fading crown 
to everlasting torments ? They will forget their honour and 
delicious fare, when they want a drop of water to cool their 
tongues ; and you will forget your present sorrow, when 
you are in Abraham's bosom, or in the presence of the Lamb. 
If one day in the courts of God on earth seemed better to 
David than a thousand elsewhere, what will an endless life 
in glory seem to a believing soul ? O sirs, we want nothing 
but soundness of faith, and spiritual life and seriousness to 
make our hearts to leap within us, and to make our lives a 
foretaste of heaven, and to make us pity poor worldlings in 
the height of their vain-glory. What should be a terror to 
that man that hath overcome the prince of terrors ? That 
hath God on his side, that hath a promise of everlasting life, 
and that hath evidence to shew for his interest in the pro- 
mise, and a lively faith to improve it, and live upon it? Me- 
thinks if the devils should appear to him in his way ; if they 
should walk before him in the ugliest shape, he should but 
look upon them as conquered miscreants. Methinks if he 
were passing by death from this world, it would be a joyful 
hour to him, that is presently to step into a world of glory. 
And now, dearly beloved neighbours and friends, I beseech 
you for the Lord's sake, hear these things, as men that be- 
lieve the word of God. Is it not a thousand pities, that 
God should offer you such consolations as these, and you 
refuse them ? Is it not a thousand follies that you should 
neglect such a blessed state as this, when it is set before 
you ? God hath made you for high and excellent things, 
even to live with angels in the heavens in glory. Yield but 
to the work of converting grace, and see that Christ be form- 
ed in you once, and all is yours. These things are far off 
you, and out of sight, and therefore seem strange to flesh 
and blood, and carnal hearts will not believe them ; but they 
are true as the living God is true. The souls of all the con- 
verted that are dead in Christ from the beginning to this 
day, are now in the possession of that glory that I am speak- 
ing of. They see it, though we do not ; and we shall see it, 
if unbelief and neglect do not hinder us: believing is the 



222 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

only way to seeing and possessing. I told you before what 
a miserable case it is that every unconverted sinner is in, 
that he is not sure to be safe an hour ; and would you not 
be out of that state ? Would it not be a blessed state for 
you to be sure that you shall live with Christ an endless 
life ? Then you may challenge death with Paul, ** O death 
where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ''?" 
Then you may challenge all the world, even earth and hell, 
as he did. " If God be for us, who shall be against us? It 
is God that justifieth, who shall condemn? Who shall se- 
parate us from the love of God ? Shall life or death, ^ V^ &c. 
I do here proclaim to you in the name of the Lord, that you 
may have this blessedness if you will be converted, and that 
without conversion it will never be had. Get once into 
this state, and you may have cause to joy as long as you 
live, and far greater cause when your present life is ended. 
I tell you, a true converted man is never in so sad or low a 
case, but still he hath more matter for his joy than for his 
sorrow. O therefore do not set light by such a happiness, 
and choose not to yourselves a life of terror, when you may 
have better if you will. 

18. Another great benefit of the converted, is this ; The 
longer they go on, and the further they proceed, the greater 
will be their felicity : the case of the wicked, is, the longer 
the worse ; but the case of the converted, is, the longer the 
better : when a wicked man hath had the sweetness, it may 
kill his heart to think what a bitter cup is kept for the last : 
but when the godly have had the bitterest here, it may 
sweeten all to think of what remaineth. If a wicked man 
should have never so much trouble in the flesh, there is 
another kind of trouble to be endured hereafter : the worst 
of their condition is still behind ; but the best is still behind 
with the converted : you shall have what is good for you 
here ; you shall have pardon of sin, and peace with God 
through Jesus Christ, and access to him in peace, when 
other men are shut out; and help in your distress, and 
strength in your temptation : but all this is as nothing in 
comparison of that which is yet to come. You know partly 
what you have, but you know not what you shall be, but 
only in general, that when Christ appeareth, you shall be 

" 1 Cor. XV. 55. '1 Rom. viil. 31.33. 38. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 223 

like him*. Your glory is not within the sight of flesh and 
blood. You walk here as other men in the same frail flesh, 
and compassed with infirmities, and as men of sorrows ; and 
the world knoweth not that you are the children of the God 
of heaven, and that you shall reign with him in glory : for 
the heir in his minority differeth not to outward appearance 
from a servant^; but yet by right he is lord of all : no won- 
der if it be thus with you, for so it was with your head the 
Lord of all : he was found in shape as a man, and there ap- 
peared no worldly glory or comeliness in him, for which he 
should be desired, but was despised, and became a man of 
sorrows, bearing our iniquity, and the chastisement of our 
peace «. But he that was, among men, of no reputation, 
was worshipped by angels, and dearly beloved by the Father, 
and for his humiliation is highly exalted, and hath a name 
given him above every name, and hath seen of the travail of 
his soul, and been satisfied ^. And so it is also in their 
measure with his members ; for if you suffer with him, you 
shall also reign with him ; and if you be made conformable 
to him in his death, so shall you also be in his resurrection 
and glorification \ Though your way to heaven may seem 
uneven and troublesome, yet still the further you go, the 
nearer you are to it ; and though sometimes you must pass 
through the valley of the shadow of death, where the place 
of your happiness may seem out of sight, yet still you are 
going on towards it ; and the foul way as well as the fair, is 
the way to heaven, and the waves and storms shall help you 
to the harbour. Though you be delivered to death for 
Jesus' sake, it is that the life of Jesus might be manifested 
in you. And though you always bear about in the body, 
the dying of the Lord Jeeus, it is that his life may be mani- 
fested in your bodies ^. " For we know that he which 
raised up the Lord Jesus, will also raise us up by Jesus ; for 
which cause we faint not ; for though our outward man pe- 
rish, yet our inward man is renewed day by day : for our 
light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a 
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ; while we 
look not at the things that are seen, but at the thin^ that 

e John iii. t. ' Gal. i». 1. c Phil. ii. 7, 8. I»u. liii. «— 4. 

h Phil. ii. 7.9, 10. In. liii. 11, tt. 

> Rom. vliu 17. vi. S. Phil. iii. 10,11. i" t Cor. 10, 11. 



224 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

are not seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal, 
but the things which are not seen are eternaP." Great 
cause therefore have we to " groan earnestly, desiring to be 
clothed with our house, which is from heaven, that immor- 
tality may be swallowed up of life "\" As Christ was nearer 
his glory on the cross, and in the grave than before, when 
no man laid hands on him ; so are his members in the last of 
their afflictions : for though the last enemy, death, must yet 
be encountered with, yet he also shall be overcome through 
the strength of him that hath conquered him for us ; and 
who through death destroyed him that had the power of 
death ". 

O sirs, if there were but this one thing to shew you the 
difference between a converted and an unconverted state, 
methinks it should sink down into your hearts, that the last 
day of the ungodly is still the worst, because that all endeth 
in their eternal misery ; and the last state of converted souls 
is still the best, because all will end in everlasting glory. 
Careless sinners do seem to have some merry days for 
awhile ; but O, how will they answer that question of Peter's, 
" Judgment must begin at the house of God : and if it first 
begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the 
Gospel of God ? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, 
where shall the ungodly and the sinners appear ° ?" " Their 
ways do now seem right in their own eyes, but the end 
thereof are the ways of death p." " O that they were wise 
to consider this, and that they would remember their latter 
end''." The not considering of their end, is the cause that 
it proveth so miserable ^ But the end of a believing, holy 
life is another kind of end. '* Mark the upright man, and 
behold the just, for the end of that man is peace. But 
transgressors shall be destroyed together ; the end of the 
wicked shall be cut ofF^" " For eye hath not seen, nor ear 
heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man, what God 
hath prepared for them that love him*." And this end is 
not far off: we have but a little while to wait, and we shall 
see the Lord upon the throne of his glory, and see the ac- 
complishment of his promise to his saints. *' For yet a lit- 

* 2 Cor. iv. 14. 16 — 18. ™ 2 Cor. v. 2. 4. 7. " Heb. ii. 14. 

« 1 Pet.iv. 17, 18. V Prov. xiv. 12. xvi. 25. "J Deut. xxxii. 29. 

r Isa. xItu. 7. Lam. i. 9. • Psal.vii. 37, 38. ' 1 Cor. 11.9. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 225 

tie while, and he that cometh will come, and will not tarry ".*' 
It is many ages since the apostle said, ** the end of all things 
is at hand "." *' Seeing therefore all things shall be dissol- 
ved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy 
conversation and godliness y." O therefore yield to that 
grace that would convert you. Conversion is the first gate, 
and an holy life the way to heaven. Though this gate be 
strait, and this way be narrow, and few find it, yet the end 
is it that will pay for all : as ever you would have this bles- 
sed end, see that you make this happy beginning. 

19. Yet this is not all ; but besides all these benefits to 
yourselves. Conversion will make you useful to others : it 
will make you become a blessing to the place where you 
live : as a wicked man hath a curse upon him, so usually he 
is a curse to others ; and judgments many times follow him, 
and those about him may fare the worse for his sake. And 
as a true Christian hath a heart full of the blessing of God's 
right hand, and is himself a blessed man, so is he usually a 
blessing to others, and many fare the better for his sake. 
As you may see in the case of Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 3. 5. 
While you are ignorant and ungodly, what are you but hin- 
derers of other men's salvation ; and temptations to those 
about you? But when God hath illuminated you, and 
changed your hearts, you will be forward to do good to 
others, and to help them to that life and hope, which you 
have received. If they want instruction, you will be more 
able to instruct them : if they are ignorant or careless, you 
will have some words to say to them for the awakening of 
their souls : if they be in danger, you can tell them of it ; 
and you can go to God, and pray for them in their distress : 
you have a spirit of prayer which you had not before ; and 
you have interest in God, which you had not before, and 
therefore you may speed better for others, though not so 
certainly as for yourselves. I tell you, sinners, the stoutest 
of you all may be glad of the fellowship of a godly man, if 
it be but for the benefit of his prayers. Jeroboam that did 
stretch forth his hand against the prophet, was glad to beg 
his prayers, for the restoring of that hand *. And Simon 
Magus was glad to crave the prayer of Peter '. A few more 

 Heb. I. Sr.  t Pet. W. 7. » t Pet. lii. It. 

» I King* xiii. 6. ' AcU vUl. t4. 

VOL. VII. Q 



226 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

such as Lot was, might have saved Sodom from the flames, 
when his ungodly neighbours were the cause of that heavy 
judgment. You are made the fitter for to do God's service, 
when you are converted, for that is it that maketh you his 
servants ; this is it that bendeth your hearts and thoughts 
to God, and causeth you to devote yourselves, and all that 
you have to him, and therefore you can never do him accep- 
table service till this work be wrought. That is the most 
happy and honourable nation, that hath most of these con- 
verted people in it. Let the world think of them as basely 
as they please, it is these that are the honour and safety of 
your country, and of your towns and parishes, and of the 
families where they live. If England be any better than the 
nations of infidels, it is by the godly. If the Lord would 
make this town to abound more with true converts and god- 
liness than any other, I dare say, it would be a happier 
town than any other. I tell you that is the best place where 
there is most of the fear of God ; that is the best family in 
the town that hath most true converted persons in it ; or 
where those that are, are the most eminentin holiness. Were 
there but such hearts within you, that you would all agree 
together to yield to the saving work of the Gospel, and set 
yourselves in good earnest to the work of your salvation, 
this would make you the happiest, the most honourable 
place in the world. Every good man is a common good: 
their light shines abroad to others, and such light will not 
be hid : the heat of their graces doth help to warm others, 
and happy are they that live near them, and have but the 
opportunity of conversing with them, so they have but 
hearts to improve such opportunities. 

20. If all this be not enough to shew you the blessedness 
of the truly converted ; consider in the last place. That it is 
not only to themselves, nor only to the world about them, 
that the comfort doth redound, but the heavenly host of God 
do in some sort partake of it. For the Lord Jesus telleth 
us, ** there is joy in heaven at the conversion of a sinner that 
repenteth^. Hearken to this all you that live a worldly, 
fleshly life; it would be the very joy of angels to see your 
true conversion ; and will you rob them of their joy ? They 
know what good this change would do you, when you do 

'' Lykexv. 10, 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 227 

not know it ; and therefore they have compassion of you in 
your misery, and it would rejoice them to see your recovery. 
O that you did believe this, and that you did consider it. 
Can you find in your hearts to stand out any longer, when 
you consider how many would be glad of your conversion? 
Turn then, O turn to Christ poor sinners, and make glad the 
very angels of God by your returning. 

Yea, more than so. 2. The Son of God himself would 
rejoice at your conversion. For the recovery of sinners is 
the fruit of his blood ; and when he " seeth the travail of his 
soul, he will be satisfied." He that came into the wilderness 
of this world to seek such lost and scattered sheep, doth 
bring them home with joy, when he findeth them*". " He 
came to seek, and save that which is losf^." " He came not 
to condemn the world, but that the world through him might 
be saved *." Though he must and will condemn them, if they 
reject his salvation. Nothing pleaseth him better than the 
conversion and salvation of straying souls : or else he would 
never have done so much to accomplish it as he hath done. 
He would never have sent abroad the doctrine of salvation, 
and established a ministry in the church to that end, if a 
returning sinner were not his delight. O that you knew, 
sirs, how welcome you would be to Christ after all the wrong 
that you have done him, if you would but speedily and 
heartily return. Those arms that were nailed open upon the 
cross, are still ready to embrace a returning soul. He that 
had tears to weep over his enemies in their obstinacy ^ hath 
joy for them that return from their impenitency. He that 
would have gathered Jerusalem, as a hen gathereth her chick- 
ens under her wing, if they would have been gathered S doth 
shew what kind and tender welcome repenting sinners should 
find with him. If you had but hearts to repent, you would 
find that Christ hath a heart to receive you. I have for- 
merly told you how tenderly he would meet a poor sinner 
half way, and fall upon his neck, and comfort his broken 
heart, and forget his miscarriages, and never hit him in the 
teeth with his sin ; as the father did by the returning prodi- 
gal •*. If you did but know the worth of Christ's embrace- 
ments, and tender love that he hath to shew toward you, you 

< Luke XT. ' Lake xix. 10. * John fil. 17. 

' Luke xix. 41. > Matt, sxiii. 97. *" Luke xv. 



228 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

could not find in your heart to stand out so long. You 
would rather be in your Saviour's arms, than among the 
swine where you have nothing but the husks. Can you find 
in your hearts to delay your return, and to despise this love? 
In the name of God take heed what you do ; for I must tell 
you, if you are so barbarous, and will so abuse that grace 
that would save you, you will find that he hath wrath as well 
as grace ; and the Lamb of God is a lion to his enemies, and 
will slay those without mercy, that would not have him rule 
over them, nor accept of his mercy '. Abuse not mercy too 
much, lest it turn to unavoidable indignation. For '* our 
God is also a consuming fire •"." And " if his wrath be kin- 
dled, yea, but a little, then blessed are they that put their 
trust in him." Then blessed are they that were converted by 
his grace, for only they shall be saved from his burning in- 
dignation, and be made partakers of the kingdom of his 
glory. 

By this time you may see, if you be not wilfully blinded, 
that when we persuade you to be converted, we are not 
drawing you into a miserable life ; and that it is no ill bar- 
gain, which we offer you from the Lord. If I had nothing 
to plead with you, but the danger of damnation, I might 
justly expect you should believe and tremble, and yield such 
obedience as fear alone can cause. But I could not expect 
that you should receive it with love, nor yield the delightful 
obedience of the saints. But now you may see that we 
move you, not to your loss. I dare say I have shewn you 
enough to win the heart of any man that is not obstinately 
blind and wicked. If you would be rich, I have shewed 
you the only riches ; if you would be honourable, it is only 
conversion that can make you so ; if you would have plea- 
sure, I have shewed you the way to pleasure,and how you may 
be possessed even of your Master's joy. In a word, if you 
would be happy, I have shewed you the only way to happi- 
ness ; a life of peace and safety hath been offered you ; a 
life of honour and pleasure hath been offered you ; and re- 
member that it was offered you. If you refuse it, remember 
you might have been happy if you would. You might have 
lived with the image of God upon your souls, and the Holy 
Ghost within you, and the everlasting kingdom a little be- 

» Luke xix. 27. ^ Heb. xii. 29. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 229 

fore you, and with the eye of faith upon the promise of it in 
the word, and the eye of hope upon the glory that is pro- 
mised. With the love of God in your hearts, now breathing 
after him in holy desires, which, when you have reached 
him, and are come to him, will turn into those endless and 
inconceivable enjoyments. You might have lived here in 
the spiritual communion of the saints, in the spiritual and 
fruitful use of God's ordinances, the chariots to convey your 
souls to life, and that glass in which you may see the Lord ; 
you might have been much freed from the terrible gripes of 
conscience which the guilty feel, or certainly shall feel ; and 
secured from that sin that " lieth at the door *," and from all 
the everlasting misery that now waiteth for you. In a word, 
instead of a life of brutish sensuality and folly, and slavery 
to satan, and preparation to eternal torment, you were offer- 
ed that life which consisteth in " righteousness, and peace, 
and joy in the Holy Ghost "". Beloved hearers, I now be- 
seech you, in the name of the Lord, that you would not wil- 
fully refuse to be happy ; and that you would not neglect 
so great salvation. Our office obligeth us to invite you, and 
to be earnest with you ; and O that we were able even to 
compel you to come in ". The nature of Christian charity 
obligeth us to desire that you might partake of that felicity 
that is offered you. We know that you may live everlast- 
ingly in glory, if you prefer not the world and your flesh 
before it. Through the great mercy of God, we have tasted 
somewhat of this felicity ourselves, and cannot choose but 
wish that you might be companions of our joy. Methinks 
I should be of so much credit with you myself, as that you 
should take my word in a matter that I have tried. Why, if 
you will take my word, sirs, I do profess to you before the 
Searcher of hearts, that the safety and peace, and comfort of 
a converted state, is such, that I would not be without it for 
all the world. Shall I say, I would not change it for a life 
of drunkenness, or filthiness, or fleshly pleasure, or for all 
the gains of a covetous worldling ? 1 am ashamed of the 
comparison. As bad as we know our own hearts to be, I 
will confidently say, through the grace of God, if the king- 
doms of the world were oflered us in exchange, we should 
scorn them, and tread them under foot. I give you my word 

> Gen. if. 7. " Rom. ut. 17. • Luke il?. 29. 



1^30 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

and experience, but to persuade you to come near and try. 
But, alas ! if you will not believe God, how can I expect my 
words should be believed. O that you would but come and 
try, and when you have tried the way of holiness, but a 
quarter as much as you have done the ways of the world and . 
the flesh, then if you like it not, take your course. If you 
find by experience that the way of sin is safer and better, 
when you have tried both, then turn back again and spare 
not ; I would trouble you no more, would you but come and 
try ; it is all that I now desire of you. But to think hardly 
of a state that you never tried ; to draw back from a life that 
you never tried ; this is not equal dealing with God, nor im- 
partial faithful dealing for your souls. I know some that 
have forborne some outward sins awhile, and stepped into 
an outward profession, and into the company of the godly, 
have fallen back again. But if you will but try the inward 
nature, and spiritual life of a saint ; the love, the trust, the 
,zeal, the joy, the endeavours, and the hopes of a saint, then 
judge and spare not, as experience shall direct you, and for- 
sake God if you really find that the flesh and the world are 
better. Remember what I say to you. It will leave you 
unexcusable, and be the confusion of your faces, when you 
shall answer this another day, that when your everlasting 
joy or torment did lie upon it, you would not be persuaded 
by all that we could say, so much as to leave your sins 
awhile, and come and make trial of a godly life. O wretches ! 
you will one day be ready to eat your own hearts, to think 
that you refused, and wilfully refused, and impenitently and 
obstinately refused, so fair, so necessary, so good a motion. 



CHAPTER VI. 



Use of Exhortation. 

Beloved hearers, I am not come hither to-day of my own 
head, nor in my own name, nor on my own business ; but in 
the name of Christ, and on the business of your salvation. 
I know this great assembly will be all very shortly in ano- 
ther world, and we shall meet ere long in a far greater as- 
sembly at the day of Christ's judgment, which will be upon 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 231 

US for all the seeming delay, before the careless world i» 
aware. That you may be ready for that day, and stand with 
boldness before the Judge, when the unconverted world 
stands trembling and amazed, as overwhelmed with the un- 
expected terrors of the Lord, this is the business that I come 
hither about to day; no less, no lower business than this. 
That I have not trifled with you, and filled your ears with 
witty toys and strange matters, I hope you will easily par- 
don me, when you have considered your condition, and the 
business of our office. I hate that preaching that passeth 
over the one thing necessary, and only tickleth the ears of 
miserable men, when it should endeavour their relief. If 
the town were on fire, it were no commendable matter to be 
fiddling and dancing, when you should quench it. If 1 saw 
you but sinking in a broken vessel, and ready to drown, if 
you had not help, it would seem no part of wisdom to me to 
make a learned oration to you, when I should be helping you 
out of present danger. I must tell you, therefore, that I 
came not hither only to talk to you, that you might go home 
and say, you had heard a fine or a learned sermon ; but I 
come to help you out of the misery of an unconverted state. 
I see the gulf of remediless destruction is a little before you, 
and I come to require you in the name of the Lord to make 
a stand, and go no further in the way of wickedness: but 
look about you and consider your way, and presently re- 
turn. Have you been ignorant, inconsiderate worldlings, 
and forgotten that God that should have had your hearts, 
and forgotten the life where you must live for ever ? Be 
awakened then, and look before you ; lift up the eye of 
faith, and see that joy or torment that is even at hand. Have 
you lived to the flesh, as if you had nothing but it to care 
for? and thought it more ado than needs to provide forever- 
lastingness ? In a word, have your hearts been set more on 
this life, than on that to come ? and on the things below, than 
on God above ? If this be so, flatter not yourselves in vain 
hopes. Delay not a day longer, but presently return from 
that condition. Believe the word of God, it will else be 
thy undoing. " For if you live after the flesh, ye shall 
die ".'' " For they that are far from thee shall perish ; but 
it is good for me to draw nigh to God **." " Where your 
> Rom. vUL IS. ^ PmI. luui. tf. 



232 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

treasure is, there will your hearts be also *=." What say you, 
sirs, will you return to God from the lusts of the flesh, and 
the love of this world, and a lazy, careless, ungodly life, or 
will you not? Will you justify yourselves no longer in a 
state of death, nor excuse, nor befriend the sins that have 
endangered you, but yield to the converting work of the 
Spirit, and strive not against that grace that would recover 
you? I pray you give me not the bare hearing, but let 
your'hearts make answer, aye or no. Will you return and 
be converted, or will you not? Dare any of you say, no ? 
I hope you dare not. But it is next to saying no, if your 
hearts say nothing. Tell me not of your cold wishes and 
purposes, and you hope you shall. A thousand such faint 
and heartless meanings have left souls to perish in endless 
misery. It is resolution, strong resolution, and present re- 
solution that you must have, and that God expects. What 
say you? Are you resolved to return, or are you not? 
Take heed what you say, for God is here present and seeth 
your hearts. Do not halt between two opinions; but if 
Baal be God follow him ; if the flesh and the world be God, 
and will make you happy, follow them; but if the Lord be God, 
follow him ^. Do not put me off with to-morrow, or some- 
time hereafter, as if it were not yet time, or you could not 
spare your sin, as yet. No resolution is sincere, but present 
resolution : he that would keep his sins a day longer, would 
keep Ahem a year, and seven years, and for ever if he might. 
He that would not close with Christ to-day, would never do 
it by his good will. No man loveth God, that longeth not 
presently to be such as God would have him be. Again, there- 
fore, I ask you, are you resolved presently to return, or not? 
This is the business I come hither upon, and I do not mean 
to go away thus, till I have my errand, unless you say me 
shameful nay ; I am resolved to leave you better or worse, 
either converted, or more inexcusable than you were before, 
and to say that which shall be a witness against you,if it con- 
vert you not. And here, first, if you be not yet resolved, I 
shall desire that you will soberly answer me these few ques- 
tions following : 

Quest, I. What do you think had come of you, if God 
had cut you off" by death all this while before you were con- 

« Matt. vi. 21. d 1 Kings xviii. 21. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 233 

verted ? Where do you think you should have been this 
very hour, if death had found you in an unconverted state ? 
Do you not know ? Why, doth not my text tell you ? Will 
not you believe Jesus Christ? I know, if you do not, you 
had been as sure in hell, as you are now on earth. Oh ! 
sirs, how many a fair advantage hath God had against you ! 
He could have killed you with one frown ; with a bit of bread, 
with a draught of drink, by the turning of a hand, by the 
slipping of a foot, by the stumbling of a horse ; besides 
many hundred diseases that would have opened the door, 
or rather have broken down your dusty cottages, and let out 
your guilty, unprepared souls into another world. Oh ! you 
cannot now apprehend what a dreadful thing it is for an un- 
changed soul to appear before the Holy God ! Doth it not 
sometimes amaze the best to think what a change it is that 
death makes? And what it is for a man that hath lived 
among mortals on earth, to find himself in a moment among 
angels and other spirits ? How much more should the 
thoughts of a more lamentable change amaze the uncon- 
verted ? It is only, or chiefly some doubts, and some 
strangeness to that heavenly place, that amazeth the godly ; 
which will all be dispelled at the twink of an eye, by that 
joy and glory that they shall find themselves possessed of. 
But it is another kind of matter, even the everlasting misery 
that should amaze the wicked. O, dear friends, what a case 
had you been in, if you had died before conversion ? Your 
hearts are not able to conceive of the thousandth part of the 
misery that you would have been in. And have you lived 
all this while in so much danger, and will you live in it still? 
God forbid. Hath a wonder of mercy kept you out of hell 
80 long, and will you loiter yet longer in the old condition? 
Methinks I look upon you as imitating Lot, when he was 
called out of Sodom • ; that after he had been warned by the 
angel to get away out of Sodom with all that he had, as he 
loved his life ; yet sons and daughters, or one thing or other 
so long detain him, that he lingereth away the time, till God 
being merciful unto him, the angels did even carry him 
forth ^ and said, *' Escape now for thy life, look not behind 
thee, and make no stay '.'' So God hath mercifully called 
you out of the Sodom of your sins, and you have lingered 
• Oen. xia. ' Vcr. 16. f Ven 17. 



234 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

till now. Oh ! that the Lord would be so merciful to you 
as to lay hands as it were upon those hearts, and take them 
off the world and your lusts, and bring you away ! This 
warning however I am bound to give you : * Escape now for 
your lives, look not behind you, stay not any longer, lest 
you perish in your negligence.' So much for my first ques- 
tion, * What had become of you, if you had died before 
conversion V 

Quest. 2. My next question is this ; Are you sure if you 
delay returning another day, that you shall be that day out 
of hell ? If you refuse this offer that God maketh you now, 
are you sure you shall ever have another ? Can you say, 
that your bodies shall not lie in the churchyard, and your 
souls past hope and help in misery, before the next meeting 
in this place, if you so long delay and harden your hearts ? 
You are not sure of it ; if you are, let us see your evidence 
of security. Hath God any where promised you another 
day's time ? Why, can you live a day whether God will or 
not? You know you cannot; I dare say you know it. You 
know that many an one as strong as you, and that feared 
death as little, hath been quickly gone ; and go you must, 
however, at the last. Well, brethren, do I need to ask you 
such a question now, whether it be wisdom, or madness ra- 
ther, for any man wilfully or negligently to live one day or 
night longer in such a condition, as if you should die in it, 
you were undone for ever ? Will you venture to live another 
day in such a case in which you cannot be sure that one day 
to be out of hell ? O, methinks, while you are unconverted, 
this saying of Christ should be still ringing in your ears ; 
" Verily, I say unto you, except ye be converted, and be- 
come as little children, you cannot enter into the kingdom 
of heaven." And methinks every night when you lie down 
in bed, you should think with yourselves, * What if I should 
die in an unconverted state before the next morning V Me- 
thinks the very dreams of this should awake you with terror. 
Methinks when you rise in the morning, you should think 
with yourselves, * What if I should die in an unconverted 
state before night V Methinks the daily thoughts of this 
should mar your mirth, and sour to you all the sweetness of 
the world. How can you forbear in such a danger to think 
of it, in your shops, and at your plough ; at home and 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 235 

abroad, which way soever you go, or whatsoever you are 
doing? If you say, 'Though I am not sure to hve a day, 
yet I am hkely, for I have many an one already, when I had 
no assurance of it. I answer, but who would leave such a 
matter as his everlasting salvation upon such hazard? I 
warn thee therefore from God, in the words of God, " Boast 
not thyself of to-morrow, for who knoweth what a day may 
bring forth ^ ? 

Quest. 3. My third question to you is this ; Which 
dost thou really think is better, God or the creature, heaven 
or earth, a life in glory, or the present pleasure of sin ? Is 
it indeed thy settled judgment, that it is better be drunk 
than sober, and better take the delight of thy flesh, and fol- 
low this world, than live to God here, and with God here- 
after? Is this thy settled judgment, or is it not? If it be, 
thou art an infidel, or an atheist, and not a Christian. Nay 
worse than most infidels or heathens in the world. If it be 
notthy judgment, how darest thou do it? Wilt thou go 
against thy own knowledge ? Wilt thou not do that which 
thou knowest is both pleasing to God, and best for thyself? 
Shall God shew thee thy misery, and wilt thou wilfully run 
into it ? And shall he shew thee thy happiness, and wilt 
thou wilfully forsake it? Dost thou think that it is better 
to be converted, or not ? If thou think it to be a better state, 
how darest thou neglect it, or refuse it as thou dost ? Who 
can help thee, if thou know that thou dost evil, and yet wilt 
do it? If thou know that thy way is the way of death, and 
yet wilt go on in it ? And who shall pity thee, if knowingly 
thou wilt damn thyself? 

Quest. 4. My fourth question to thee is this ; Dost thou 
believe that man is made for this world only, or for a better ? 
If heaven were never so desirable, if it be not attainable, it 
is in vain to seek it : but if it may be had, what hearts have 
they that will neglect it, or prefer any other thing before it? 
Do you think that man was only made to take a life of plea- 
sure on this earth, and go no further, and there is an end of 
him? If you think so, you are blinder than most heathens 
in the world. Three sorts of creatures did God create ; one 
sort are pure spirits without flesh; and these were placed in 
their happiness at the first to be nearest to God, and em- 

* Pro*. «x»U. I. 



236 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

ployed by him in his noblest works ; only being not at first 
confirmed, some of them fell away, and are become devils •. 
another sort of creatures have flesh without immortal souls, 
having no other life than what is fitted to their earthly state ; 
I mean beasts and birds and all other unreasonable crea- 
tures : these are not capable of any higher felicity than they 
here enjoy : they were never intended for it, and therefore 
their natures are not fitted to it. But man is of a middle 
sort, partaking somewhat of both these ; he hath flesh like 
the beasts, because he must live on earth as they, and so 
must eat, and drink, and sleep, and die, and his flesh must 
perish as well as theirs : but with this flesh he hath a soul 
that is akin to angels, and therefore is capable of an endless 
life, and fitted for it : so that so far as he is fleshly, so far 
he is earthly, and is like the beasts that perish ; but as he is 
a living soul, he is disposed to an endless life, and may there 
be like to the angels of God, Luke xx. 36. You may see 
this difference between brutes and men, in their very natures 
here. They know not that there is another life, and we do : 
they live not in hopes and fears of another life, but we do. 
Experience certainly discovers this, they fear but one death, 
and we fear two, in fearing a misery after death. We go- 
vern them only by present objects ; but God ruleth us by 
promises and threatenings of unseen things, and by the hopes 
and fears of another life : it is our nature to be thus go- 
verned, and theirs to be ruled by sensual objects. 

Well then, if man was made for higher things, should he 
not seek them, and live for them? Remember then, 1 be- 
seech you, that the work of conversion is but to set your 
hearts on the things that you were made for : it is to make 
you know that you are men and not beasts, and to bring you 
to live the life of men. Sin doth unman us, and in a sort 
even brutify us ; and conversion restoreth us, in our present 
measure to the ends that we were created for, and to the 
image of God that we were created in, which disposeth us 
to those ends : if you believe then that man is not a beast, 
but made for an everlasting life with God, away with fleshly, 
worldly vanities, and live as strangers here, and as those 
that are heirs of that everlasting life. 

Quest. 5. My next question to you is ; Have you ever 
soberly and considerately compared the gain and the loss 




* TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 237 

that conversion will bring you ? Did you ever on the one 
side consider of all the present peace and safety, and that 
everlasting glory, which is the portion of them that cleave 
to God, and of the misery of all others, as 1 have before 
discovered it to you ? And on the other side, have you con- 
sidered how small a matter it is that you can lose, if you 
yield to that grace that would prepare you for this glory ? 
Sure if you had ever considered both of the winning and the 
losing, and laid one in the one end of the scales, and the 
other in the other, the case might have been resolved with 
you long before now. Sinners, when God and his ministers 
make such a stir with you to persuade you to be converted, 
and all will not serve, but year after year you are still the 
same, there is somewhat sure that is the cause. If some- 
what did not stick with you, you would have yielded before 
this time. Somewhat there is sure that you are afraid of 
losing by the change, or else what should be the matter that 
you refuse, or delay ? Well, let us hear what it is that you 
are afraid it will deprive you of. Is it any thing that is 
better than God, than heaven, than the saving of your souls ? 
This is the benefit that conversion bringeth, and if it would 
take from you any thing that is better, refuse it then, and 
spare not. I tell you, sinners, God hath no need of you ; it 
is for your own good, and that honour and pleasure that he 
takes in doing good, that he is so earnest with you to come 
in. And if any of you dare charge the God of heaven with 
dissembling, as if he meant your hurt, while he thus pre- 
tendeth your good, and would take from you more than he 
offereth you, or would give you ; make good thy charge if 
thou canst, or rather take heed, if thou love thyself, of such 
blasphemous imaginations. O poor soul, if God would do 
thee harm, who dost thou think will do thee good ? If the 
chief good be not good, where wilt thou find good ? Dost 
thou fear lest the sun should deprive thee of thy light, when 
thou canst have none but what it afFordeth thee ? Dost thou 
run away from the fire, lest it should make thee cold ? What, 
fear lest God should do thee harm, when there is no good 
but what doth stream from him ? Who wilt thou go to for 
any good, if thou flee from him? Hath any creature the 
least relief for thee, except they receive it from God, and he 
send it thee by their hands ? They have nothing but what 



238 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

he lendeth them, nor can they give thee any succour, but by 
his consent. What is it then that thou art afraid of losing, 
by being converted ? Is it any thing that is worth the keep- 
ing ? It is incredible that God should envy thee thy hap- 
piness ; that is the work of the devil, which moved him to 
tempt us from it. And dare you make God like him, or 
father on God his nature, or his works ? It is incredible 
wrong that men do to God while they question his goodness, 
and dislike his holy laws and ways, and quarrel with him, 
as if he were their enemy : and when he would draw them 
out of the prison of the devil, and the power of sin, they draw 
back, as if he would draw them into bondage. O base, un- 
thankful wretches ! must salvation be so dearly bought, and 
so kindly offered you, and do you thus reject it? Oh! 
foolish self-destroying wretches, are you so far delivered 
from all your enemies, that your happiness is brought to 
your own choice, and you may freely have it if you will, and 
now will you not have it? And will you be the last and 
deadly enemy to yourselves ? Why, what is it that you are 
so loath to leave ? Is it your sins ? Is it your fleshly plea- 
sures ? Or your worldly profits, or your ease, or credit, or 
which of these ? Is it not a sad case that reasonable men 
should come to such a pass, that they are afraid of return- 
ing to the favour of God, and of coming from the thraldom 
of the devil, into his service, lest they should lose their plea- 
sure ? As if there were less delight in the love of God, than 
in fleshpleasing filthiness ; or as if the joys of heaven were 
less than the mirth of an alehouse. Is it not a sad case that 
ever men should be afraid of being losers by God ? or of 
missing their money, or their houses, or lands, when they 
come to heaven ? As if there were any want there where all 
are glorious kings : and as if Lazarus had not changed his 
state. And is it not a shameful thing, that men should be 
ashamed to be the servants of the God of heaven, and think 
it a discredit to be the heirs of gloiy ? Is it to any purpose 
to talk to such men as these ? Will they ever hear reason 
that are so unreasonable ? If preaching were not the ordi- 
nance of God, which he hath commanded us to use, and there- 
fore may set it in with his blessing, when he pleaseth, we 
should even throw by all, and look on such as these as mad- 
men, and think, till God shall bring them to their wits, there 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 239 

is no good to be done by speaking to them. If a man will fly 
from God, to an alehouse, or gaming-house for pleasure, or 
from God to the world for profit or honour, what shall we 
say to such a man, but even take him in this as besides him- 
self ? For who will think better of him that will run into a 
prison, or to his enemies, for his liberty? or that will tumble 
in the chanel, or lie down in the sink, and will not come out 
for fear of being befouled ? I would ask the drunkard, or 
fornicator, or worldling, or whosoever he be that hath the 
most that sin can do for him ; dost thou think that thou 
hast a more comfortable life than those that are furthest from 
thy sin ? Dost thou think that they that abhor thy drunk- 
enness, whoredom, or worldly courses of life, have not a 
more comfortable life than thou ? Besides that which they 
shall have in heaven, when sin hath brought thee into tor- 
ment (if true conversion do not prevent it), even in this life, 
which, think you, have the more peaceable and comfortable 
life ? I am even ashamed to make the comparison. A wise 
and godly man doth abhor these things that are the felicity 
of ungodly men. Your filthy lives, which you are loath to 
leave, would make the heart of a sober man to rise to think 
of them. What wise man would not think it a misery, if he 
were condemned to live your lives but a few days. A swine 
takes pleasure to tumble in the mire, but a man in his wits 
will take no pleasure to bear him company. And is this all 
that you are like to lose by it, if you be converted, and yet 
will you stand off? Well, I say no more of it now but this : 
If, after all this, you take the world to be better than God, 
and the pleasures of sin to be greater than the pleasures of 
a holy life, and the joy that God would give you with himself. 
And if you are afraid of turning to God lest you be losers by 
him, you may take your course, and stay till the end shall 
make you wiser to your cost. 

Quest, 6. My next question to you, is this : Have you 
now any reason to give against your speedy effectual con- 
version, which you will undertake to stand to, and justify at 
the bar of God ? Do you know any harm by that state and 
life that God by converting grace would bring yxiu to? 
You have heard much that may be said for it ; what now 
have you to say against it ? 1 know that a great many of 
senseless words are poured out by foolish sinners against 



240 ^ TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

the holy ways of God. But they are such as shew their 
folly and malice, and proceed from wilfulness and not from 
reason. Not one of all these that you hear in a corner 
scorning at godliness, or reasoning against it, dare stand to 
these reasons when God shall deal with him. For my part, 
sirs, I would persuade you to nothing unreasonable and un- 
fit. I have told you my reasons for the necessity of conver- 
sion : if you are against it now, either you have reason to 
be against it, or you have not ; if you have no reason for it, 
how dare you, how can you do it ? What ! will you renounce 
your reason in the greatest matters, where you have the 
greatest use for it ? or, will you be wilfully brutes ? Or will 
you set yourselves knowingly against God and your own 
souls ? In the name of God consider first what you do. It 
must be either deluded reason or mere wilfulness that cause 
you now to refuse or delay to be converted. I beseech you 
let me have the answer of your hearts here before the Lord. 
Deal truly, have you any reason why you should not be con- 
verted and turn to God before to-morrow ? I pray you do 
not pass it over carelessly, but give me your answer : Have 
you any reason for it, or have you not ? If you have not, 
your conscience is then witness that you are wilful in your 
neglect. You turn not to God because you will not turn. 
You go on in sin, because you will go on. You do then in 
your hearts, as it were, set God at defiance, and say, ' I 
confess I have no reason to sin, but yet 1 will do it: I have 
no reason to delay my return to God an hour, but yet I will 
do it. And I will do it, though reason as well as the word 
of God cry out against it.' Who can you blame then, if 
the plagues of God shall reach such a rebel, and if he deal 
with you as wilful sinners should be dealt with ? If you had 
done it ignorantly, you had some excuse, or you might have 
been beaten with the fewer stripes : but wilful sin hath no 
excuse, and as such the Lord will pour out his wrath. If 
your own reason tell you, you should presently return to 
God, and you will not, how can you expect in reason to find 
mercy with the Lord ? O that you knew what a heinous 
thing it is to sin wilfully after the knowledge of the truth : 
it would make every joint of you to tremble, lest if you go 
a little further, there should be no more sacrifice for sin, 
"but a certain looking for of judgment, and fire which de- 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 241 

voureth the adversary '." Well, sirs, let me again put the 
question to you : What say you? Will you presently re- 
turn to God, or will you not? Halt not between both, but 
resolve off, or on. Say plainly, you will, or you will not ; 
if you will not, tell me then, why will you not? Have you 
any reason for it, or have you none ? If none, how dare you 
be wilful ? but if you have any reason, I pray you answer 
my next question. Is your reason such as you will under- 
take to stand to at the bar of God ? It is an easy matter to 
deceive yourselves and others, and to daub over a cause 
that is apparently naught, and to bring fair pretences for the 
most foul actions. Something men will have to say, to 
stop the mouth of those that would convince them, be their 
course never so ungodly : but the question is, whether you 
have any reasons for your sin, and against your speedy and 
effectual return, which you will undertake to stand to before 
the Lord. I pray you bethink yourselves soberly of an an- 
swer, before you hold on your course any longer ; lest you 
be at the bar before you are aware. One man*s reason is, 
his sin is sweet, and he hopes he may safely keep it a little 
longer, and then he means to let it go. It seemeth, then, 
you had rather sin than not ; and that shews that at present 
thou art a graceless wretch. But is the sweetness of thy 
sin a sufficient reason for thee to refuse the sweetness of a 
pardon, and the sweetness of the reconciled face of God, 
and the sweetness of everlasting glory ? Dare you stand to 
such a reason as this is before God ? I know you dare not. 
How then dare you delay your conversion upon such rea- 
sons? Is sin sweet to thee, and is not holiness sweeter? 
is not pardon, and life, and grace, and Christ, and God, and 
glory sweeter ? O what kind of reasons be these for a rea- 
sonable man to venture his salvation upon? I shall not 
stand to try the rest of them, because they will fall under a 
more particular consideration hereafter. Only in general I 
charge and require you, plead not such reasons as you dare 
not stand to at the bar of God. 

Quest, 7. My next question to you, is this ; Have you 
ever well considered who they be that are for your conver- 
sion, and who they be that are against it? You may 
easily conjecture by this, whether it be good or bad. You 

• Hil>. X. 26. 
VOL. vii. K 



242 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

have heard already who they be that are for it : God is for 
it, Christ is for it, the Holy Ghost is for it, the angels of 
heaven are for it, the ministers of the Gospel are for it, and 
every wise and godly man is for it. God is so much for it, 
that he sent his Son to purchase it, and his word to com- 
mand and call you to it, and to give you directions how it 
must be done, and his ministers to persuade you to hear and 
submit. He is so much for it, that he hath sworn that he 
hath ** no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that 
he return and live ;" and pleadeth the case with you, and 
asketh yon, *' Why you will die ''." Christ is so much for it, 
that he hath made it his office ; he took the nature of man 
on him to that end, that he might seek and save that which 
was lost ; and for that end he submitted to the cursed death 
of the cross, and for that end hath he made the promises of 
his Gospel, and sent abroad his ministers to proclaim them. 
He is so much for it, that he is purposely become the " Cap- 
tain of our salvation ;" and having first given us his own 
example, doth lead us on in all encounters, and calleth us to 
follow him, that we may conquer as he hath done. He is so 
much for it, that upon this very ground will he condemn at 
last the impenitent world, because they would not be con- 
verted by him. The Holy Ghost is so much for it, that he 
moveth and importuneth sinners thereunto, and effectually 
worketh it in all the elect. The angels of heaven, as you 
have heard, are so much for it, that it is their joy when a 
sinner is converted. The ministers of Christ are so much 
for it, that they make it their business and study, and preach 
and pray, and sufier, and think nothing too much if they 
might but accomplish it. " They are willing to spend and 
be spent for this end ^" " They account not their lives dear 
to them, so they may but finish their course with joy, and 
the ministry which they have received of the Lord in preach- 
ing the Gospel of the grace of God"*." They are content to 
** instruct those in meekness that oppose themselves, if God 
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledg- 
ing of the truth, that they may escape out of the snares of 
satan "." All the godly are so much for it, that it is their 
daily prayer and earnest desire : and they would do any 
thing they could to accomplish it. O how heartily do they 
pray for your conversion, that the kingdom of God may 

^ Ezek. xxxiii. 11. ' 2 Cor. xii. 15, •» Acts xx. 24. " 2 Tim. ii, 25. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 243 

come into your hearts ! How glad are they when they hear 
of the conversion of a sinner ! Well, sinners, methinks you 
should consider with yourselves, * For what reason do all 
these desire my conversion ? Who is it that shall be the 
gainer by it? What doth God get by it? What doth 
Christ the Redeemer get by it? What doth the Spirit that 
moveth me get by it? What profit is it to the ministers of 
the Gospel ? Might they not as easily let me alone, and 
please me in my sins, and tell me of no danger? What pro- 
fit is it to all my godly friends, that they should so earnestly 
desire it, and pray for it ? Is it not I that am like to have 
the gain ? And should I set against all the friends I have 
that endeavour my own good, even my everlasting good ? 

You see who they be that are for your conversion: will 
you now consider who they be that are against it ? Are 
they better than God ? Are they truer friends to you than 
Christ and his ministers, and those that persuade you to re- 
pent and live ? Are they such as love you better than all 
these do ? Why, who are they? First, the chiefest enemy 
to your conversion is the devil himself. It is he that dis- 
suadeth you ; that raiseth doubts and temptations in your 
mind, and casteth so many rubs in your way. He would not 
have you converted if he could hinder it. If all his subtlety 
can hinder it ; if all his power and malice can hinder it ; 
if all the instruments that he can raise up against it, can 
hinder it, you shall never be converted. He knows he shall 
lose a servant and subject of his kingdom ; he shall be cast 
out of that possession which he hath kept in peace. If he 
do not rule you, he shall not torment you, which is plea- 
sant to his malice. No one in all the world is so much 
against your conversion as the devil. When you say, you 
will never be so pure, nor so godly, nor live so holy and hea- 
venly a life, O how you please him ! You could not have 
said a word that he more delighteth to hear ; for it is as 
if you had said, * I will never leave ray master, the devil, to 
serve Christ* Nay, it is all one as if you said, * I am re- 
solved, I will never be saved, seeing there is no salvation 
without conversion.* When you say you will do as your 
forefathers have done ; and you will take your pleasure and 
follow the world ; and not be so precise, nor trouble your 
minds so much about the case of your souls, or the matters 



244 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

of eternal life ; O how you please the devil by this ! This 
is that he would have. You speak even as he would have 
you speak ; for indeed it is he that tempteth you to speak it. 
But for God's sake, and your soul's sake, sinners, will you 
consider whether God or the devil is your better friend? 
You are the cause that I am put upon such a strange ques- 
tion to you : whether that be liker to be for your good, 
which God would have, and Christ would have, and the holy 
Ghost would have, and ministers would have, and all godly 
people would have ; or that which the devil himself would 
have? Do I need to bid you consider of this? A little 
consideration sure may resolve it. Can you think that all 
these forementioned are against you, and satan for you? 
That all these are your enemies, and satan is for your friend? 
If you will indeed take God, and Christ, and his Spirit, and 
people, and all for your enemies, and him that is your great- 
est enemy, for your friend, and that after such warnings, as 
you have had ; you may reap those fruits of his friendship 
which you little think of. 

But there are some other besides the devil against your 
conversion. True; but who be they ? None, but his agents, 
and those that are deceived by him themselves. Perhaps 
you will hardly think so ; for one may be your father, ano- 
ther your mother, another your husband or wife, or those 
that profess themselves your friends, and some perhaps may 
be thought wise and learned in the world. But what doth 
God say of them, who is most to be believed? He telleth 
you, they are foolish, and wicked, and enemies to the cross 
of Christ. You call them friends, but God tells you they 
are your enemies. If you think I speak too hardly of them, 
in telling you they are ignorant, blinded sinners, believe God 
that saith the same. I hope you will not accuse him of 
wronging them, or any one. Never man spake against con- 
version that knew what he said, and was converted himself. 
It is only those that never knew or tried the ways of God, 
that persuade you from them. Will you go to the blind for 
direction ? or to the slaves of satan for counsel whether you 
should return to God? If they were wise men they would 
return themselves ; and if they be not wise they are unfit to 
give you counsel. And methinks your own reason might 
tell you, that that man cannot be wise that wou'd draw the 




TREATISK OF CONVERSION. 245 

hearts of others from God, and would have them venture 
upon the drawn sword of his vengeance ; and do that which 
he hath threatened everlasting destruction to. Can that be 
a wise man that doth himself prefer this dunghill world, and 
the swinish mirth of a sinner before all the holy joy and 
glory of the saints, even before the present life of grace, and 
the future life of glory ? Ask your reason whether this can 
be a wise man ? I may boldly say, then, that there is none 
but the devil and wicked fools that are against your conver- 
sion. Tell them how T call them, and spare not ; for God 
calls them more, and their own consciences will call them so 
for ever, if they do not do that themselves which they would 
dissuade you from doing. I say it again, there is not one 
in the world, but the devil and wicked fools that are against 
your conversion. And if these shall be your counsellors, 
and ye will be ruled more by them than God, and all the 
truest friends you have in the world, let your own con- 
sciences judge whether you have dealt well with God, or 
with yourselves ? 

Quest, 8. Yet I have some more questions to ask you, 
and my next is this ; Had you rather die in a converted, or 
unconverted state ? And in which of these had you rather 
appear before the Lord ? I pray you put this question to 
your own hearts, and soberly answer it. I say, which of 
these two conditions had you rather be in at death and 
judgment? Had you rather die the death of the righteous, 
or of the wicked ? And had you rather stand among the 
unconverted, or the converted, at the bar of God ? Had you 
rather that death should find you with clean hands, an in- 
nocent life, and an heavenly mind, delighting in God, and 
hoping for Christ's appearing ; or that it should find you 
either in your ignorance, or worldliness, or fornication, or 
drunkenness, or with the guilt of any of these upon your 
souls, and with an heart that is not unfeignedly turned from 
them unto God ? I do not think there is the most blockish 
or stout-hearted sinners among you ; no, not they that make 
a mock at godliness, and discourage others from it, but they 
had rather be among the godly, than the ungodly, at the 
last. And is it not a strange thing, that men should set against 
that course, which they would wish to be found in? and 
should live contrary to it, when yet at the same time they 



240 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

had rather die in it, than as they are ? Sinners, should you 
not be now such as you would be found then? And should 
you not live in that state as you would die in ? Will it be 
best then, and is it worst now ? how can that be ? Believe 
it, sirs, you have neither your lives, nor the grace of God at 
your will. If you would be found among the converted at 
the last, become such quickly, lest the last should come be- 
fore you are aware. If life forsake you not, you cannot tell 
whether the Spirit of God may forsake you. If grace must 
be had, or else you are undone, take it while you may have 
it, lest you be given over to the hardness of your hearts. 

Quest, 9. My next question is this ; If God should send 
an angel from heaven to you, to plead against your sinful 
course, and to persuade you to be converted, would you 
hearken to him and obey him; or would you not? If he 
should appear to you in your careless and worldly course of 
life, or if he should come to you in the very act of your sin, 
and tell you how the Lord abhorreth your iniquity, and how 
his vengeance hangs over your head, and will fall upon you, 
if you speedily repent not ; and should persuade and entreat 
you to lament your folly, and turn to God with all your 
heart, without delay, what would you do? and what answer 
would you give ? Would you tell him to his face, * I will 
not be converted ; I will take my pleasure, and follow the 
world, and venture my soul rather than live so strict a life ? 
Would you say thus to him? You would not, sure you 
durst not do it ! Would you not tell him, * I am sorry for 
my sins, and resolve to turn without delay ;' but if you 
should so tell him, if you did not do it, your promise would 
but prove you hypocrites, and rise up against you to your 
condemnation. O, you do not know how such a sight would 
amaze you, and awaken you from security. An hand that 
appeared writing upon a wall, did make the knees of a sen- 
sual king to tremble \ it loosed his very loins, it changed 
his countenance, it troubled his thoughts, Dan. v. 6. The 
appearance of an angel, at the resurrection of Christ, did 
make the keepers of the grave to shake, and become as dead 
men. Matt, xxviii. 4. How an angeFs appearance affected 
Cornelius ; and an earthquake with the effects did move the 
jailor, may be seen in Acts x. and xvi. and many the like 
examples we might give you. What if an angel of God 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 247 

should but come and speak over this text to you, that I am 
preaching : " Verily, except you be converted, you shall not 
enter into the kingdom of heaven," would you yield, or 
would you not ? If you would not, you are hardened with 
a witness. If you would, let me follow my question a little 
further with you. Should not the written word of Christ 
himself, and the voice of his messengers that speak in 
his name, and all the judgments and mercies that second 
these ; I say, should not all these prevail with you as much, 
and more than an angel's voice? You have here the pro- 
testation, or vehement asseveration of the Lord himself, 
and should not that be of greatest authority with us ? An- 
gels are but servants of Christ and ministering spirits for 
the good of his elect : would you hear them, and will you 
not hear their master ? Would you hear an unusual mes- 
senger, and will you not learn in Christ's appointed way ? 
If it be a doctrine to be received from angels, tell me, if you 
can, why it should not be received now from the word of 
God, and from his ministers ? 

Quest. 10. The last question that I shall now trouble you 
with, is this; Do you think that man who after all this shall 
refuse to turn to God, and after all this shall remain uncon- 
verted, will have any just excuse before the Lord? Or will 
he not be left speechless, and under the condemnation of his 
own conscience for ever? Is it any pity to cast away that 
man, that will without all pity cast away himself, and no 
saying will serve him, and no reason will satisfy him? Or 
when he is convinced and silenced, yet for all that will not 
be converted ? When it is their own doing, and they were 
their own undoing ; and when God did not spare for cost 
and persuasion to have done them good ; and when he shall 
say after all, as in Isa. v. 4. "What could have been done 
more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?" What 
sliould I have said more to this sinner, than I hdve said ? 
What plea is left for such a sinner ? Or what can he say 
why he should not be sentenced to perdition ? Will you say 
you did it ignorantly, or you had no warning ? You cannot 
say it. Indians may say it, and many barbarous nations of 
the world may say it ; but England cannot say it, nor you 
that hear me cannot say it. You have warning after warn- 
ing, and all said to you that we knew how to say, that was 



248 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

likely to move the heart of a sinner. Will you say that you 
were not able, because it was a work above your power? 
Why, you cannot thus excuse your sin : for if you had been 
but truly willing, you might have done it ? Your disability 
lay in your obstinate unwillingness. Are you willing this 
day, unfeignedly willing, to turn to God, or are you not? If 
you be, you will return without delay. For if you are will- 
ing, who can hinder you ? But if you be not truly willing, 
how can you say, that you would have done it if you could? 
Or how can you excuse yourselves by your disability ? Un- 
willingness is a disability which excuseth no men, but ag- 
gravateth their sin. If you could have said that you would 
have returned with all your hearts, but were not able for all 
that you were willing, then you had some excuse; but now 
you have nothing to say for yourselves. 

Object. We know there is no pleading for ourselves, nor 
any excuse to be made with God, but yet we hope we may be 
saved for all that ? 

A71SV:, How can you have any hope, if you have no ground 
of hope to shew ? If you have no reason to give against the 
sentence of your condemnation, how can you think to es- 
cape it? God is just, and will judge in righteousness ac- 
cording to his word ; and they that have not now a title in 
the word for their justification at judgment, shall never be 
there justified, whatsoever they may dream. 

Beloved hearers, I have been all this while pleading with 
you by the reasons of the word of God, to see if it were pos- 
sible for me to persuade you to yield to the light, and be con- 
verted, that you may live. I have meant you no harm, un- 
less salvation be your harm. The threatening of the Scrip- 
ture, and the miserable state of unconverted souls were all 
this while before me, which moved me to use so many per- 
suasions with you. Have I prevailed with you, or have I 
not ? Are you resolved for conversion, fully resolved, or are 
you not ? God bath all this while stood by and heard what 
I have said to you, and seeth now what answer is in your 
hearts, and what effect these words have had. Shall all this 
be lost ? And when we have said all that we can, must we 
sit down in sorrow, and say, who hath believed our reports ? 
Is there one man or woman of you that dare go on in an un- 
converted state, and draw back from God, and loiter out your 



1 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 249 

time, and still return to your former sins after all that I have 
said ? If you do so, do it at your peril ; and when you find 
yourselves in hell, remember the sermons that have been 
preached to you on this text, and blame not me, but your 
wilful negligence. Think not much that I bid you remem- 
ber these sermons when you find yourselves in hell, for you 
shall do it then, whether you will or not. There is not a 
soul of you that shall live or die in an unconverted state, but 
shall remember the warnings that I have now and formerly 
given you. Sermons will be remembered in hell, that are 
forgotten on earth ; and they that were weary to hear them 
here, and would not be at the small labour to repeat them, 
or hear them repeated, or else ponder in secret of what they 
heard, shall there think of it, and think again to their sor- 
row. As Abraham said to the condemned worldling, " Re- 
member that thou in thy life receivedst thy good things, and 
Lazarus his evil things ; but now he is comforted and thou 
art tormented"." So shall you remember the time, and 
means, and warnings that you once had. If you ask me how 
I know that? Why because the word of God doth tell me, 
that the consciences of wicked men will be their accusers p. 
And that they shall mourn at the last, and say, " How have 
1 hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof, and 
have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine 
ear to them that instructed me *» ?" And many other Scrip- 
tures assure me of the same. O how much better were it now 
to believe the Lord, and foresee this evil, and think of your way 
while you have opportunity to escape ? How much safer were 
this for you ! And how much more pleasing would it be to 
God and us ? O do not cast away your souls, and displease 
God, and all the true friends you have, only to please the devil 
and your flesh ! Let me urge you a little further in the words 
of your Maker, and I charge you to regard them, as you 
will answer the contempt of them at your peril. Did you 
never observe how God doth pity the stir that poor sinners 
make in the world for nothing, and the unprofitable trade of 
sinning that they drive on, and how he inviteth them to 
himself, as the true gain and felicity ? " Wherefore do you 
spend money for that which is not bread, and your la- 
bour for that which satisfieth not ? Hearken diligently unto 

o Luke »»i. «5. P Koiii. ii. IS. h Pruv, v. il— 13. 



250 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight 
itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear 
and your soul shall live ^" " Wash you, make you clean ; 
put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes : 
cease to do evil ; learn to do well. Come now, and let us 
reason together, saith the Lord ; though your sins be as 
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow \" " How long ye 
simple ones will ye love simplicity ? And ye scorners de- 
light in scorning? And fools hate knowledge ? Turn ye at 
my reproof; behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you. I will 
make known my words unto you ^" ** Turn ye even to me with 
all your hearts ; with fasting, and weeping, and mourning : 
rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the 
Lord your God ; for he is gracious and merciful to them that 
turn, but not to them that go on in their iniquity "." " When 
a wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, which he 
hath committed, and doth that which is lawful and right, he 
shall save his soul alive. Repent, and turn yourselves from 
all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 
For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth ; where- 
fore turn yourselves and live ye "." The like I recited to you 
from Ezek. xxxiii. 11. 

These are the calls of the God of mercy, inviting you 
into the way wherein his saving mercy is only to be found. 
O how glad would many thousands be that are now past 
hope, if they had but the call of God to repent, as you have 
this day ! How glad should you be that you have such an 
oflPer, and that it is not yet too late ? And therefore how 
cheerfully should you yield to be converted ? I shall in con- 
clusion say but this ; If ever a man or woman of you all shall 
appear before the Lord in judgment, in a carnal, unconvert- 
ed state, after all the warnings you have received, I hope 
God will not charge it upon me, who faithfully, though 
weakly, endeavoured to prevent it. 

•■ Isa. Iv. 1—3. » Isa. i. 16. » Prov. i. 22, 23. 

" Josh. ii. 12. ^ Ezek. xviii. 23. 30—32. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 251 



CHAPTER VII. 

By this time I hope many of you are willing to be converted, 
and are ready to inquire what you should do to that end ? 
and whether there be any thing on your parts to be done 
that may further it? And in hope that you are willing, I 
shall next proceed to give you my best advice herein. And 
if it were so that you could do nothing to further it, because 
I am sure you may do much to hinder it, and have done all 
this while, or else it had been better with you than it is; 
therefore I shall shew you what are the common hindrances 
of conversion, which you must carefully endeavour to remove 
or conquer; and with them I shall adjoin the contrary di- 
rections, which concern your necessary duty to this end. 
And though some of their contraries are real parts of con- 
version, yet the reason that I mention them here is, because 
the not yielding to the initial acts in the understanding, is 
the hindrance of the completive acts on the heart and life. 

Hindrance 1. Thejfirst hindrance of conversion that I 
shall warn you of, is. The wilful neglect of those ordinary 
means which God hath appointed for the work of conversion. 
When God will give any man saving grace, ordinarily he 
will do it by the means of grace. He that hath appointed 
his ordinances to that end, will so far stand to his own ap- 
pointment, and honour his own ordinances, as to work by 
them, and not ordinarily without them. If men therefore 
will not use God's means, no wonder if they go without his 
grace. For, 1. Such are out of the way of grace, and 
when they avoid the causes, they cannot in reason look for 
the effects. 2. And moreover, they do provoke God to 
withhold and deny his grace when they set so light by it, as 
that they will not so much as use the means to get it. A 
man by the help of common grace may see the absence and 
the necessity of special grace, and may do something io the 
use of means to obtain it if he will ; and when men will not 
so far use their common grace, it is just with God to deny 
them special grace. For example : 

(1.) One particular means of conversion, is. The hearing 
of the word preach^ by the ministers of Christ in the pub- 



252 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

lie assembly. " How shall they believe in him of whom 
they have not heard ? And how shall they hear without a 
preacher ? So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing 
by the word of God ^." God sent Paul " to open men's eyes 
and convert them ^" God would so far favour Cornelius, 
as to send an angel to him, but not to preach the Gospel, 
but only to bid him send for a preacher, because he would 
keep to his standing ordinance, and make use of his ministers 
and appointed means. So he would stop Paul by a vision in 
his way, and do more for him in acquainting him extraordi- 
narily with his name, than he doth with others ; and yet he 
sendeth him to Ananias for instruction '^. It was by hearing 
Peter preach that the Jews were pricked at the heart, and 
converted, and three thousand were added to the church at 
once ^, It was God that must open the heart of Lydia ; but 
what did he open it for, but to attend the things that were 
spoken by Paul, that thereby she might be converted ' ? God 
would vouchsafe an earthquake to prepare the heart of the 
jailor for conversion, but he would not convert him without 
the preaching of Paul and Silas ^. It was those that had 
ears and heard not, and hearts that were hardened against 
the word, that were not converted, healed or forgiven s. By 
teaching sinners the way to God, David assured himself, 
they shall be converted to him*'. The word of God is the 
seed of life, which is sown and takes root in the hearts of 
them that God will save*. It is the word ,of God which 
" abideth for ever," which is " the incorruptible seed by which 
we are born again ''." God hath made those promises of a 
blessing on his word, which should draw us to attend it : 
" Incline your ears, come unto me, hear and your souls shall 
live^" And he hath threatened those that will not hear 
and obey, severely. Matt. x. 14. If a people will not hear 
the ministers of Christ, they must " shake off the dust of 
their feet in witness against them." And Christ hath attest- 
ed that it " shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomor- 
rha in the day of judgment than for that people." It is by 
his ministers that Christ doth teach his church, and every 

* Rom X. 14. 17. ^ Acts xxvi. 17, 18. x. 3. 5. «= Acts ix. 6. 10. 

«» Acts ii. 37. 41. « Acts xvi. 14. f Acts xvi. 32. 

s Mark iv. 12. John xii. 40. Acts xxviii. 27. '' Psal. li. 13. 

' Matt. xiii. 8. 19. 23. Luke viii. 11. •'1 Pet. i. 23. 25. 
' Prov. i. 23. Isa. Iv. 3. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 253 

soul that heareth not him, shall be cut off from his people ™. 
If you will be at home when the message of God is delivered 
to the congregation, you cannot expect the blessing and be- 
nefit of it. If you can find something else to do when you 
should hear the word of God, God will find something else 
to do when he should give you his saving grace. 

Object, * But the minister is but a weak man, and I can- 
not profit by him.' 

Answ. Doth he not deliver the profitable word of God ? 
Doth he not preach the doctrine of faith, and repentance, 
and justification by Christ, and shew you the way of life? 
If you can hear the doctrine of everlasting life, and not pro- 
fit by it, because the minister is not so able as others, blame 
your own hearts, and give more attendance and regard to 
what you hear ; and lament that ignorance or carelessness 
of your own that hindereth you from profiting. 

Object, * But I have more temptations in the congrega- 
tion, than I have when I sit at home. Satan is troubling me 
with vain thoughts, and I cannot attend.' 

Atisw, Is that a reason against duty, and so necessary a 
duty ? Will you think to overcome the devil's temptations 
by yielding to them ? That is it that he would have. If he 
could drive you from God's ordinances, he hath his will. 
Will you make your own sin a pretence against your neces- 
sary duty ? That is to make one sin a pretence for another; 
yea, a lesser sin a pretence for a greater : it is your sin to 
hear with a careless, wandering mind, but it is a greater sin 
not to hear at all. 

Object, * I can profit as much by staying at home, and 
reading the Scripture, or some good book : it is the word of 
God which they preach, and it is that which I read at home. 
The books that are written by learned men, are better than 
the sermons that are preached by our ministers.' 

Answ. 1. What foolish pretences are these against the 
plain command of God, and our own necessary duty ? When 
God hath appointed you your duty, will he allow you to for- 
sake it upon your own reason, as if you were wiser than God, 
and knew what will profit you better than he? If your phy- 
sician give you a medicine, and bid you take it for the cure 
of your disease, will you be wiser than he, and say, why may 
• Acts Hi. ««. 



254 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

not such and such a thing serve turn as well, or fetter ? If 
you will needs be your own physician, and forsake God's di- 
rection, and cure yourselves, do it as well as you can, and 
what will become of it. It is a strange thing that a sottish 
sinner should think himself wiser than God, and take upon 
him to mend his word, and find out a better way to heaven 
than he hath prescribed him. 

2. Can you have grace think you without the gift of God ? 
If you cannot, do you think God will give it you in away of 
disobedience, when you run from his appointed means ; or 
rather in a way of duty and obedience, when you wait on 
him in that which he hath promised to bless ? Find you 
such promises to those that turn their back on God's pub- 
lic ordinances, as we can shew you to them that diligently 
use them, if you can. 

3. Is it not horrible pride in you to think that you are 
able to understand the word of God as well without a 
teacher, as with one ? The eunuch said to Philip, when he 
asked him whether he understood what he read; "How can 
I except some man should guide me " ?" And yet you think 
you can read the word at home as profitably without a guide : 
as if your children that go to school should say, ' We have 
the same books at home, and therefore we will not go to 
school, our master doth but teach us our grammar, and other 
books, and these we can read at home.' You are wise men 
that while, that know no more of your own ignorance ; and 
humble men, that think you have no need of teaching ; as if 
God had appointed his ministers and ordinances in vain. 

4. It is a certain mark that you never heard or read as. 
you should ; or else your hearing or reading would have 
taught you, that both must go together, and not one shut 
out the other ; and that the greatest, which is God's public 
work, must be preferred. It is a mark of a graceless heart 
and worse ; even of one that hath much blinded common 
reason itself, when wretched sinners do know no more of 
their own necessity, but think they can live as well without 
God's public means as with it. If ever sermon or book had 
done you saving good, and you had the least spark of grace, 
and had felt the power of divine truth upon your soul, you 
would have been far from these conceits ; you would feel 

» Acts viii. 30, ol. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 255 

the necessity of the preaching of the word, as an hungry 
man feeleth the need of his food. Your own necessity would 
drive you, and the good which you feel by the word would 
draw you, and your love to it would not suffer you to for- 
bear. If you were necessarily kept away by any business, 
you would take it for your loss, when it is not your sin, and 
would lament that you were deprived of that which you find 
so sweet and profitable. To find no profit by the preaching 
of the word of God, nor any great need of it, is a mark of a 
dead and graceless soul. 

5. Look through the Scripture, and see whether the 
common way of conversion were not by the hearing the 
word of God preached. 

6. If you may thus forbear it, then why may not all 
others ? And then all Christian assemblies should be dis- 
solved, and forborn; and then what churches should we 
have ? And do you think that this is the will of God ? All 
sorts of Christians in the world would have assemblies. 
Papists have their meetings, and Anabaptists have theirs ; 
and even the Separatists have theirs ; and would you have 
none ? Doth not God expressly charge you, that ** you for- 
sake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the man- 
ner of some is **." And to what end else hath he appointed 
ministers in his church ? 

7. Do you think that there should be any ministers, or 
not? If not, then no church, no baptism, and then no 
Christ, and no salvation. If there should, what should they 
do, if not preach the Gospel ? Paul so far preferred it be- 
fore other ordinances, that he thanketh God that he bap- 
tized not any himself save some few among them, because 
of an inconveniency that might have followed. " For God 
sent me not" saith he, " to baptise, but to preach the Gos- 
pel ''." If you would have no preaching, you should have 
no ministers. And if you would have us preach, who should 
we preach to ? to walls, or to men ? If to men, why not to 
you as well as to others ? Are others bound to hear any 
more than yoa? And how can we preach without hearers? 
Paul saith, and so must we, " Necessity is laid upon me, and 
woe to me if I preach not the Gospel." And may we not 
then say, neceiMiity it laid on you, and woe to you if you 

• Heb. t.Sb. »• 1 Cor. i. 17. 



25t) TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

hear not the Gospel ? The Scripture saith, " How beauti- 
ful are the very feet of them that bring the glad tidings of 
peace !" And you can profit as well without them at home. 
Is not your spirit then contrary to God's Spirit, which thus 
speaks *i : and what spirit is it that is contrary to God's Spi- 
rit but the devil's ? 

8. It was never God's end in writing the Scripture, nor 
the end of ministers in writing good books to keep you from 
the public hearing of the word. Each duty must know its 
place. I had rather the books that I have written were all 
burnt, than that men should by them be kept from the pub- 
lic and greater ordinances. Do not these very books which 
you say you read, command you to hear, and condemn those 
that do not hear ? Do they not shew you that your words 
are the words of wickedness ; and say, as much for hearing 
as now I do ? What an hypocritical trick of you is this, 
when the Bible and other good books do command you to 
be constant hearers, and condemn you if you will not, that 
you will say you can profit more by reading these books 
than by hearing? What, can you profit more by reading 
your duty, when you refuse to do it, than by obedient doing 
it? Can you profit most by reading your own condemna- 
tion ? You read in Scripture that " he that turneth away 
his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomi- 
nation '^." The truth is, you shew by this, that you do but 
make reading a pretence against hearing, when indeed you 
never did either of them with understanding and grace in 
your hearts. 

9. What do you by withdrawing from the public assem- 
blies, but excommunicate yourselves ? And is it not our 
duty then to excommunicate or avoid you if you continue 
obstinate after admonition ? Do you believe the commu- 
nion of saints, and yet do you avoid it ? Well, if you had 
any grace in your hearts, you would make the assembly and 
public worship of God, the delight of your souls, and it 
would do you so much good to call on God, and praise him 
with his people, and hear his instruction, that you could not 
be without it. You would do as David, when he was ba- 
nished from the temple and worship of God, he crieth out, 
•* As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my 

1 Rom. X. 15. ^ Prov. xxviii. 9. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 257 

soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the 
living God : when shall I come and appear before God ? My 
tears have been my meat day and night, while they conti- 
nually say to me. Where is thy God ? When I remember 
these things, I pour out my soul in me ; for I had gone 
with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God ; 
with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that 
kept holy-day'." 

The sixth council at Constantinople decreed, that who- 
soever was absent from the congregation three Lord's days 
together without necessity ; if he were a minister, should be 
put from the ministry, and if he were a private man, he 
should be cast from the communion of the church. If you 
cast out yourselves, blame not us if we cast you out. 

Object. * But, say some (that the Quakers have taught,) 
when a minister preacheth a month, or two, or three, or a 
year upon one text, how can he choose but add to the word 
of God, and therefore why should we hear them V 

Answ. A foolish cavil. What ! is expounding and ap- 
plying the word of God, adding to it ? Do we tell you that 
any thing is the word of God that is not? Why doth not 
one of these ignorant objectors come and tell us in any one 
particular, what it is that we have added to the word of God ? 
I am now persuading you to hear the word of God, is this 
adding to it ? Doth not the word do the like ? And doth 
not God in the word bid us acquaint you with it, and make 
it plain to you, and press it upon you ? What if a lawyer 
bestow a day, or twenty days in pleading your cause before 
the judge, that he may save your estate, or your life from the 
malice of an adversary ? Will you say, that this lawyer doth 
add to the law of the land by his pleading? What if the 
judge pass sentence according to law, and give the reason 
of it ? Or what if he make a charge of many hours long 
wherever he comes \ doth he add to, or diminish from the 
law by so doing ? 1 must crave pardon of the hearers that 
are of common reason, that I have spent so much time in 
answering such senseless, sottish cavils as these. But they 
must consider that such people we have to deal with, and 
the more unreasonable and blockish they are, the greater 
need they have to be taught. 

• PmJ. xlii. 
VOL. VII. • 



258 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

(2.) Another means that God hath appointed for con- 
version, is ; The reading of his word, and of such good books 
as are written for the opening and applying of it. Though 
this must not thrust out hearing, yet is it an excellent means 
in its own time and place, or else God would not have ap- 
pointed it as he hath done *. Many a soul hath had happy 
e:^perience of the success of reading. The word read is the 
word, and therefore may convert, for " the law of the Lord 
is perfect, converting the soul "." It is a very great privi- 
lege to have the truths of God before our eyes, where we 
may view them over and over at our leisure, till they be fas- 
tened in our hearts. 

(3.) Another means that God hath appointed us to use 
for the obtainment of his grace, is, A serious inquiry of 
those that should and can instruct us. In common, easy 
matters, you may go either to ministers or private Christians 
as you see fit ; but in matters of great difficulty, where pri- 
vate men are in danger of mistaking, or are not able to do it 
as your case requires, there it is your duty especially to re- 
pair to your teachers ; or the most able, faithful ministers 
that you can well get, and make known your case to them, 
and desire their direction for your effectual recovery. Ni- 
codemus came to Jesus by night for counsel, because he 
perceived that he was a teacher sent from God : and Christ 
thereupon did give him advice in the matter of the new birth. 
So Matt. xix. 16. Another inquireth what he shall do that 
he may have eternal life. The eunuch desires instruction of 
Philip * ; and Paul of Ananias, and Cornelius of Peter, as 
was said before. The Jews that were pricked at the heart, 
ask Peter and the rest of the apostles what they shall do y. 
And the jailor asks Paul and Silas, what he shall do to be 
saved ? See further, Mai. ii. 7. " The priest's lips should 
keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth*; 
for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts." Luke xii. 42. 
Col. i. 28. If poor unconverted sinners would but take this 
course, and go to their teachers for direction for their salva- 
tion, and resolve to practise it when it is given them, con- 

t Exod. xxiv. 7. Josh. viii. 34, 35. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 30. Neh. viii. 3. 8. 18. 
ix. 3. Matt. xii. 3. 5. xxi. 26. xxii. 31. Acts xiii. 27. xv. 21. Deut. xxxi. 
11. Acts viii. 30. Gol. iv. 16. Rev. i. 3. 1 Tim. iv. 13. 

" Psal. xix. 7. * Acts viii. > Acts ii. 37. 




TREATISE OF CONVERSION, 259 

version would not be so rare, nor so many miscarry as now 
do ; but most are so careless that they feel no need of it, and 
think it were but to trouble themselves and their teachers 
to no purpose ; and others are so stout that they will not 
stoop to it ; but if we send for them to come and speak with 
us, that we may afford them the best advice we can, they 
ask us by what authority we do it ; and think it too much 
to come near us, and speak to us : others are so sinfully 
bashful, that they cannot open their mouths, when their sal- 
vation is concerned in the matter ; and others are conceited 
beforehand that ministers will but slight them, and are too 
stout to speak to them, at least with any seriousness and 
tenderness of their case. And thus satan keeps men from 
grace, by keeping them from the means of grace. 

(4.) Another means of conversion, is. The frequent com- 
pany of those that fear God, and would afford us their help 
in the way to heaven, and conference with them about these 
things. Company hath a transforming power, and the 
speeches and examples of heavenly Christians, will do much 
to bring others to a consideration of their ways. Commonly 
men are, or seem to be, such as their familiar company is. 

(5.) Another means for conversion, is. Frequent and ear- 
nest prayers to God. When we know we want grace, and 
that God is the giver of it, what should we do but betake our- 
selves to him, and ask saving grace and " wisdom of him, 
who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not^?" I 
know some would persuade us that we may not exhort un- 
converted men to pray ; because their prayer is an abomina- 
tion to God, and without faith they cannot please God. To 
whom I answer briefly. 1. Nature itself teacheth a man in 
misery to cry to him, that is able to relieve him, and to beg 
pardon of him whom he hath offended, and especially when 
he knoweth that he is of a merciful nature : and may we not 
persuade men to that which the very light of nature doth 
direct them to, and the law of nature oblige them to ? Or 
will these men go against the light and law of nature ? 2. 
Scripture commandeth these to pray, and seek God, " Seek 
the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is 
near. Let the wicked forsake his ways ; and the unrigh- 
teous man his thoughts ".** Peter exhorts Simon Magus to 

> James i. 5. • la*. U. 6, 7. So Hut. i. If. Hi. 5. Amos t. 6. 



260 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

• 
" pray, if perhaps the thoughts of his heart may be forgiven 
him," when he pronounceth him " in the gall of bitterness, 
and bond of iniquity **." 3. We do not exhort men to pray, 
while they continue wicked, but to return with prayer in 
their mouths from their wickedness. Our exhortation is as 
those before mentioned, " Let the wicked forsake his way ;" 
and thus seek the Lord. " Repent of this thy wickedness," 
and so pray for pardon as Peter exhorteth. When we bid 
them pray, we bid them desire, for desire is the soul of 
prayer, and words are but the body ; and when we exhort 
them to desire grace, we exhort them to the beginning of 
grace. Prayer is a returning act, and when we exhort them 
to pray, we exhort them to return, and by prayer to begin 
the work, and so this beginning may be a means of the rest 
of the change that is yet behind. 

Direct. 1. Having shewed you the first hindrance of 
conversion, I come to give you the first direction, which is 
contrary thereto ; and that is. That you would presently fall 
upon the use of these means, that God hath appointed you 
to use for your conversion. Are you sensible of the neces- 
sity of it ? and are you truly willing to be converted, or are 
you not ? If you would, let us see your willingness in the 
use of the means without delay. Particularly, let me en- 
treat of you these following things. 

(1.) See that you be constant hearers of the word 
preached, and take delight in the public assembly of the 
church, and let nothing but necessity keep you at home. 
Live under the ablest ministry that you can : and neglect 
not one such opportunity for your souls. If you be absent 
without necessity but from one sermon, God may justly de- 
ny you the blessing of the rest : and you know not which it 
is that is most suitable to your condition, and therefore miss 
not any. The devil is aware what a minister is studying 
about all the week, and when he seeth that we have pro- 
vided that which is likeliest to do you good, he will do all 
that he can to keep you away that day. He will find one 
business or other, or tempt you to be negligent ; because 
he is afraid, lest if you come, you should be converted. 
Miss not one sermon, therefore, lest you miss that one that 
fihould have done you good. And as you hear, so take heed 

•> Acts viii. 22. 




TREATISE OF CONVBR8ION. 261 

how you hear, and attend to it as to a message sent from 
God, concerning your salvation ; and '* set your hearts to all 
the words that you hear, for it is not a vain thing, but it is 
for your life "=." ** He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," 
saith Christ often in cases of greatest moment ! And he 
that will not hear, and diligently hear a message from free 
grace for the saving of his soul, is unworthy to have ears. 

(2.) If you would be converted by the word, do not let 
it slip as soon as you have heard it ; but call it to remem- 
brance again, and bring it home to your hearts : ponder of 
what you have heard,and speak of it to those about you. And 
if you be not able to remember it, through the weakness of 
your memories, go to some of your neighbours' houses that 
do repeat it, that you may have the benefit of their assist- 
ance. Have not you as much need as they ? and should not 
you be at as much pains as they ? Make the word your 
own before you leave it. 

(3.) Be much in reading the word of God, and such prac- 
tical books as will help you to apply it ? And lay to heart 
the truths you shall read. 

(4.) Especially do all this on the Lord's day, which is 
purposely set apart for such holy works. Lose none of that 
precious season of grace : but when the public worship is 
over, betake yourselves with your families, and in secret to 
the improvement of it ; and take as much pains that day for 
your souls, as you do on the rest of the days of the week for 
your bodies. You cannot then pretend that you have no 
leisure, when it is at a time that is wholly to be employed 
in such things. O make the best of that day, and seek after 
the knowledge of God therein, if you would be partakers of 
his grace. 

(6.) Will you go, m case you want direction, to those 
that are able to direct you ? Especially to your teachers, 
and ask them what course you must take for conversion, 
and tell them your case, and the hindrances thaE you meet 
with, and resolve to obey the counsel that they shall give 
you? 

(6.) Will you betake yourselves daily to God in hearty 
prayer, and beg of him that he would give you converting 
grace ? Beseech him to open your eyes, and shew you the 

« Dcut. ii&vi. 46, 47. 



262 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

greatness of your sin and misery, till you be unfeignedly 
humbled ; and that he would shew you the need of his grace 
in Christ, till you can thirst after him and his righteousness ; 
and that he would shew you the certainty and excellency of 
hisr glory, till your hearts be set upon it above all ? O beg 
hard of God that he would not let you live unconverted any 
longer, lest death should find you in that miserable state. 
Beseech him to pardon all your former rebellions and resist- 
ance of his Spirit, and now at last to give you that grace that 
you have set so lightly by ; and bring you into the hatred of 
those ways of sinful pleasure or profit, which had your 
hearts before. 

These are the means that God hath appointed to bring 
you into a state of saving grace. What say you ? Are 
you willing ? Are you resolved to use these means, or are 
you not? If you think that this is too much ado, and that 
your salvation is not worth it, you may take your ease and 
go without it. But if God have not given you up to so 
much unreasonableness, but that you had rather be at the 
sweet and comfortable pains of duty, than endure the into- 
lerable pains of hell : if you do not set more by the ease of 
your flesh for a few days, than the ease and peace of soul 
and body for ever, then take my counsel, and set upon these 
means without delay. Look who doth most for God, and 
their salvation, of all that you know, and strive to do as 
much as they. You have the same God, and the same law, 
and the same, and greater necessity, than they : you are 
farther behind hand : you have more work undone which 
must be done : your danger is greater, and your souls should 
be as precious to you, as theirs to them. O, therefore, take 
time while you have it, and set yourselves to the work. 

Hindrance 2. The second hindrance of conversion, 
which I shall mention, is bad company. It is a dangerous 
thing to be wilfully a companion of ignorant,careless,ungod- 
ly men. If they will say nothing directly against that which 
is good, yet will they do much to hinder your salvation, by 
keeping your thoughts, and talk, and delight upon other 
things, and by giving you an evil example, as if these mat- 
ters were not necessary. Vain talk, and vain practices, set- 
tle the minds of men in vanity, and in a forgetfulness and 
neglect of heavenly things. Besides, they will be enticing 



d 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 263 

you to such kind of business and delight, as strengthen the 
flesh, and contradict the Spirit, and fasten you in sin, and 
are the common causes of the perdition of the world. The 
noise of their foolish laughter and giddy discourse, will 
drown the voice of conscience, and of the Spirit of God. It 
is hard keeping the heart in a sense of duty, or the evil of 
sin,' in the midst of sin. As it is certainly a vain and 
graceless heart that delighteth most in vain company, so 
such will make the heart more vain. When men sit over 
their pots, cherishing their flesh, (which they once vowed to 
fight against as their enemies,) pouring out a deal of foolish, 
senseless discourse ; the sense of the evil of sin and of the 
love of Christ, and of the worth of glory, is then far from the 
heart : and if they do make any mention of God or holy 
things, it is commonly irreverently and most abusively, tak- 
ing the name of God in vain, and sinning more by their 
Scripture discourse, than by any other. And it is a wonder 
if the devil and their fleshly reason do not lead them to plead 
against God, and to take part with the flesh, and perhaps to 
make a scorn of godliness. O what a dangerous thing it is 
to live among such company as will be still hindering, but 
never helping, in the way to heaven ! Especially among 
those who are worldly or sensual, or that are enemies to 
godliness, and set themselves against it to their power. In 
a way that is up hill, and all against the interest and inclina- 
tion of our flesh, and in which we are so weak and back- 
ward ourselves, we had need of all the help that we can get, 
and a little hindrance may be our undoing. But when poor 
sinners shall live MMMUg such, where they shall hear almost 
no discourse, bat Tain, and almost no talk of religion, but 
in distaste and contempt of it, despising the way to heaven, 
which is in eflect, to despise heaven itself; how can it be 
expected that such should be brought to the knowledge of 
the truth, and the love of those ways that they hear so much 
reproached ? 1 know God can do it, and sometimes doth, 
where people are unavoidably cast into such company ; but 
if men will choose such, when they may avoid it, the case 
is dangerous indeed. "He that walketh with wise men 
shall be yet wiser, but a companion of fools shall be de- 
stroyed " Some of these ungodly wretches are so cunning 
in their discourse, that weak, silly people be not able to dis- 



264 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

cern their folly. Some of them also have some worldly in- 
terest in them, and therefore are the liker to do them hurt. 
When those that they dwell with, and those that they de- 
pend upon, and those that seem to love them are ungodly, 
and speak against the way of salvation, it commonly takes 
so much with the ignorant, that they either say as they say, 
and are of their minds, or at least it hindereth them from 
thorough conversion, and setting themselves diligently to 
the saving of their souls. Thousands have been everlastingly 
undone by evil company. 

Direct, 2. The second direction, therefore, that I shall 
give you is this ; Do all that you can to avoid the company 
of those that would hinder you, and to live in the company 
of those that would help you, in the matters of your salva- 
tion. I do not mean, that a servant that is bound should go 
from his master before he hath served according to their 
agreement ; nor that a child should forsake his parents that 
are ungodly ; nor that a woman should forsake her husband, 
or a man his wife on this account ; for here they are not at 
their own choice, but are fixed to their relations, which tie 
them to duty and faithfulness to their places ; but I mean, 
that no man shall willingly cast himself into evil company, 
that can avoid it. Particularly. 1. If a master be to take a 
servant, take not such as are ungodly, if you can have better. 
If a servant be to choose a master, come not into an ungod- 
ly family, if you can help it. If young people be intended 
to marry, take heed of being yoked unequally, and 
joining yourselves with the members of the devil, and 
the enemies of Christ, and those that are likely to be hin- 
derers of your salvation, and so to prove the damnation of 
your souls. You will be backward enough and bad enough 
in the best company that you get ; what then will you be in 
the worst ? Especially when it is so near you, and continu- 
ally with you, and that of your own choice. I confess a 
minister or other Christian when he hath a call to endeavour 
the good of such, and to reprove their sin, may go among 
them as a physician among the sick ; and so did Christ him- 
self when he was on earth. But to make them our compa- 
nions willingly,' we may not. Grace is hardly got, and 
hardly kept, and more hardly increased in such company as 
this. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 265 

On the other side, get into the company of such as will 
further you. *' The tongue of the just is as choice silver ; 
the heart of the wicked is little worth ; the lips of the righ- 
teous feed many, but fools die for want of wisdom. The lips 
of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of 
the wicked speaketh frowardness. Go from the presence of 
a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of 
4cnowledge **." If you were children of God yourselves, you 
would delight in those that are such. For, ** by this we 
know that we are translated from death to life, because we 
love the brethren." And David saith, " the saints on the 
earth, and the excellent are all his delight*." Get there- 
fore, if it be possible, into the company of such ; with them 
you shall hear that which may humble you for sin, and you 
shall hear that of Christ which may tend to kindle the love 
of him in your breasts ; and you shall hear that of the good- 
ness of God, and his way, and the privilege of the saints ; 
the precious promises of the Gospel, the life of grace, and 
the hopes of everlasting glory which may make your hearts 
to burn within you. When you live with those that by their 
example disgrace sin to you, and draw you from it, and 
watch Qver you against it, and that will be still minding you 
of those truths that should sanctify your hearts, O what an 
advantage is this to your salvation ! If you be ignorant, 
they will teach you ; if you are unskilful in prayer, or other 
holy duties, they will help you by their instruction and ex- 
ample. Choose, therefore, the best company you can get, 
if you be free, and all little enough. Live among that com- 
pany on earth, that you must live with in heaven, if ever you 
come thither. 

Hindrance 3. The next hindrance of conversion, is, 
A gross ignorance of those truths which should be the in- 
struments of their conversion. He that turneth to God, 
must needs know God ; and he that turneth from sin, must 
needs know the evil and danger of sin. No man will make 
80 great a change, and not know why. No man will part 
with his present contents, and set upon a course that his 
nature is against ; nor forsake all the world, even that which 
is dearest to him, till he know that there is a flat necessity 
of so doing, or know of something better to be had by the 

* Prw. X. W, «1. 3t. »i». r. • Psal. xvi. S. 



2W TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

change. When we find that even men of knowledge are too 
often ungodly, and they will not leave sin when they know 
the evil of it, and know that everlasting damnation is threat- 
ened against it. How then can they forsake it that know 
not this ? When many that can speak of the vanity of this 
world, and the glory of the saints in the life to come, and 
the amiableness of God, and his all-sufficiency to make them 
happy, do yet cleave to this world, and neglect God and 
the glory which they so extol, how then can we expect that 
they should turn to God, and set their minds to seek his 
kingdom that do not know him ? All the wickedness in the 
world is cherished by ignorance, total or partial. Even 
those that say they know these things, and yet live ungodly, 
do not soundly know them, but hold them as an opinion, 
and not as a point of saving faith. O, if poor sinners, that 
set so light by the everlasting kingdom, did but thoroughly 
know what they slight, they would quickly change their 
mind and courses. If you knew heaven as well as you knew 
your own houses and lands, and if you saw what the souls 
do now enjoy that depart in the faith, as you see what is 
done in the houses where you dwell, I would not thank the 
worst of you all to become far more devout and diligent than 
the best in the town or country is now. I would not thank 
the vilest worldling to become heavenly ; or the vilest 
drunkard to become sober; or the scorner of godliness to 
be the most godly in the country. If you knew heaven as 
well as you know earth, it were no thanks to you if every fa- 
mily of you were a society of saints, but this cannot be ex- 
pected. God will not have us live by sight and sense, but 
by faith. But yet a knowledge of divine revelation we may 
and must have. No man loveth sin but for want of know- 
ing what he loveth. No man doteth upon this deceitful 
world, but for want of knowing the worthlessness of it ; no 
man makes light of eternal glory, but for want of knowing 
what he makes light of ; and no man is against a holy life, 
but he that knoweth not what it is, nor what will be the end 
of it. O, sirs, if you knew God, your hearts would be in- 
flamed in love to him. There are some of you now stand 
wondering at the diligence of the godly, and some of you 
are secretly reproaching them, and casting forth your igno- 
rant scorns against them; but if you did but know what it 



TREATISE OF CONVERMON. 267 

is that they are doing, and who it is that setteth them on 
work, and what it is that they make all this ado for, you 
would wonder more at your own folly, and would be as for- 
ward as they, and would presently take that course which 
you now reproach. Alas ! poor sinners durst not sport with 
sin if theyiknew what they did ; they durst not run in crowds 
to damnation if they knew what they did. The kingdom of 
satan is a kingdom of darkness ; and his works are the works 
of darkness ; and himself the ruler of the darkness of this 
world, and under chains of darkness is he reserved to the 
judgment of the great day; and the mist and blackness of 
darkness is reserved to him and his servants for ever. " If 
the Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost ; in whom 
the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which 
believe not, lest the glorious Gospel of Christ who is the 
image of God should shine unto them. He that walketh 
in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth '." They that 
are converted can truly say, " we were sometimes darkness, 
but now we are light in the Lord ^" For they are " trans- 
lated from the power of darkness.*' 

Direct. 3. If ever you would be converted, labour for 
true knowledge : come into the light that your deeds may 
be manifested ; and that your own hearts may be manifest 
to yourselves. Nothing but light will expel your darkness, 
the devil haunteth men in the night of ignorance, and sel- 
dom appeareth in the open daylight : bring in but the saving 
light of knowledge, and he will vanish and be gone : the first 
part of saving grace is illumination. The opening of the eye 
causeth the opening of the heart : Oh if you had but a little 
of the heavenly light of the saints, it would shew you that 
which would turn your hearts ; you could not be of the 
same mind as you are, if you had but saving light : now you 
think highly of the world, and meanly of the world to come ; 
you now think nothing too much for your flesh, and all too 
much that is done for heaven ; you could not be of this 
mind if you had the light of the Spirit : you labour now for 
that which profiteth not, and neglect that which would pay 

« Luke xxU. 5S. John t.5. iii. 19. Roro.ziii. IS. % Cor. vi. 14. Epli. vL 
If. Col. i. IS. «Pet. ii4. 17. Jude 6. 13. Matt. xxii.lS. «v. «0. John 
z'u* 35. 

' Eph. *. 8. 



268 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

you for your labour: you vilify Christ, and grace, and holi- 
ness, while you magnify the dreams and dung of the world ; 
you could not do thus if you were savingly illuminated. I 
beseech you, therefore, if ever you would be converted and 
saved, labour presently to know the Lord, and his will and 
ways ; lament your former ignorance and negligence which 
did maintain it. It is not so great a shame for you to be 
ignorant how to do your work in the world ; no, nor how 
to eat or drink, or how to dress yourselves, as it is to be ig- 
norant of the kingdom of heaven, and the way thereto : you 
will never hit the way to heaven if you do not know it ; he 
that knoweth most, knoweth too little ; what then will they 
do that know almost nothing at all? O think not know- 
ledge a needless thing, but make out after it, and rest not 
till you do obtain it ; to which end you must use these 
means following. 

(1.) Be much in hearing and reading the word of God, 
as was before directed ; for that is it that " giveth light to 
the simple s;" this "will make you wise unto salvation^." 
(2.) Read good books that are written for the expounding 
and applying of the Scripture. Many have received much 
information by these. (3.) Converse with wise and godly 
men : these are the means of knowledge that were before 
made mention of. 

Object. ' We are not learned, and therefore God will not 
require much knowledge at our hands.* 

Answ. You may say, * Therefore God will not require 
learning at your hands, further than you are without it 
through your own neglect.' But first, every man that hath 
a reasonable soul should know God that made him ; and 
the end for which he should live ; and know the way to his 
eternal happiness as well as the learned : have not you souls 
to save or lose as well as the learned have ? 2. God hath 
made plain his will to you in his word ; he hath given you 
teachers and many other helps ; so that you have no excuse 
if you are ignorant; you must know how to be Christians if 
you are no scholars. You may hit the way to heaven in 
English, though youhave no skill in Hebrew or Greek: but 
in the darkness of ignorance you can never hit it. 3. Will 
not God judge you as well as the learned ? And will not 

» Psal. cxix. 105. 130. •' 2 Tim. iii. 15. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 269 

he require an account of the talents which you possess ? He 
hath set you on his work as well as others, and therefore 
you must know how to do his work. If you think there- 
fore that you may be excused from knowledge, you may as 
well think that you may be excused from love and from all obe- 
dience ; for there can be none of this without knowledge. 

Object. * But I am not of so quick an apprehension as 
others; and therefore I cannot learn so well. And I have 
been brought up in ignorance, and therefore it cannot be 
expected from me.' 

Answ. Can any man have excuse for ignorance that liveth 
among such teaching, and books, and Christian company 
as we now do ? You may as well shut your eyes at noon- 
day, and say you cannot do your work for want of light. 
Were you but as willing to get the knowledge of God and 
heavenly things as you are to know how to work in your 
trade, you would have set yourselves to it before this day, 
and you would have spared no cost or pains till you had got 
it. But you account seven years little enough to learn your 
trade, and will not bestow one day in seven in diligent learn- 
ing the matters of your salvation. Is there not many an 
opportunity of getting knowledge, which you miss of through 
your own neglect ? You are at home or upon other busi- 
ness, when you might have been hearing the word of God, 
and in the company of diligent Christians, that are inqui- 
ring and learning these necessary things ; and when you 
neglect the means, you think to be excused for your igno- 
rance. The way that God commandeth you for getting 
knowledge, is, that you receive the word of God, and hide 
his commandments with you; and incline your ears to wis- 
dom, and apply your hearts to understand, and that you cry 
after knowledge : and lift up your voice for understanding, 
and seek it as silver, and search for it as hid treasures. 
And if you would do thus, the Lord hath promised that you 
shall understand the fear of the Lord, and find the know- 
ledge of God '. Methinks light itself should be pleasant to 
you. Did Adam so desire unnecessary knowledge as to 
undo himself and his posterity to procure it? and will not 
you so desire that knowledge which is necessary to your 
salvation, and by which you may be recovered from that 
miserable estate ^ ? How many years study will men spend 

•Pror. n. t— 5. •» Actsxifi.lB. 



270 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

to know a little of the creature, and will you not take pains 
to know the Maker and End of the whole creation ? 

Object, ' But we hope we may be saved without so much 
knowledge.' 

Answ, Not without knowing the necessary, fundamental 
points of Christianity ; and a desire to know more. Doth 
Christ say, " It is life eternal to know God and Jesus 
Christ ^" and do you think to have life eternal without it ? 
God saith of people that have no understanding, " That he 
that made them will not save them, and he that formed 
them will shew them no favour "" :" and that "Christ shall 
come in flaming fire to render vengeance to them that know 
not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ °." 
And that they shall be "punished with everlasting destruc- 
tion from the presence of the Lord." 

Hindrance 4. The next hindrance of conversion, is. 
Unbelief : when men will not be persuaded that the word of 
God is true, but doubt of the things which he hath revealed 
to them, concerning the everlasting state of men. Men have 
but a slight opinion of the truth of the word of God, which 
will not serve turn to prevail against their fleshly inclination. 

Three great enemies of the Christian faith we have to 
deal with, which if we overcome not, we lose all. 1. The 
one is our own unbelieving hearts, and our carnal inclina- 
tions and interests ; flesh and blood cannot reveal the things 
of God to us, nor discern them when they are revealed °. 
A sound belief of the life to come, and of the whole Chris- 
tian faith, would certainly turn the heart to God, and turn 
the course of all your lives. It is this faith that purifieth 
the heart p ; and without it no wonder if the word be unpro- 
fitable **, as to the producing of any further work of sancti- 
fication, for it must first beget faith before it can do the 
.rest. 2. Another enemy to the Christian faith, is the devil ; 
who believeth and trembleth himself, but laboureth to keep 
others unbelieving and secure. So great is his malice 
against Christ and our souls, that when he seeth that he 
cannot make a poor sinner forget God, and make light of 
his word any longer, he flieth openly in the very face of 
God, and disturbeth the soul with blasphemous suggestions. 



» John xvii. 3. "» Isa.xxvii. 11. "2 Thess. i.8, 9. 

« Matt. xvi. 17. 1 Cor.n. 14. p Acts xv. 9. *» Heb.iv. 3. 



I 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 271 

and tempteth them to doubt whether there be a God, or not, 
or whether Scripture be his word, or whether it be true. It 
was his first way of deceiving, to make the woman doubt of 
the truth of God*s word, which had told her, that if she 
sinned, she should die. And experience teacheth him to 
follow on this course, which he hath found to be so suc- 
cessful ; most of the world are destroyed by this unbelief. 
How sensible is many a poor Christian of the incessant ma- 
lice of satan in this point ; when he followeth them from 
day to day with such violence, that their hearts are ready to 
be overwhelmed with the horror of the temptation. But 
the ungodly do yield to them without so much reluctance. 
3. Another sort of enemies of the Christian faith, are, noto- 
rious ungodly men ; such as either by the power of their 
own unbelieving hearts, have prevailed against the light 
that should have drawn them to believe, or such as have by 
the reasonings of infidels, been made infidels themselves, 
and are desirous to make others such as they are : these are 
the devil's instruments to draw men to unbelief. 

Direct, 4. If ever you would be savingly converted, see 
that you soundly believe the word of God : believe soundly 
that there is an everlasting happiness, which is the reward 
of a holy life, and an everlasting torment, which is the pu- 
nishment of ungodliness ; and you cannot choose but for- 
sake your ungodliness, and become holy. To this end ob- 
serve these few things following. 1 . Watch over your car- 
nal hearts with jealousy : do not take your hearts to be 
clear and impartial ; and therefore commit not the matter to 
their trust : they are naturally enemies to the word of God, 
and therefore no wonder if they hardly believe it. 2. Do 
not think too highly of your own understandings, as if you 
were able to comprehend the depths of God ; or were com- 
petent judges of each passage in his word, before you have 
had time and means to understand them, or before you have 
improved your time and means by diligent study and prayer 
to God ; search the Scripture, as a learner, and not as a 
foolish caviller. 3. Abhor the very first temptation of satan 
that tends to draw your souls to unbelief, and suffer not his 
malice to make too deep impressions in your fancies : cast 
out such horrid thoughts with detestation, and give them 
not the least countenance or willing entertainment. 4. De- 



272 TREATISE OF CONVEKSION. 

test the company of atheistical men, or any infidels that dare 
open their mouths to speak against the word of God. Yea, 
though they pretend to do it but by way of question. Hear 
every word against the Scripture from such deceivers, as if 
you heard it from the devil himself, or as if you saw him be- 
hind them, prompting them what to say, and putting them 
on : for it is he that doth it by their mouth. As it was 
satan that caused Judas to betray Christ, and filled the 
heart of Ananias and Sapphira to lie againstthe Holy Ghosts 
so is it satan that fiUeth the hearts of these unbelievers to 
speak against Christ, and to contradict the word, which the 
Holy Ghost hath delivered. 5. Labour to understand the 
sense of Scripture, and the great evidence of its truth, and 
of the Christian faith ; and have recourse to those for your 
confirmation that are of better understandings herein than 
yourselves, and read those books that are written to that 
end, to manifest thfe divine authority of Scripture. 6. Sub- 
mit to the truth, which you know, and strive not against 
the light, but let it have its due impress upon your souls, 
that you may have the experience of its power and excellen- 
cy to confirm you : by these means you may do much to 
overcome your unbelief; and if that were once done, the 
rest of the work would go on apace. 

Hindrance 5. The next hindrance, is, Inconsiderateness : 
of which I spoke in the beginning, but shall add somewhat 
in this place. When truths are not considered of, they are 
but as medicines that lie in a box, and therefore are not like 
to work ; it is the work of consideration to bring down 
truths from the understanding to the heart, and to hold them 
there till they do work. We cannot get poor sinners so 
much an soberly to bethink them of their ways, and to call 
to mind the things we speak to them, and consider of them 
for their good. Because I intend, if the Lord will, to speak 
hereafter more fully of this subject, I shall pass it over now 
thus briefly. 

Direct. 5. If ever you would be converted, use to consi- 
der frequently and seriously of those truths of God that 
must do the work. The word of God is pure and powerful 
to convert the soul, but can you look it should convert you, 
if you will not so much as soberly think upon it ? How can 

«■ Luke xxii. 3. Acts v. 3. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 273 

that work upon your hearts, which is out of your minds ? 
It is you that must join with us for your own conversion, 
and do the rest of the work, when you come home, and not 
think that a sermon can do it, when you forget it, and never 
mind it more. If you seek to the ablest physician for your 
body, he can but give you physic, it is you that must take 
it and keep it, and observe directions till it work. If you will 
presently cast it up again, how can it do you good ? We tell 
you of those truths that are most useful to your conversion, 
and if you will take them home, and keep them, and ponder of 
them when you are alone, till they sink into your hearts, 
and take rooting, you may be happy men ; but if you will 
cast them all up again, and will not be persuaded to bestow 
now and then a few of your deepest serious thoughts for the 
further entertainment of them, how should they do you sa- 
ving good ? If I could prevail with this congregation to be 
but considerate, and now and then to bestow some time to 
get the truth to their hearts, I should have great hopes of 
the conversion of you all ; for light is stronger than dark- 
ness : if you would but open the window by consideration, 
and let it in, you should find the darkness presently dispel- 
led, and it would be day with you that have sat in the sha- 
dow of death. The Spirit of God is able to overcome the 
flesh, and Christ is able to conquer satan, and bind him, and 
cast him out of your souls. And if you would but set in, 
and take his part, and open him the door by sober conside- 
ration, when he knocks and seeks admittance, and not dis- 
courage him by your wilful neglect, you would feel the 
working of his power to your salvation. There have now 
been many sermons preached to you on this text ; have you 
considered of them when you came home ? Have you taken 
yourselves alone, and asked your own hearts, whether you 
are converted or not? And have you bethought you of the 
blessedness of the converted, and the misery of the uncon- 
verted, which you have heard ? Have you dwelt upon these 
thoughts, till they have sunk down into your hearts ? If 
you have, I dare say this doctrine hath done you good ; but 
if you have not, what wonder if you be unconverted still, 
and if you live and die so, and if you be damned among the 
unconverted, when you will not be persuaded so much as 
seriously to consider of the matter? If it be not a matter 
VOL. vii. T 



274 TREATISE OF CONVEKSION. 

worthy the thinking of, it is not worth the hearing, and if 
this be not to be thought on, I know not what is. We do 
not go home with you from church into your houses, nor 
see what you think of there in secret, nor whether you fall 
down there before the Lord, and pray over the sermons that 
you hear; nor do we hear what you say of it to others ; but 
God followeth you home, and he seeth and heareth all ; and 
he that is here ready with his grace to enter into your hearts, 
if you do not resist or slight him, is there also ready to help 
you to make use of what you have heard, if you do not wil- 
fully throw it ofFyourselves. O, did you but earnestly con- 
sider what God is, and what your duty is, and what you 
were made for, and whither you are going, and what sin and 
the world are, and what grace is, and what Christ is, and 
hath done for you, and what death is, and what judgment is, 
and what heaven is, and what hell is, how is it possible you 
should continue unconverted ? How is it possible but you 
should presently run out of your present carnal, worldly 
state, as you should do out of a house that is all on fire over 
your head ; and should become most zealous and diligent 
Christians ? Certainly consideration would do very much 
to your conversion. *' I thought on my ways, and turned 
my feet to thy testimonies, I made haste and delayed not to 
keep thy commandments \" 

Hindrance 6. The next great impediment to your con- 
version, is. Hardness of heart, and searedness of conscience. 
Though every man have some of this in his original corrup- 
tion, yet resisting of light and motions of grace doth usually 
bring men to a far greater measure of it ; both by the nature 
of the thing, and by the just judgment of God. When men 
have sinned often or long against knowledge and conscience, 
and receive not the truth in the love of it that they may be 
saved, but suppress the light, and live not up to the convic- 
tions that are upon their consciences, it is usual for such to 
grow blockish and senseless, and for the brutish part so far 
to prevail,that they are in a sort" unreasonable men*." Men 
are naturally dead in sin, but when they have sinned wil- 
fully, they grow more dead ; that is, they are more insensi- 
ble, and have more of death upon them. And when they 
fall, especially from former conviction and profession, they 

* Psal. cxix. 59. '2 Thess. iii. 2. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 275 

" biecome twice dead, and plucked up by the roots " ;" and then 
the work of conversion is hard indeed. When the heart is 
thus hardened, no words are much regarded by them : no 
saying will serve ; you speak as to a post. We shoot our 
arrows as at a wall of flint, where they will not enter : the 
dew of holy instructions doth fall upon a stone where no 
fruit can be expected. You cannot devise what to say that 
will touch them, because they are stupid, and will not lay 
it to heart : you cannot tell how to sharpen your words to 
make them enter. The Lord have mercy upon poor wretches, 
for their case is lamentable. It would make a man of con- 
sideration wonder to see what piercing, weighty truths a 
hard heart will make light of. Speak to them as from the 
God that made them, and they regard you not : speak to 
them of their everlasting state, and they regard you not : 
tell them of the heinous evil of sin, and all its aggravations, 
and they take it all but as words of course ; and will say, 

* God help us, we are all sinners/ and there is an end. Tell 
them of the infinite love of God, and the precious blood of 
Christ that was shed for them, and the free pardon that is 
offered, and the rich abundant grace, which they might have, 
and it will increase their presumption and security, but it 
will not raise their estimation of it, nor quicken their de- 
sire after it, nor make them forsake all and follow Christ. 
Tell tli,em of an everlasting state of glory, which they may 
obtain in the presence of the Lord, and they make light of 
it, and hear it as they do a story of the fortunate islands, or 
the Elysian fields : tell them of the endless torments of the 
damned that despised grace in the day of tiieir visitation, 
and either they feel not, and fear not what you say ; or 'i£ 
they fear a little, it is not so much as to move them from 
their courses, nor bring them to a change of heart and life. 
O what a sad work it is to have to deal with a hardened 
heart ! It is to hew at a stone ; and to cleave a knotty 
block that will not receive the wedge ; to plough and sow 
on a rock, where you cannot make the plougL to enter. 
This is the trouble of a preacher's life ; this dulleth his 
hopes, this wearieth and tireth him ; this maketh him say, 

* I have laboured in vain, and spent my strength for nougth :* 
and this hath broken many of their hearts. Alas ! to see 

•• Jude 12. 



276 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

our poor people within a few days or years of eternal fire, 
which they might prevent if they would look about them in 
time, and we cannot get them to lay it to heart ! Alas ! to 
hear what a feeling they must have for ever, and yet we can- 
not get them to feel or fear, and prevent it now. Oh ! thinks 
a poor minister, if I could but awaken him, and make him 
regard the case of his soul, I should have hope yet to pre- 
vent his damnation : for no man can destroy him against his 
will ; and the light is so clear, that me thinks he should see 
it, if he would not wilfully shut his eyes. But alas ! we 
cannot get them to regard it. How sad a case is it to think 
of an everlasting glory, which they might have, and how 
freely Christ hath purchased it, and how freely he doth offer 
it to them, and they might have it if they would, and if they 
did not wilfully slight it and reject it. And yet that we can- 
not awaken them to consideration, nor bring such matters 
as these to their hearts ; I have formerly said it, and I will 
say it again, that I profess that I often marvel that the weight 
of everlasting matters doth not rather overmatch your spi- 
rits, and overwhelm them. I have wondered that it doth 
not even amaze and astonish you to think how great a change 
you are near, and what a thing it is to be everlastingly in 
heaven or in hell : and yet we cannot get our people to feel 
or lay to heart these things. O, what lamentable hearts are 
these ! What will they regard and feel if they will not feel 
everlasting matters ? What words will ever pierce their 
hearts if the words of the living God will not do it, and the 
words by which they know they shall be judged ? Do but 
call one of them by some disgraceful name, and he will 
quickly feel : threaten him with death ; promise him but 
a hundred pounds, and he will regard it : but let God de- 
clare his sin and misery to him, and he will not feel it : let 
God threaten him with hell, and promise him everlasting 
life, if he will return, and he will not regard it. O, what a 
happy life might a minister have if it were not for hard- 
hearted men ! If we could deal with them, but on such 
terms for their souls as we do for their bodies, how cer- 
tainly should we prevail, and then how comfortable would 
our employments be. If a lawyer tell them their evidence, 
or cause is nought, they will hear and regard him : if a phy- 
sician tell them they must take physic or die, they will lay 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 277 

it to heart. If their landlord tell them they must pay their 
rent, or be turned out of their houses, they can feel what he 
saith ; but if we tell them that they must repent and be con- 
verted, or be condemned for ever, and miss of salvation, we 
cannot be regarded ; their hearts are blocked up from us, by 
the world, and pride, and lust, and sin, and we cannot get 
into their bosom ; we know not how to come at their hearts. 
Alas ! if it were not for their own sakes this trouble were 
small to us ; for what good else should it do us to trouble 
them, and break their hearts and change them ? But when 
we consider, if we could but. convert them we should save 
them ; and if we could help them to grace, we might meet 
them in everlasting glory, this maketh us long for better 
success. Fain then would we get them to hear, and regard, 
and feel what we say, that it might go well with them for 
ever ; but we cannot. Alas ! to the grief of our hearts we 
cannot. It is a tiring life to have none but hard-hearted 
sinners to persuade ; we lose our study for them ; we lose 
our breath upon them. Some of them can think of other 
things while we are speaking to them of the greatest matters 
in all the world ; and some of them can drop asleep under 
it, and some of them sit as dull as blocks ; and some of them 
will look upon us as if they were affected, and yet it never 
goes to the quick ; and some of them that seem to be some- 
what sensible, do shake off all again in a few days time, and 
when they have been awhile among their old companions, 
and about their old business, they shew us that they are 
the old men, and that it is one thing to be a little affrighted 
for a few days, and another thing to have a changed, softened 
heart. Were it not for this sin of hardness of heart, it were 
not possible that so many sermons should be lost ; nor that 
so many ministers in England should see so little fruit of 
their labours. Why, alas I sinners, what else can be the 
matter ? We come on as reasonable an errand as any men 
in the world can come on ; it is but that men would accept 
salvation that is freely purchased and offered them, and that 
they would be content to change a life of sin and misery, for 
a life of grace" and everlasting glory. One would think that 
such a message as this should take with every man and wo- 
man in the congregation ; especially when it is sent from 
God himself, and brought to them with such evidence of 



278 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

certain truth, and themselves profess to believe what we say. 
One would think a message so reasonable as this should 
prevail with every man in a whole country or kingdom where 
it comes : and yet it doth not. Nay, alas ! how few are they 
with whom it doth prevail ! If we" came hither to offer every 
man in this congregation that he should live in a palace as 
a prince, on condition he would leave his cottage and ac- 
cept it, who would make any question of the success ? I 
should not doubt but every man and woman of you would 
yield : and yet when we come in the name of God to offer 
them grace and glory on free cost, if they will but let go sin 
and the world, they will not be persuaded ; — say what we can, 
though they will not tell us so, yet they will not be per- 
suaded : and whence can this come but from a hardened 
heart ? Did we not speak to men that have lost their sense 
and reason, and are past feeling, it could not be : when every 
man naturally desireth his own happiness, and yet men will 
not be happy when it is offered them. 

Yea, this is not all ; but when the heart is thus hardened, 
some of them are given over to such a desperate case that 
they hear the word with a malicious mind ; and instead of 
receiving it in power to their salvation, they do but cavil at 
it, and pick quarrels with it, to their condemnation ; and 
prate among their companions against that which they un- 
derstand not, nor ever laid to heart. If a physician would 
heal them for nothing, and they should maliciously reproach 
him or quarrel with all that he doth for them, did they not 
deserve to be left to perish by the disease ? If ihey had for- 
feited their lives and a free pardon were offered them, what 
would you think of him, that instead of a thankful accepting 
of the pardon, would pick quarrels with it, and prove it non- 
sense, or scorn the messenger? This is the case of many of 
our hearers. Poor souls, their Hves declare their misery, 
and God sendeth us to them with the offers of a remedy, and 
one goes home and makes a jest of it ; and another foolishly 
cavilleth against it, and another thinks it a needless thing ; 
and this is our success with hard-hearted men. Now the 
Lord have mercy upon you that hear me in this congrega- 
tion, and grant that this may be none of your case, or if it 
be, that he would powerfully and quickly cure it : for it is 
one of the saddest cases in this world : and of all sorts of 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 27^ 

men, there are few or none that we have so little hope of as 
hard-hearted men. If a man were never so much mistaken 
and never so far out of the way, yet if he had but any re- 
gard or feeling with him, we might hope by the force of 
reason and the light of the word of God, to bring him to 
himself, and set him in the way : but when men are past 
feeling, what shall we say to them, or what can we do for 
them? Nay, it is not only words but even the works of 
God that are lost upon such men : mercies do but harden 
them, and judgments themselves do but harden them, which 
one would think, should humble and soften them, if any out- 
ward means could do it. When the Jews had sinned, God 
punished them with war, and let loose plundering, robbing 
soldiers Jupon their estates, and destroyers upon their bodies; 
and yet they were so far from being humbled and softened 
by it, that they did not so much as regard the cause, nor the 
hand that did it. " Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel 
to the robbers ? Did not the Lord, he against whom we 
have sinned ? For they would not walk in his way, neither 
were they obedient to his law. Therefore he hath poured 
upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle, 
and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not, 
and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart. " " And hath 
not this been our own case in England ? Who would have 
thought, if people had but had life, and sense, and reason in 
them, but that so many years' war should have humbled 
them for their sins, and made them willing to learn and to 
be reformed ? Who would have thought but they would 
have searched and tried their ways, and turned to the Lord 
that did afflict them ; and have loved his word, and have 
given up themselves to his will, and even in the open as- 
semblies have voluntarily acknowledged and bewailed their 
iniquities ? And yet we see how many are the same. As 
the sword found them, so it hath left them, if not worse : 
and if the fury of God's anger cannot be felt, no wonder if 
they cannot feel our preaching: and if they lay not to heart 
the fire that bumeth them up, what wonder if they lay not 
to heart the message we deliver? If Peter and Paul, yea, 
or Christ himself, had preached to one of these hardened 
sinners, they would have made light of it ; or gone home 

« Isa. xlii. i4, 35. 



280 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

and ignorantly cavilled against them as they do against the 
ministers now, unless the powerful arm of God had inwardly 
concurred to the softening of their hearts : for indeed they 
did thus by Christ and his apostles while they were upon 
earth : and by all the prophets that went before them ; Ezek, 
iii. 7. saith the Lord, ver. 4. " Son of man, get thee to the 
house of Israel, and speak with my words to them. Not to 
many people of a strange speech and a hard language, whose 
words thou canst not understand. Surely had I sent thee 
to them, they would have hearkened to thee, but the house 
of Israel will not hearken to thee, for they will not hearken 
to me, for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard- 
hearted." And Christ himself when he had wrought even 
miracles to confirm his doctrine, was put to grieve for the 
hardness of their hearts y. And when the apostles preached 
the Gospel of salvation, " divers were hardened and believed 
not, but spoke evil of the way of God before the people," 
till the apostles resolved to leave them to themselves ^ So 
that, hardness of heart is the great impediment of conversion. 
Direct, 6. The advice therefore that I would give you 
for this work of conversion, is. That you especially take 
heed of this dangerous case of an hardened heart. In the 
name of God see that you run not into this miserable state ; 
or if you be in it, O that I could awaken you, that you might 
speedily be brought out of it. Have you yet time of repen- 
tance? And are your souls and bodies yet together? Yet 
hath God's patience kept you out of hell? O harden not 
your hearts, lest time be gone, and death and darkness be 
upon you before you are aware. " Behold, now is the ac- 
cepted time, behold now is the day of salvation," saith the 
Holy Ghosts Doth God give you warning once again be- 
fore he smiteth you into everlasting vengeance, and doth he 
once more call you to repent before he summon you to judg- 
ment? O take the counsel of the Holy Ghost; " To-day if 
ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts ''." I say, to- 
day, lest he bear not with thee till to-morrow, ** Boast not 
of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring 
forth *=." And if God do call thine impenitent soul out of 
this world before our next meeting in this place, or at least, 

y Mark Hi, 5. » Acts ix. 9. ^ •£ Cor. vi. 2. 

*» Heb. iii. 7, 8. 16. Psal. xcv. 8. •= Piov. xxvii. 1. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 281 

ere long, remember then that thou hadst time to have pre- 
vented the misery which thou must feel to all eternity. 

There is not a more fearful plague on earth than a har- 
dened heart ; none is more like to be sealed up to damna- 
tion than such an one. Dost thou hear of the greatness of 
thy sin, and hear of judgment and eternal life, and hear of 
the love and severity of the Lord, and yet dost thou not feel 
it ? O sad case, and sadly to be lamented by all that under- 
stand it ! For from thyself it cannot be expected. Believe 
it, sinner, God hath a voice that will be heard and regarded. 
If the voice of mercy be made light of, the voice of judg- 
ment shall not be made light of. When we have told thee 
of thy danger, and of the remedy by Christ, thou canst go 
home and cast it out of thy mind. But when God hath said, 
" Go ye cursed to everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and 
his angels," then make light of that if thou canst. When 
he hath newly said, ** Take him and bind him hand and 
foot, and cast him into utter darkness, where shall be weep- 
ing and gnashing of teeth ;" then forget this, and cast this 
out of thy mind if thou canst. O poor wretch, if thou hadst 
to do but with such an one as I, or any one of the sons of men, 
perhaps thou mightest think to escape well enough : but 
thou hast to do with the eternal Majesty, and how then wilt 
thou escape? Canst thou grapple with his Almighty 
strength? Or canst thou make good thy part against him? 
When we call on thee to repent and reform, thou wilt not ; 
when we call on thee to a holy and heavenly life, thou wilt 
not ; but when he shall say, * Depart from me, thou cursed 
wretch,' wilt thou then say, thou wilt not? When he shall 
deliver thee to the devils to be tormented by them for ever, 
who deceived thee in thy lifetime, and bid them take thee to 
everlasting flames, wilt thou then say, thou wilt not go ? 
Alas, poor wretch ! What power hast thou to resist? It is 
the same Almighty God that made all the world of nothing, 
and beareth it up in his hand, and disposeth of it at his will, 
which then will command thee to remediless perdition. If 
he bid the sun in the firmament move, it moveth ; and once 
when he bad it stand still, it did stand still, and nothing is 
able to resist his power; and canst thou resist it? Why, if 
he send but a disease upon thee, thou art unable to resist it ! 
If he bid thee die, wilt thou say, I will not die ? Alas ! If 



282 TREATISfe OF CONVERSION. 

sinners could have resisted God, and saved themselves from 
the stroke of justice, the church-yard would not have been 
so full of graves, nor hell so full of damned souls as it is at 
this day. " But who hath hardened himself against him, 
and hath prospered^?" Name me the man, and tell me 
where he dwells, that hardened his heart against the Lord, 
and sped well by it in the latter end ? I tell you again, if 
sermons cannot make you feel ; if mercies and warning, if 
threatening and affliction cannot make you feel, judgment 
and hell shall make you feel. Say not, but thou wast told 
so, and remember this when thou seest not me. Remember 
that I foretold thee that God will not be always jested with, 
or abused, and that thou canst not make so light of hell, as 
thou didst of the warnings of God and man. If thou be 
turned into a rock, God hath a hammer that can batter and 
dash in pieces that rock. 

Object. * But if God will harden my heart, how can I help 
it? It is he that hardened Pharaoh's heart, and so he did 
the Jews ^ And if he will do it, what remedy V 

Answ. 1. Dost thou think to have any excuse or comfort 
by accusing the righteous and holy God ? O what a foolish 
thing is sin, and how it bereaveth poor sinners of their un- 
derstanding ! Thou mightest better have laid the blame 
upon any one in the world, than upon the righteous and 
most holy God. For never sin came from him, nor was 
caused by him. Dost thou think he will not be justified in 
his judging? God's hardening men is but his leaving them 
to themselves, to go on in that hardness that he found them 
in, and denying them that grace which he no way oweth 
them. 2. And God doth not this neither, till thou abusest 
his grace, and strivest against the light, and castest away thy 
own mercy; and is it not just then that he should take his 
mercy from thee? If children will play with their meat, or 
cast it to the dogs, and tread it under feet, it is time to take 
it away. This is God's hardening of the hearts of sinners ; 
he leaveth them as he found them, after they have abused 
and refused his grace. And withal, he letteth loose the 
tempter upon them, that seeing they will be wicked, they 
may be taken in their own wickedness, and destroy them- 
selves by it; as you will lay a purse in the way to catch a 

•'Jobix.4, » Mark iv.l2. 



TREATISE OF CaNVERSION. 283 

thief by, when you do not make him thievish ; so God will 
try and catch u sinner when yet he never gives him any in- 
clination to the sin. But when he seeth that they are and 
will be such, it is just with him to let them take their course, 
and smart by their folly. And as, if you see a thief that is 
running into a pit, you are not bound to keep him out; no 
more is God to keep a sinner from destroying of himself, es- 
pecially when he hath so often refused his assistance. 

Quest. ' But what can I do for the softening of my own 
heart?' 

Answ. O that thou wert but willing to do what thou 
shouldst and mightestdo. If thou be willing ; 1. Get alone 
and consider of the misery of thy condition ; and of the 
time when thou shalt feel whether thou wilt or no. 2. Keep 
under the most powerful preaching of the word, which is 
God's ordinary means for the melting of the heart. 3. Keep 
in the company of those that will remember thee of those 
holy truths which have a softening nature, and will^ bring 
everlasting things into thy mind. 4. Keep out of the com- 
pany of foolish and ungodly men, who by their words and 
practices will harden thee more. 5. Resolve that thou go 
not on in the practice of thy known sin ; no, not once more. 
For sinning against knowledge doth harden the heart, and 
tempt the Lord to leave thee to thyself. If thou wilt be 
drunk when thou knowest it to be a sin ; and wilt be world- 
ly, and wilt be fleshly, when God and conscience speak 
against it ; this will desperately harden thy heart. 6. Beg 
daily of God that he would soften thy heart. Beseech him 
upon thy knees to pardon those sins by which thou hast 
hardened it, and to give thee his Spirit which must deliver 
thee from this misery : and follow him hard with these re- 
quests from day to day ; for if thou prevail not, thou art un- 
done and lost for ever. For, saith the Holy Ghost, " he that 
covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth 
and forsaketh them, shall have mercy. Happy is the man 
that feareth always, but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall 
into mischief ^" *' He that being often reproved, hardeneth 
his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without re- 
medy e." 

Hindrance 7. Another hindrance of conversion, is. The 

' Prov.xxviH. IS, 14. i Pi"v. xxix. 1. 



284 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

too great esteem that men have of this world, and the great 
interest that it hath gotten in their hearts. By this it is that 
God is shut out, that Christ is so neglected, that heavenly 
things are so much undervalued ; because men have that in 
their hands already, or at least in their eyes, which they like 
better. God and mammon cannot be loved ; these two 
masters cannot be both served. While the world is leaned 
to, Christ will be made light of. The glory to come can ne- 
ver be obtained, but by the hearty forsaking of this present 
world. It is this that stole the heart from God ; and it is this 
that possesseth it, till grace recoverethit to God again : and 
therefore it is the work of grace to cast out the world, and 
to set up God ; to dethrone this usurper, and to give God 
again the possession of his own. As truly as darkness goeth 
out of the room when light comes in, so truly doth the love 
of the world depart where the love of God doth enter into 
the soul. For ** if any man (predominantly) love the world, 
the love of the Father is not in him **." Men^ cannot make 
God their end, and the world their end too. They cannot 
love God above all, and the world above all too. They can- 
not set their hearts on heaven, nor make it their treasure and 
their chiefest good, while they set their hearts on earth, and 
make it tlieir treasure, " For where their treasure is, their 
hearts will be \" When men are drowned in worldly cares, 
and taken up so much with worldly contrivances and busi- 
nesses, there is then no room for the matters of their salva- 
tion. If they would go to consider of their sin and misery, 
and think of these things that might further their conver- 
sion, their worldly matters step in, and turn away their 
thoughts ; so that, when they are alone, and have opportu- 
nity for such considerations, yet they have no hearts to such 
a work. When they are considering, and begin to perceive 
that they must either change or perish, and that this life will 
not serve the turn, presently the world doth turn their minds, 
and telleth them of other matters to be minded, and so all 
is forgotten again. If their hearts be a little wakened and 
troubled for sin, the pleasure or business of the world doth 
quiet them, and while it maketh them forget their misery, 
they live as if it were cured, and all their trouble vanisheth 
away. If they are moved to set up the worship of God in 

'• IJohn ii. 15. . » Matt. vi. 21. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 285 

their families, to read, and pray, and instruct those that are 
under them, the world will not give them leave, they have 
somewhat else to mind, which it seemeth they think of 
greater necessity. And thus the world is an enemy to God, 
and the love of it keepeth out the love of God, and the serv- 
ing of it excludeth his service, and they that are friends of 
it, are certainly his enemies ''." And this is a grievous hin- 
drance of conversion. 

Direct. 7. Let go the world then, if ever you would be 
converted. You renounced it in your baptism, see that your 
hearts now unfeignedly renounce it, unless you will renounce 
your part in Christ and the world to come. Think not to 
keep both, and make up a felicity to yourselves between 
them. It is now become your enemy, and as an enemy it 
must be affected and used, or else as an enemy it will effec- 
tually destroy you. It is a killing, conquering enemy, to 
those that take it not heartily for their enemy. But it is 
only a troubling, but a conquered enemy to them that take 
it and use it as an enemy. O that poor worldlings did but 
know what a feather, what a shadow, what an empty un 
profitable thing they do pursue. You run after it eagerly, 
but when you overtake it, you will befool yourselves, and 
say, ' What have I gotten ? Is this all that I have cared and 
toiled for? Is this all that I forsook God and my salvation 
for V For your souls' sake, sinners, forsake not God till 
you know for what. Neglect not heaven till you have 
somewhat better to regard. Renounce not your salvation 
till you know such reason for it as you dare own, and stand 
to at death and judgment. Is a little plenty of wealth and 
worldly trifles a matter for a man to sell his soul for ? You 
think, I know, that you do not sell your salvation for it, be- 
cause you hope that you may have both : but this is but 
your wilful delusion. If you will not believe God now that 
telleth you you cannot have two portions, two treasures, two 
ends, or two masters, you will find it true when your deceit 
hath undone you. Doth God tell you that you cannot love 
both, and that the world and he cannot both have your 
hearts, and will you not believe him? If the world be bet- 
ter than God, then take it, and let him go. If it be more 
durable than heaven, then follow it and spare not. But, 

^ James iv. 8. 



280 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

alas ! what a dream, what a shadow is it. How soon will it 
be gone ! Will you always dwell in these houses ? or will 
your friends and riches stay with you for ever? Will you 
carry your lands and wealth, and fleshly provision to ano- 
ther world ? Alas, that men should wilfully undo them- 
selves ! There is not a worldling, but will confess all this 
to be true that I say, and yet their hearts are still the same, 
and the world hath their love, and care, and pleasure, and 
worldlings they will be still. O what a self-condemning 
sinner is a worldling, and how much against his knowledge 
doth he sin ! He knows that he mis-placeth his affections, 
and yet he will do it. He foreseeth that the world will de- 
ceive him at the last, and yet he will follow it, to the neglect 
of his salvation. Christ hath made but ** one thing neces- 
sary K" Do that and do all : get that and get all. But they 
needlessly incumber themselves about many things,and make 
themselves more work than God hath made them ; and wi^l 
uot see that they have lost their labour, till they find that 
they have lost their souls. O poor foolish sinners, that now 
are so busy for you know not what, and rejoicing in your 
possessions as if you were happy, when " your souls shall 
be required of you, whose then shall these things be "" V* 
When death and j udgment shall awaken you to your account, 
and help you better to understand your reckoning, then 
make your boast of the world, and boast of your gain, if you 
find it worth your boasting of. Then tell us who was the 
wiser merchant, he that sold all for the pearl of grace and 
glory, or he that let go that treasure for the world. Then 
tell us whether a heavenly or an earthly conversation was 
the wiser course ; aad who it was that choose the better 
part. 

Bsndrance 8. Another great impediment to conver- 
sion, is. When custom in sinning hath given it the mastery, 
and made the flesh the ruler of your reason, and made men 
think that they have a kind of necessity to sin. Nature as 
corrupted, doth bring forth sin in too great strength ; but 
custom doth make it stronger, and blotteth out the remnants 
of moral wisdom and honesty from the soul. When men 
have long taken a custom of sinning, they grow hardened 
nd senseless, as the higa way doth by being often trod 

• Luke X. 4'iJ. »» Luke x\\. 10. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 287 

upon, or as a labourer's hand grows hard by constant la- 
bour. And so sin becometh familiar to them, and they be- 
come ** pastfeeling/'and are "given up to work uncleanness 
with greediness"." A custom of sinning against reason 
doth make men in a sort unreasonable, by giving their sen- 
suality the rule of their reason. We see by sad experience, 
when men grow old in ignorance, how hardly they are 
brought to knowledge, yea, or to be willing to leai-n. And 
when men are often drunk, or commit any other heinous sin^ 
how it prostitute th their souls to the next temptation, and 
maketh sin as familiar to them as water to the fish. It must 
be by a miracle, or next to a miracle, that an old, ignorant, 
worldly or sensual sinner must be converted. By often sin- 
ning they have lost their understandings, and hardened their 
hearts, and think the greatest good to be evil, and think they 
cannot live without their sin. But as a man in a fever calls 
for cold water, so do they for the pleasure of their flesh. 
They must have it, they cannot forbear it, their flesh wiU 
have no nay. " If the blackmore can change his skin, or 
the leopard his spots, then may they that are accustomed to 
do evil, learn to do well°." We see in public cases, what a 
power custom hath. If men be but used to any thing in God's 
worship, that is unmeet or contrary to the word of God, they 
will not hearken to the Scripture, but cry out, * Custom, 
custom,' against that plain word that must judge them, and 
should direct them ; as if the custom of their forefathers 
were of more authority than the word of God. No wonder 
then if a custom of swearing, or drunkenness, or worldliness, 
o); wickedness, or contempt of a religious, godly life, do pre- 
vjEoJ with thousands to harden them to perdition ; and this 
be a grievous hindrance to their conversion. 

Direct, 8. You that are yet young, take heed of a custom 
in sin, and you that are hardened in it already, in the fear 
of God make a stand and go no further. It is sad that you 
have gone so far. But if you wilfully go on but one day 
more, you know not but God may leave you to yourselves; 
and if you wilfully add but one sin more to the heap, it may 
seal you to perdition, it may break your backs, and sink you 
into hell. O what a folly is it then for men to delay their 
repentajjce to the last, when custom in sinning doth make 

 Eph. iv. 19, 20. « Jer. xiU. «S. 



288 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

the work of their conversion to be more difficult. Remem- 
ber, I beseech you, that your custom is the aggravation of 
your sin, and not any just excuse. What ! if you had taken 
a custom of spitting in the face of your own father or dear- 
est friend, or any way abusing him, would you think it good 
excuse for you to continue it, because you are accustomed 
to it ? Why, the oftener you have sinned, the oftener you 
have wronged God; and the oftener you have wronged him, 
the more should you now bewail it, and not therefore go on 
to wrong him more. If you had oftentimes hurt yourselves 
by falls, or cut your fingers by negligence or carelessness, 
will you do so still to keep a custom ? What greater mad- 
ness can there be than to plead custom for sinning against 
the living God, and hastening your own souls to everlasting 
perdition ? You shall have custom for suffering then, as 
you have for sinning now, and see whether you will there- 
fore love your suffering. If you will love sin, because you 
are accustomed to it, you shall try whether you can love 
hell, because you are accustomed to it. 

Hindrance 9. Another hindrance of conversion, is. 
Foolish self-love, that makes men unwilling to know the 
worst of themselves, and so keepeth them from believing 
their sinfulness and misery ; and causeth them to presume 
and keep up false deceiving hopes, that they may be saved 
whether they are converted or not ; or that they are convert- 
ed, when indeed they are not They think it is every one's 
duty to hope well of themselves, and therefore they will do 
so ; and so while they hope they are converted already, or 
may be saved without conversion, no wonder if they look 
not seriously after it. Like many a sick man that I have 
known in the beginning of a consumption, or some grievous 
disease, they hope there is no danger in it; or they hope it 
will go away of itself, and it is but some cold ; or they hope 
that such or such an easy medicine may cure it, till they are 
past hope, and then they must give up these hopes, and 
their lives together, whether they will or no. Just so do 
poor wretches by their souls. They know that all is not 
well with them, but they hope God is so merciful, that he 
will not damn them, or they hope to be converted sometime 
hereafter, or they hope that less ado may serve turn, and 
that their good wishes and prayers may save their souls, and 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 289 

that in these hopes they hold on, till they find themselves to 
be past remedy, and their hopes and they be dead together. 
I speak not this without the Scripture; Prov. xi. 17. "When 
a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish, and the 
hope of the unjust man perisheth." Job xxvii. 8, 9. " What 
is the hope of the hypocrite, though he have gained, when 
God taketh away his soul ? Will God hear his cry when trou- 
ble cometh upon him?" Job xi. 20. " And the eyes of the 
wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape ; and their hope 
shall be as the giving up of the ghost." There is scarce a 
greater hindrance of conversion, than these false, deceiving 
hopes of sinners ; that think they are converted when they 
are not ; or hope to be saved, when they have no ground 
for their hopes. Were it not for this, men would look about 
them and return. 

Direct. 9. I have formerly spoke and wrote to you of 
this point, and I have told you that it is none of my desire 
that any man should despair. But despair you must of ever 
being saved without conversion, or finding heaven in the 
way to hell. Till that kind of despair possess your hearts, 
we cannot expect a saving change. For men will not let go 
all their pleasure, and cast themselves upon these difficulties, 
which flesh and blood apprehendeth to be in the way of God, 
as long as they hope to do well enough without it. No 
wonder if men be unholy, that hope to be saved, whether 
they be holy or not. It is hope that keepeth your hearts 
from breaking, which must be broken for your former sins. 
It is hope of doing well enough in your present case, that 
keeps you from seeking out for a better : if you knew that 
you must be converted or condemned, and had no hopes of 
being saved, unless you were born again, then you would 
look about you, and run to God by prayer for his grace, and 
run to the word by reading for instruction, and run to the 
minister with inquiry for direction, and be glad of that com- 
pany which would help you to heaven. I tell you, it is these 
carnal hopes that deceive the world, and hinder them from 
seeking Christ and life. The thing, therefore, that I request 
of you for the sake of your own souls, is but this. That you 
would but try your hopes by the word of God, and prove 
them sound before you trust them ; and content not your- 
selves to say, I hope I shall be saved, but prove and try, 
VOL. vn. u 



290 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

whether you are such as God hath promised salvation to, 
or not : for there are hopes that will never deceive men; 
that is, those that are well grounded on the word of God : 
and there are hopes, as you have heard, that will die with 
men, and undo them ; that is, those that had no ground but 
their own self-love ; when men hope they shall be saved, be- 
cause they would have it so, and hope to come to heaven, 
when they will not go the way to heaven. Is it not one of 
the dreadfullest sights in the world, to see a man ready to 
leave this world, and have no hopes but what will die when 
he dieth ? O, if you did but know what a terrible thing it 
will be for a man in his lifetime to hope for salvation, and 
as soon as he is dead to find himself in damnation, and all 
his hopes to vanish like a dream, you would sure be per- 
suaded to try your hopes. Prove once by the marks of 
grace in your souls, that thou art one of those that God hath 
promised salvation to ; that is, one of the regenerate, the 
heavenly, and the holy, and then hope for salvation and 
spare not, and the Lord confirm and maintain thy hopes. 
For these hopes are grounded on the word of God, which 
never yet deceived any. But if you hope well, and know 
not why, and you have nothing to shew for your hopes of 
heaven, but what an ungodly man can shew, or the most of 
the world may shew that shall perish, and cannot prove that 
you are new creatures, and holy, and heavenly, these hopes 
do but hinder your conversion and salvation. 

Hindrance 10; The next hindrance of conversion, is. 
Those counterfeit graces, or half-conversion, which are like 
to true graces, but are not them, and so do not bring over 
the soul to God, but strengthen the false hopes, which we 
mentioned before. There is somewhat in the heart of an 
unconverted man, which is like in his eyes to true conver- 
sion. Some fears and accusation of conscience he may have, 
and some change thereupon : he may be convinced of his 
sin and misery, and see the necessity of another course, and 
hereupon may change his company, and betake himself to 
many duties, and break off many of his former sins, and seem 
to himself to be truly converted, and glory in this as long 
as he liveth, and think verily that he is indeed a converted 
man. He may know the very time, the book, the sermon, 
the words that were the means of doing this work upon his 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 291 

soul, and therefore think that it is truly done. He may re- 
member so great change that was made on him, that he may 
confidently conclude that it was a saving change, and yet it 
may be but common preparation, or mere terrors or convic- 
tions, or some common works, which many that perish, par- 
take of. He may have hereupon somewhat that in his eye 
is like to every grace of the Spirit, and therefore think that 
these are they indeed ; and this is a fearful, deceiving state, 
and mightily quieteth men in a miserable condition ; when 
these common gifts should be otherwise used. 

Direct. 10. Take heed, therefore, of trusting to counterfeit 
graces, or superficial works that do not effectually convert 
the soul. Labour to discern by the light of the word of 
God, whether the work be savingly done or not ; how you 
may discern it, 1 have told you before. If God be set up 
highest in your souls, and brought nearest to your hearts, 
and your hopes are set upon the life to come, and all things 
in this world seem vain to you in comparison of it ; if sin 
be bitter to you, and Christ, and grace, and holiness be 
sweet, then you may conclude that it is a saving work, but 
otherwise not. And therefore rest not in common works. 

Hindrance 11. Another hindrance, is. When men live 
among strong temptations, and occasions of sin ; as when 
they depend upon some great men, or parents, or other 
friends that are enemies to godliness, and would undo them 
if they should follow it ; or when they are so engaged in a 
course of sin, that they cannot break it off without their 
worldly undoing or suffering ; when their credit or their 
gain depends upon it. As the oppressor liveth by oppres- 
sion, and the ale-seller liveth by the sins of drunkards, or 
tippling, idle companions, and because they think this gain is 
sweet, therefore they will not leave the sin. As Acts xix. 
24, 26. because Demetrius and the rest of the craftsmen had 
their wealth and living by making shrines for the idol Diana, 
therefore they stirred up the people against the Gospel and 
the preachers of it, that would take down the idol that 
caused their commodity. In like manner, when men that 
are addicted to drunkenness will live among such company, 
or temptations, as will draw them to it : when lustful per- 
sons will live among those that do provoke or tempt them : 
when ignorant, unresolved persons live among those that 



292 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

speak ill of godliness, it is a hard thing to be converted un- 
der these temptations ; especially if men wilfully cast them- 
selves upon them. 

Direct. 11. Fly therefore the occasions and appearances 
of evil. If you would not be drowned, what do you so near 
the water-side ? If you would not be wounded, why do you 
thrust yourselves among your enemies ? If you would es- 
cape the hook, meddle not with the bait : walk not among 
the lime-twigs if you would not be entangled. You may fly 
from temptation, and yet resist the devil, and make him fly. 
Be not too confident of your own strength ; consider whe- 
ther it be safe to die in your sin and ungodliness ? If not, 
why should you live in it? And if you may not live in it, 
why should you commit it? If you cannot digest it when it 
is down, but it must up again by repentance, or you perish, 
why then should you let it down? If you may not let it down, 
what reason have you to be tasting it ? And if you may not 
take it, why should you once look upon it, to entice your 
taste ? And if you may not look on, why should you 
think on it, and make your own fancy to be your tempter. 
Present and strong temptations have shaken those that 
seemed to be cedars ; therefore take heed of them ; for they 
may much more hinder the conversion of the impenitent, and 
such difficulties may easily block up the way of life to you. 

Hindrance 12. Another common hindrance of conversion, 
is. The scandalous lives of the professors of religion ; when 
those that seem godly, or indeed are so, shall fall into divi- 
sion among themselves, and withdraw from each other, and 
censure one another, and cry out against one another as de- 
ceived ; when the common people see so many religions, as 
they think, and so many several minds and ways, they 
think it is as good to be of none, as to venture among so 
many, where they are not sure to hit on the right ; and it 
maketh them question all, when they see so many that they 
know not which to own. When they see men change their 
opinions, which awhile ago they seemed so zealous for, this 
makes them think that the rest may be as uncertain as these. 
And thus we have seen by sad experience in these times, 
that many have been kept off" from the approving, and prac- 
tice of a godly life, because of the unhappy differences that 
are among us. And, alas ! when they see one that seemed 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 293 

religious to be worldly, and another to fall into this or that 
sin, this makes them think that religion is but hypocrisy, 
and themselves are already in as good a condition as the 
godly are. 

Direct. 12. I will not excuse the sins of any. Offence 
must come, but woe to him by whom it comes. If they be 
godly, their profession doth aggravate it, and therefore I do 
not intend to extenuate it. But yet, as I must needs say, 
that the malice of the ungodly doth frequently make even 
holiness to be a crime, and virtue itself to be the greatest 
vice, and those to be faults that are really none, and those 
to be common that are seldom, and but the case of very few ; 
and those to be great that are not so. So I must needs tell 
you, that there is no sufficient reason in the faults, and divi- 
sions of those that are religious to dissuade any from reli- 
gion, or excuse them in their sin, or sinful neglect of their 
own salvation. For consider these things following. 

(1.) It is not men's lives that are any disgrace to the word 
of God, any more than it is a dishonour to the sun that some 
men are blind, or others wilfully abuse his light. Will you 
fall a railing at the sun, because a thief may steal by the 
light of it, or a murderer may kill men by the light of it? 
or some men may miss their way ? This is not long of it, 
but of themselves. (2.) Yea, consider that it is for want of 
being more religious that men are so bad, and not because 
they are religious. Can you prove that ever religion did 
teach men to be bad ? Doth the word of God teach men to 
be worldly, to be proud, to divide the church, and abuse one 
another ? You know it doth not : nay, you know that it for- 
biddeth and condemneth all this ; and that no one in the 
world hath said and done so much against these sins as God 
hath done. And no religion is so much against them as 
the Christian religion. And is it not an abuse beyond all 
modesty then, to think ill of the word of God, or of his 
way, because men offend against it, and forsake it? To 
accuse the law, because men break it ? To wrong God be- 
cause others have wronged him ? (3.) Consider, that the sins 
of others will be no excuse to you. Their fall should be 
your warnings, and not your hardening. Will God pardon 
or save without repentance and faith, because some that 
seemed religious have miscarried ? If they are wicked while 



294 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

they seem religious, they and you, if you so continue, shall 
be damned together. But if they rise by repentance, and 
hate and forsake the sins which they did fall into, and you 
stumble upon them, and will not rise with them, but quar- 
rel with religion, because of their falls, they shall be par- 
doned, and you shall perish. I tell thee, man, if all the world 
should fall from God, he will not therefore change his law, 
nor admit one unconverted sinner into heaven. Do you 
think to be saved without holiness, because some men coun- 
terfeit holiness that have it not? Methinks this should 
cast you into greater terrors, and make you think with your- 
selves how much you have yet to do, that must go further, 
and be better than any hypocrite was, before you can have 
any durable hopes of salvation. If you will have any part 
in God, you must stick to him, though all men else should 
forsake him, and not forsake him, because you think that 
others do so that seemed to stick to him. (4.) Consider also, 
that as to the divisions that offend you, it is not every dif- 
ference in judgment or practice that makes a new religion. 
While we are here we shall know but in part, and therefore 
shall differ in part, but as long as we all agree in the funda- 
mentals, and live to God, we are of one religion, for all our 
differences. (5.) And can you think that it will excuse you 
to be of no religion, because that other men are of a wrong 
religion ? Will you sit still and let heaven go, because some 
men have missed the way to it? Do you think that this is 
a reasonable conclusion ? Surely they that would fain know 
the way if they could, and are diligent to seek it, are likelier 
to be accepted, though they fall into many errors, than those 
that mind it not, but prefer the things of the world before 
it. (6.) The more bye ways there be, the more need have 
you to look about you, and see that you miss not the way 
yourselves. Salvation is not a matter that we can spare, 
and therefore the difficulty must make us more diligent, and 
not more negligent. 7. Among all the religions and opi- 
nions in the world, God hath not left you at a loss, he hath 
given you his word to tell you which is the right, and many 
means to understand it. So that if proud and careless men 
will err, it followeth not that therefore the humble and dili- 
gent may not be certain, which way is the right. Go you 
to the Scripture with an humble reverence, willing to know 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 295 

the will of God, that you may do it, and take the helps that 
you may have from ministers and private Christians, and 
shew not by your neglect that you despise the word of God, 
and your salvation, and then you shall have no cause to 
complain that you cannot find the right religion, and not 
hit the way to heaven, because there are so many opinions. 
(8.) I pray you consider of that which I have often answered 
you to this objection. Will you but faithfully practise that 
which all, or almost all these different parties are agreed in? 
If not, then make not their differences any more a pretence 
for your ungodliness. If you will, then consider, whether 
they be not all agreed of the necessity of conversion and a 
holy life. Will they not all acknowledge that there is no 
salvation without sanctification and newness of life ? Let 
their agreement then move you, and do not for shame neg- 
lect so great and necessary a thing, which is owned by them 
all, who differ much in other things. 

Hindrance 13. The next hindrance of conversion, is. 
The ill education of children : when they are trained up in 
ignorance, or kept unacquainted with the truths of God till 
they are grown hardened in their evil way ; especially when 
they are taught from their childhood to think hardly of god- 
liness, and speak reproachfully of it, and hear nothing of 
the godly, but by slander or contempt. That which people 
receive in their youth, doth usually possess them all their 
days : they receive it with more advantage, when they are 
most teachable and tractable : and when they receive it 
from parents, and those that have the greatest interest in 
their affections, and the most absolute rule over them. And 
therefore we see that most of the world are such as they 
were tauscht in their childhood to be : and it is hard to 
change them from the way that they were brought up in. 

Direct, 13. O, you that have children, remember they 
are Christ's. (1.) If you are Christians, both you and 
yours are devoted to God : will you be so forward to devote 
them to God in baptism, and will you rob him afterwards of 
his own ; and break these covenants, and, contrary to your own 
promises, will you hinder them from the knowledge and fear 
of God? O what desperate hypocrisy and wickedness is 
this ? Will you come here in the face of the congregation, 
and consecrate and offer your children to Christ, and when 



296 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

you have done, will you keep them from the way of Christ, 
and make them believe that godliness is more ado than 
needs, and that holiness is but foolish preciseness? Will 
you here undertake to bring them up in the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord, and when you have done, never 
once instruct them in his fear, nor persuade them to a holy 
life, nor restrain them from sin, but rather teach them to 
rail, and curse, and swear, and be carnal ? O cruel wretches 
that dare thus murder your children's souls ! To murder 
the body is an heinous sin, yea, though it were the body of 
an enemy ; but to murder the soul, yea, and the soul of a 
child, and so to be guilty of their eternal damnation ; what 
greater sin can you commit ? O what a horror it will be to 
you to see your own children in eternal flames by your pro- 
curement ; and to hear them there cry out against you, and 
say, you hardened them in evil, you discouraged them from 
good. You gave them ill examples, you used to rail, curse 
and swear before them : you took no pains to convince them 
of their natural sin and misery ; and to get them to Christ 
that they might be healed by him. O pity your poor chil- 
dren, and do not hinder them from that glory that is offered 
them : if the devil be against their salvation, be not you so 
too. It is more excusable in the devil himself to seek to 
destroy the souls of your children, than it is in their own 
parents to do it : for nature and Christianity doth bind them 
to do otherwise. If you settle them in an ignorant, carnal 
course, they will remember it as long as they live ; and if 
you possess them with hard thoughts of the holy ways of 
God, they will make this an argument against us, whenever 
we would seek to reform and convert them. Do we not 
hear it from them daily ? Our fathers, say they, taught us 
otherwise, and we hope they are saved, and therefore we 
will venture to do as they did : so that it is the false con- 
ceits that you put into their minds in childhood, which mi- 
nisters have to encounter with all their days after. The de- 
vil hath instruments enough to seek your children's damna- 
tion besides you : be not you his instruments as ever you 
would not lie with them in everlasting misery ; take some 
more pity on yourselves and them. You could not find in 
your hearts to dash your children against the stones, or cut 
their throats, and if you should, the world would ring of 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 297 

youT wickedness, and the law of the land would deservedly 
put you to a painful death ; and will you do them a greater 
mischief? Will you blind them, and keep them off from 
Christ and godliness ? And will you embolden them in the 
way of sin, and help them to damnation? God forbid. But 
alas ! they that have no more pity on their own souls, but 
to use them thus, what wonder if they have no more pity of 
others. 

(2.) The next part of my Direction, therefore, is to you 
that have been brought up in ignorance and ungodliness 
from your youth. O look about you while you have time 
and means. If your parents have been false to you, be not 
false to God and your souls. If your parents have betrayed 
your souls, do not you betray your own. They kept you in 
ignorance because they were ignorant themselves ; they 
bred you up in worldliness and ungodliness, because they 
were worldly aud ungodly themselves ; they spoke against 
holiness, because they knew it not, but were themselves un- 
holy : but you have one that hath more interest in you than 
your parents, that calls to you for your conversion. Hear- 
ken to him if all the world should gainsay it : do not care 
as little for your own souls as your parents cared for them : 
do not take on you, even to love your parents so well as to 
follow them to damnation ; their company will not make 
hell any easier to you. Should not the love of your heaven- 
ly Father do more to draw you to heaven, than the love of 
your parents to draw you to hell? O hearken then to God 
and to his word, though all the world should say against it. 

Hindrance 14. Another hindrance of conversion, is. Stri- 
ving against the Spirit of grace. When God would illumi- 
nate a sinner, and he is unwilling to see, when God would 
take off a sinner from his lusts and evil ways, and he is loath 
to be taken off; God sheweth him his sin to humble him, 
and he is unwilling to be humbled, but striveth against the 
Spirit, and runneth into worldly businesses, or merry com- 
pany, or turneth his thoughts to other things. As Christ 
said to the Jews, " How oft would I have gathered you, but 
you would not '';" so he may say to many a sinner. How oft 
did I shew thee a better way, and thou wouldst not walk in 
it; how oft did I shew thee the sinfulness and misery of thy 

P Matt, xxiii. 37. 



298 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

estate, and thou wouldst not come off from it. When men 
fight against Christ, and purposely wink because they hate 
the light that would reform them, and when they strive 
against the Spirit that would convert them, what wonder if 
they be unconverted ! 

Direct. 14. If ever you would be converted, yield to the 
Spirit of God that would convert you. It is his office to 
sanctify all that shall be saved : be not you unwilling to be 
sanctified by him. If you refuse help when it is offered you, 
you may justly be left helpless and perish for want of that 
which you did despise. You are baptized into the name of 
the Holy Ghost, by which you have professed to take him 
for your Sanctifier, and are you now unwilling to be sancti- 
fied by him ? And will you now strive against him when 
you are so solemnly engaged to him? You cannot be saved 
unless you be sanctified, and you cannot be sanctified unless 
it be done by the Holy Ghost, whom you now resist. O 
how easily and prosperously doth the work go on, when the 
Spirit of God assisteth, and how impossible is it to be done 
without him ! They that would have a prosperous voyage 
will take wind and tide, and not be so foolish as to set 
against them when they stand to their advantage : he that 
would have health will not abuse the physician, and drive 
him away from him. O take heed how you use the Spirit 
of God if ever you would be converted! 

Hindrance 15. Another hindrance of conversion, is, Un- 
resolvedness and half-purposes ; when men will hang wa- 
vering between God and the world ; and though the light be 
never so clear to convince them, yet they will not be per- 
suaded to resolve. " A double-minded man," saith James, 
*' is unstable in all his ways "i." O how many shall perish for 
want of resolution ! They have been convinced that they 
must be changed or else they arc undone, and yet they would 
not resolve : they have long been inclining to a better 
course, and had some thoughts of it, but the world hinder- 
eth, or friends hinder, or the flesh hindereth, and they will 
not resolve ; and thus they hang loose from God, and never 
unfeignedly resign up themselves to him, till either God in 
judgment leave them to themselves, or death and hell do 
find them unresolved. 

'1 James i. 8. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 299 

Direct, 15. If you would be converted and saved, do not 
stand wavering, but resolve, and presently turn to God. If 
it were a doubtful business, I would not persuade you to do 
it rashly, or if there were any danger to your souls in resolv- 
ing, then I would say no more. But when it is a case that 
should be beyond all dispute with men of reason, why should 
you stand staggering, as if it were a doubtful case ? What 
a horrible shame is it to be unresolved whether God or the 
world should have your hearts? Were it not a disgrace to 
that man's understanding that were unresolved whether 
gold or dung were better ? or whether a bed of thorns, or a 
feather-bed were the easier? or whether the sun or a clod 
of earth were the more light and glorious ? It is a far greater 
shame for a man to be unresolved, whether it be God or the 
world that must make him happy, and that should have his 
heart, and whether a life of sin or holiness be the better. 
What ! have you read Scripture, and heard sermons so long, 
and yet are you unresolved of this ? Nay, have you common 
reason, and do you believe that there is a God, and a world 
to come, and yet are you unresolved whether you must be 
godly or not ? I say to you, as Elias did to Israel, " How 
long halt ye between two opinions ? If God be God follow 
him, if Baal be God follow him^" If it be better to be 
damned than leave your sins, then keep them, and the curse 
of God with them. But if it be better to deny your flesh, 
than to suffer everlastingly the wrath of God, then away 
with your iniquities, and meddle with them no more ; if it be 
better to live in an alehouse awhile, than in heaven for ever, 
then drink on and spare not ; but if it be not, why do you not 
consider and come away. If God and godliness be not bet- 
ter than the world and wickedness, then take your course ; 
but if they be, why do you stand wavering, and do not re- 
solve to be the people of God with all your hearts ? O what 
a blind and miserable creature is a wicked man, that such 
matters as these should seem doubtful to him ! or that he 
should yet be unresolved of them ! What, unresolved whe- 
ther it be best to go to heaven, or not ! and whether it be 
best to be damned, or not! And all this for the love of a 
stinking unprofitable lust ! If this be wisdom, what thenis 
folly ? 

'' 1 Kiugs xviit.Sl. 



300 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

Hindrance 16. Another hindrance of conversion, is. 
Delay. When men are resolved that they must be con- 
verted or condemned, and purpose to let go sin, and to 
take another course, yet they delay and put off the time. 
They would yet have a little more of the pleasure of their 
sin before they part vy^ith it. Yet they cannot spare it, but 
shortly they v^^ill do it. They are yet young, and they hope 
they have daylight, and time enough before them. They 
are yet in health, and therefore they hope there is no such 
haste, but they may have time to think on it. Because 
God w^ill receive a sinner whensoever he returneth, they 
think they may stay a little longer. And thus some grow 
hardened by custom in their sin, and others are cut off while 
they are purposing to return ; and many thousand souls are 
lost for ever that once were purposed to have turned to God, 
and all because they delayed their return ; as the sluggard 
saith, " Yet a little sleep, a little slumber ^ ; " so saith the 
sinner, yet I may sin a little while, till they have sinned 
themselves into a reprobate sense, or provoked God to leave 
them to themselves, and so they must perish everlastingly 
by their delay. 

Direct, 16. O consider, therefore, sinners, that conversion 
is not a work to be delayed. Would a man lie under the wrath 
and curse of God one day, that knew what it is ? Methinks 
he should not. Are you loath to come out of the bondage 
of the devil ? Why, your delay doth shew that your heart 
is false, and that you be not willing truly to be converted. 
He that is loath to leave his sin this day or hour, would ne- 
ver leave it, if he knew how to keep it : if he did not love it, 
he would be willing to be rid of it without delay. He that 
loveth God, had rather return and be reconciled to him, and 
partake of the joy of his Spirit to-day, than to-morrow. Did 
you but know what God is, you would not delay your con- 
version to him. Did you but know what the glory is that 
he ofFereth you, you would not delay to make sure of it any 
longer. Did you but see the nature of sin, and know the 
miserable effects of it, O how hastily would you endeavour 
to be rid of it ! If you had so many serpents or toads in your 
bosoms, you would not say, I will cast them out to-morrow, 
but how quickly would you shake them from you ? If you 

» Prov. vi. 10. xxiv.33. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 301 

had but felt the sting of sin, it would appear another matter 
to you than now it doth. It is one kind of face that sin hath 
in an alehouse, or in the height of your filthy lust, or in the 
seeming gain of your covetous practices ; and it is another 
kind of face that it hath when God will reckon for it with 
the guilty soul . Should a man trifle in such a course, where- 
in, if he die, he is lost for ever? Why, poor, wretched sin- 
ner, how long wilt thou delay ? And why wilt thou delay ? 
Wilt thou delay till death shall seize upon thee, and thou drop 
into hell before thou art aware ? Dost thou not know that 
sin gets advantage by thy delay ? God hath not promised 
thee that ever his Spirit shall be offered to thee more ; if thou 
refuse his assistance, and delay thy conversion but one day 
longer. And woe be to thee if he depart from thee * ! When 
people will have none of God, nor will hearken to his voice, 
he often giveth them up to their own heart's lusts, to walk in 
their own counsels"." O unworthy wretch! if thou hadst 
any of the ingenuity of a Christian within thy breast, thou 
wouldst say, * I have abused Christ and his grace so long, 
that I am utterly ashamed of it, and will abuse him no more ; 
I have too long slighted Christ already, and too long hear- 
kened to his enemy's voice. If thy dead heart were but 
well awakened to consider and feel thy own condition, thou 
wouldst be quickly affrighted out of thy delay, and run as 
hastily from thy state of sin, as thou wouldst out of a house 
that were all on fire over thy head, or out of a boat that were 
sinking under thee. What, hast thou not yet served the 
devil long enough? Hast thou not yet sufficiently abused 
Christ, not oft enough rejected the grace of God ? Hast 
thou not yet wallowed long enough in the filth of sin ? But 
must thou needs have more of it? Hast thou not yet done 
enough to the destruction of thy soul ? Nor drunk in enough 
of that deadly poison, nor stabbed thyself sufficiently by 
thy wickedness, but thou must needs have more ? Will sin 
come up easier, when it is deeper rooted? And canst thou 
more easily be converted, when thou hast driven away the 
Spirit of God that should convert thee ? Wilt thou travel 
out of thy way till night, before thou wilt turn back again ? 
And wilt thou drive the nail yet faster to the head, which 
thou knowest must be drawn out again ? O be not wilfully 

« Hos. ix. 1«. Jer. vi. 8. •» Psal. Ixxxi. 11,12. 



302 TREATISIi: OF CONVERSION. 

befooled by sin. Wilt thou be converted, or wilt thou n6t? 
If not, thou art a lost man. If thou know thou must, why 
not to-day rather than to-morrow ? What reason have you 
for any longer delay ? Is a state of sin, or a state of grace 
better? If sin be better, keep it, and make the best of it : 
but if grace, and holiness, and happiness be better, why 
then should you delay? If you were sick you would not 
care how soon you were well : and if you had a bone bro- 
ken, you care not how soon it were set ; and when your souls 
are in a state of sin and misery, are you afraid of being safe 
and happy too soon ? Remember another day, that a day, 
and many a day of grace thou hadst ; and if thou lose this 
day, thou mayst thank thyself, if thou lose thy soul, and if 
thou never have another day like this. " To-day, whilst it 
is called to-day, therefore, hear his voice, and harden not 
your hearts ""J" When David thought of his ways, he made 
haste and delayed not to turn to God, and keep his precepts, 
Psal. cxix. 60. as was aforesaid. 

Hindrance 17. Another great hindrance of conversion, 
is. When good beginnings are not followed on, but suffered 
to die and come to nothing before they bring men over to 
God. Commonly preparing works of grace go before tho- 
rough sanctifying works ; and men have many convictions, 
and half-reformations, and troubles of mind, before they 
come to close with Christ upon the terms that he is offered. 
These common preparatory works are the way to more : if 
men would but cherish these, and follow them on, and im- 
prove the light and motions which they have, they know not 
what a blessed issue they might see : but when they will 
forget the truth that once did move them, and lose the pur- 
poses that once they had, and turn back again to the sins 
they were in before; no wonder if these be left in their ini- 
quities. Is not this the case of you that hear me this day? 
You have been convinced that God and your souls must be 
regarded, whatsoever else be neglected ; and did you not 
thereupon begin to pray, and to use means, and take the 
helps in public and private that are necessary for your sal- 
vation? And have not some of you fallen into company 
that have taken you off by foolish cavils or vain objections, 
and evil examples, and enticing you to sin ? And have not 

« Heb. iii. 7, 8. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 303 

others of you grown cold, and lost your feeling, as if you 
were not the same men, and had never heard or felt such 
things? And others of you turned to this present world, 
and choked the word with the cares of this life ? And so 
the hopeful beginnings that you once had, are turned to a 
relapse into your old condition. 

Direct, 17. If there be any such sinners that hear me this 
day, (as I fear there be too many,) consider whence you are 
fallen, and be zealous and amende. Are you turned with 
" the dog to his vomit, and with the sow that was washed, 
to her wallowing in the mire ^ V What ! Do you " look 
back when you had put your hand to the plough of God * '?" 
Did Christ give you any cause to repent of his service, or to 
forsake him? Have you found indeed that the devil is the 
better master, and that the way of sin is the better way, and 
the wages of sin the better wages ? What ! did the thoughts 
of everlasting life once move you, and will they not move you 
now ? Is heaven become as no heaven to you, and God as 
no God, and Christ as no Christ, and the promises as no pro- 
mises ? And are you grown abler to resist the terrors of the 
Lord ? O poor souls, that you did but know the misery of 
apostates I The Lord hath professed, that " if any draw 
back, his soul shall have no pleasure in him^." And they 
that draw back, shall find they do it to their own perdition ; 
when they should have " believed and persevered to the 
saving of their souls ^.** There are none of all the damned 
more miserable than they that were sometimes fair for hea- 
ven,-and did once begin to look after godliness ; for the " lat- 
ter end of these men is worse than their beginning*^." Alas ! 
how sad will it be to see the faces of such among the wicked 
and condemned at the last, and to think that once we saw 
the faces of these men among the godly, and once they 
seemed to set themselves for heaven, and are they fallen off 
to this ! And is this the end of them ? In the name of God, 
sirs, I warn and charge every one of you that ever had a 
thought of returning to God, and giving up yourselves to a 
holy life, that you presently bethink you, what is gone with 
these thoughts and purposes, and why did you turn from 
these beginnings ? What reason had you for it ? And what 

y Rev. ill. 19. ' 'i Pet. ii. ««. a J.uke ix. 6-2. 

»» Heb. X. 38 « Ver. 39. J * Pet. ii. 20, 21. 



304 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

cause hath Christ given you ? What ! will the world now be 
a faster friend to yoa than before ? And will you now con- 
tinue with it, and never die ? Or can you better be without 
God and his grace than before ? O be awakened from this 
desperate folly, and once again renew your former resolu- 
tions, and consider whether you are not nearer eternity than 
you were ; and have not as much need of Christ as ever? 
And sleep not on till hell awake you. 

Hindrance 18. The next hindrance of conversion to be 
mentioned, is, A misunderstanding of Scripture, and erro- 
neous thoughts of the ways of God. If error possess the 
mind, it will keep out grace from possessing the heart, so 
far as the error prevaileth. I shall instance in some few 
particulars. 

(1 .) Some men know not what true grace or conversion is, 
and therefore think they have it when they have none, and 
do not set themselves to look after it. They think that it is 
but to forsake some gross sins, and to use some outward ser- 
vice of God, and do no one any wrong, and then they think 
they have true conversion ; because they have turned from 
many sins that once they lived in. But these must know, 
that conversion is the withdrawing of the soul from the 
world, and from carnal self, and the devoting of ourselves, 
and all that we have to God. If you should be never so 
zealous in forms, and take up never so strict principles, and 
stick to the strictest party ; this is no proof of true conver- 
sion, if your souls do not cleave to God, as your portion, and 
to Christ as the only way to God. 

(2.) Some there be that do not think there is any such 
thing as saving grace, or true conversion in the world ; be- 
cause they have none themselves, they do not think that any 
one else hath. When they hear of a hope and heart in 
heaven, and of loving God above all creatures, they do not 
think that any one doth reach to it, but that men merely 
talk of such things, which they never had experience of. 
But these men must know, that it is an arrogant madness to 
contradict the scope of the word of God, and the common 
experience of the best men in the world ; and all because 
they are so bad themselves. Doth God talk so much of sanc- 
tifying his people, and putting the Spirit of Jesus into their 
hearts, and ruling them, and dwelling in them, and crucify- 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 30^. 

ing the world to them, and " purifying a peculiar people to 
himself, that are zealous of good works ^ ; and now dare they 
say there is no such thing? Whether is God or they to be 
believed ? What ! hath Christ died to procure it, and is it 
the office of the Holy Ghost to work it, and now is there no 
such thing ? Are the word, and ministers, and all the ordi- 
nances to that end, and now is there no such thing? God 
will make them know that such a thing was offered once to 
them, and such a thing as grace and a heavenly life were ne- 
cessary to their salvation. And if they will not believe the 
experience of the saints, nor will see the graces of God, as 
they shine in the conversation of his people, they shall be 
forced one day to see, and be ashamed. 

(3.) Others there be that think holiness is but needless 
preciseness ; and that to meditate on God and heaven, and 
make it our main business, is but more ado than needs ; and 
that this is but to be godly overmuch, and God will accept 
less ; and this is the way even to drive men beside them- 
selves. 

Answ. Though I have formerly answered this objection, 
yet because it here again falls in my way, I shall distinctly 
answer it in these particulars. 

Quest. 1. Tell me truly, do you think that God or you 
are fitter to be judges of what is necessary to the salvation 
of a sinner? Doth God command it? and dare you say it 
is more ado than needs ? Why, what is this, but plainly to 
say, that God hath set us upon a needless work ? Yea, what 
is it but to say, you are wiser than he ? There is no master 
so foolish and unmerciful, as will set his servant to pick 
straws, and labour to no purpose : and will you impute such 
unmerciful folly to God ? Dare you say he makes you more 
ado than needs ? 

Quest. 2. And then I ask. Is it more ado than Scripture 
doth require ? Doth not the word of God make it necessary, 
which you call unnecessary ? Read and judge. — " Lay not 
up for yourselves treasures on earth : but lay up for your- 
selves treasures in heaven. Seek first the kingdom of God 
and his righteousness V " The kingdom of heaven suffer- 
eth violence, and the violent take it by force «." '* Strive to 
enter in at the strait gate ; for many, I say unto you. shall 

* Tit. ii. 14. ' Matt vi. 19, «0. 23. » Matt. xi. !«. 

VOL. VII. X 



306 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

beek to enter in, and shall not be able''." *' Labour not for 
the food which perisheth, but for that which endureth to 
everlasting life'." *' See then that ye walk circumspectly, 
redeeming the time''." "What manner of persons ought 
ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ' f And an 
hundred more such places may be mentioned. So that if it 
be an error to require so much ado for our salvation, it is God 
himself that is the cause of it. And who is most likely to 
be in the right ? The Lord that made you, or such silly, ig- 
norant worms as you ? You scarce know good from bad ; 
and will you take on you to be wiser than God, and to con- 
trol his law ? 

Quest. 3. Do you think indeed in your consciences, that 
a man can do too much for heaven, (as long as he doth but 
what God bids him,) and that he can be at more cost and 
labour for it, than it is worth? Is that man worthy or meet 
to see the face of God in glory, that thinks it not worth his 
utmost diligence? Do you set so much by your labour, or 
do you set so light by God and glory, as to think the ever- 
lasting Enjoyment of it to be unworthy of your pains? 

Quest. 4. Do you think there ever was a man that got 
well to heaven, that repented of coming thither at so dear a 
rate ; or that was there of your mind, that this godliness is 
more ado than needs ? If we could but speak with one of 
the glorified saints that see the face of God and put the case 
to him, which is the wiser man, he that doth all that he can 
to be saved, or he that saith what needs all this ado ? which 
side do you think he would be on ? Cannot you easily con- 
jecture? 

Quest. 6. Is Christ, or the apostles, or any of the servants 
of God of your mind? Judge by their conversations whe- 
ther they thought it more ado than needs. The best of his 
saints never had so much grace but they longed for more ; 
they never were so holy, but they longed to be better ; and 
do you think that you are wiser than all they, and that nei- 
ther prophets, apostles, nor any saints of God did know 
what they did ? 

Quest. 6. What is it that you think is so painful a life as 
to be too much for God and heaven ? Do you know what 
you talk of? Why, it is the only joyful life on earth. It is 

^ L»tke Jtiii. 24. ' John vi. 27. *' Eph. v. 15. '2 Pet. iii. 11. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 307 

more a receiving from God, than a giving to him. It is an 
employment that is suited both to the new nature of the 
saints, and to their necessity and good. What is holiness 
but a living in the love of God and joy of the Holy Ghost, 
and hope of the life to come, and a daily communion with 
God in the Spirit, in the use of his holy ordinances ? Tp 
hear of his love, and the promise of his glory, and the par- 
don of our sins, and to beg of him what we want, and thank 
and praise him for what we have received ? And do you 
think this is so tedious a life? Is it a toil to you to eat and 
drink of the best, when your bodies do require it? Or to 
rest when you are weary? Or to love your dearest friend, 
and to be in his company? If not, why should we think it 
a toil to live in the love of God, and in holy communion 
with him in his service ? 

Quest, 7. And is it not a certain mark of a graceless 
heart to think that this is such a grievous work ? Sure that 
soul is void of the love of God, that thinks it a grievous 
thing to love him. A man that hates his wife, and loveth 
harlots, will say, * I cannot love her, nor abide to dwell with 
^^ ;' but if he loved her he would think otherwise. If you 
did not hate God you would not think it so grievous to live 
in the love of him, and to be much in his holy worship. 

Quest, 8. Do you desire to come to heaven, or not ? If 
not, then remember, if you are shut out, it is by your own 
consent. If you would come thither, then do you not know 
that all your employment there must be such as this, and 
much more holy and perfect than this ? Will you account 
heaven itself grievous ? And the praises of God there, to 
be more ado than needs ? If not, how dare you say so of a 
far lower degree which we have in this life ? If you are 
weary of this little, how weary would you be of heaven ? 

Quest. 9. I pray you tell me, do you think indeed that 
any man on earth is as good as he should be ? Do you not 
know, that he that is best is too bad ; and he that doth most 
comes unspeakably too short of what he should do ? And 
dare you say then, that this is more ado than needs ? Why 
if you had spoken to Peter or Paul, or the holiest man that 
ever lived, he would have rather complained that he could 
be no better, and cried out, ' O that I were more holy, and 
could be more taken up in the Ipve of God, alas ! I fall ex- 



308 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

ceedingly short of what is my duty/ And shall such sin- 
ners as we are, yea, some of the vilest sinners, say, that this 
is more ado than needs ? Why, thou proud, insensible 
wretch, dost thou no better know thy own needs than so ? 
Doth not thy soul need this, and more than this ? What, 
darest thou justify thyself in thy ungodliness, and judge of 
godliness as a needless thing ? 

Quest. 10. Canst thou tell me how long thou wilt be of 
that mind ? When thou liest a dying wilt thou then think 
that holiness was more ado than needs ? When thou seest 
that the world hath left thee, and that thou art presently to 
appear before the Lord, speak as thou thinkest, man, hadst 
thou not rather then be found in the case of the holiest and 
most diligent saints on earth, than in the case of the care- 
less, proud, or carnal ? Will holy duty, or the neglect and 
deriding of it, be then more comfortable ? Wouldst thou 
not then change states with one of those that did the most 
for God, and for their souls, and wouldst thou not say with 
Balaam, " Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my 
last end be as his'"?" 

Quest, 11. What is it, do you think that is worth a man's 
'pains and care, if God and everlasting glory be not ? Is 
there any thing of greater worth ? Man was not made for 
nothing, and idleness is no delight to him. Something he 
would be doing and looking after, and something he expects 
to make him happy, and that which he takes for his happi- 
ness, he cannot choose but think it worth all his pains. 
And have you found out any thing that is better than heaven ? 
Will this world last longer ? Or stand you in greater stead 
at last ? Alas, that we should be put to ask or answer such 
questions as these ! Why, sirs, either heaven or earth must 
have your love, and care and labour, and which do you think 
doth more deserve it? You can talk of the world from day 
to day, and you can work and toil for the world all the year 
long, and yet you never say it is more ado than needs. If 
your servant labour harder for you one day than God's 
servants do for him in a week, you will not tell him that 
he doth more than needs. Foolish worldlings, let me deal 
plainly with you, and tell you to your faces, it is you that 
make more ado than needs. Is the world worth all this care 

Nunib. xxiii. 10. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 309 

and stir that you make about it? Is it worth your thoughts 
and unwearied diligences, and is it worth the venturing of 
your salvation to obtain it? I tell you it is not, and you 
partly know yourselves it is not. Why, where are your wits, 
to toil yourselves, all your lives for these trifles ; and to tell 
them that labour for salvation, that they make more ado than 
needs ? Well, hearken of the end, and then you shall see 
whether it be labour for heaven or for earth, that will be re- 
pented of. If you know not now, you shall shortly know it. 
Quest. 12. One question more I shall yet put to you. 
Do you think the pains of duty to be greater than the pains 
of hell? If you do not, should not we choose the lesser to 
escape the greater ? If you had not the love of God to 
make you delight in his service, methinks you should have 
that love of yourselves to make you fear his everlasting 
wrath. Never flatter yourselves with other thoughts. Be- 
lieve it, if you will needs take it for a pain which should be 
your pleasure, you must undergo the pain of an unfeignedly 
holy life, or the pain of hell, choose you whether. 

(4.) Another of their errors that hindereth conversion, 
is. That their own good meanings, and praying, and good 
works will make God amends for their sins, and after all 
will procure their acceptance with God. And if these will 
not do, they think the case is hard, for there is nothing else 
for us to do. And so they see not the evil of their own 
meanings and good works, and how much sin is in them to 
be wailed ; nor do they see the need of a Christ in all, nor 
the need of a thorough change of their condition, that they 
may be made the justified sons of God, and have new hearts 
and new conversations. But they think while they live to 
the world and the flesh, to make up all and procure accep- 
tance by good meaning, and good praying, and good works. 
I would not be misunderstood, as if I were speaking against 
that which is truly good in any. But I would desire these 
people well to consider ; 1. That the meanings and works 
of unconverted men are not truly and properly good ; but it 
is the end that denominateth the work ; and seeing no un- 
converted man doth make God his ultimate end, therefore 
he hath properly no good meaning, nor work ; for he mean- 
eth all ultimately for his carnal self, for the flesh, and for 
the world, and for these are his works. As the true Chris- 



SlO TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

tian doth make his worldly labour to be ultimately for God, 
so*doth the ungodly make his seeming service of God to be 
ultimately for his flesh. 2. You should consider that all 
your good works must have a ])drdon themselves, and there ; 
fore cannot satisfy for your sins. 3. That if your works 
were perfectly good without any blemish, yet could they not 
satisfy for that sin which is past, but that must be expected 
only from the blood of Christ. It is, therefore, a lamentable 
case to hear many of the grossly ignorant people to talk of 
all their good meanings and praying, as if their confidence 
were all in these, while they make no mention of the blood 
of a Redeemer ; or feel not the need of it ; nor what it is 
that Christ hath done for them, nor how much they are be- 
holden to him. 4. It is no patching up of your old unre- 
generate state, that will serve turn for your salvation, but 
you must be wholly made new. '* He that is in Christ is a 
new creature ; old things are passed away, behold all things 
have become new "." It is not forsaking this or that sin, or 
falling to your prayers, that will serve turn; but you must 
have new hearts, and new ends, and a new conversation, and 
the main business and drift of your lives must be new. Those 
hearts that were set on the world before must be set on God ; 
and those desires that run to the pleasures of the flesh, must 
run out after the pleasing of God. I say, it is not patch- 
ing up the old condition, but all must be new. 

(5.) Another error that hindereth conversion, is. The 
misunderstanding of those Scriptures that promise salvation 
to some particular graces or duties. As because the Scrip- 
ture saith, " whosoever believeth in him shall not perish," 
therefore they say that they truly believe ; and, therefore, 
though they have not such holiness of life, yet God hath 
promised them salvation. So, also, where it is said, that 
'* whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be 
saved," therefore they say, we call on the name of the Lord, 
and so shall be saved, though we be not converted, nor so 
holy as you require. 

To these men I have these several things to say for the 
cure of this dangerous error. 

1. Poor ignorant souls, they talk of they know not 
what : and suffer themselves to be deceived by words which 

" 2 Cor. V. 17. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. ,311 

they understand not. If they did but know well what faith 
is, and what calling upon God is, they would never be 
troubled with this objection. To believe in Christ, is 
to believe him to be the Saviour of the church, to save 
them from their sins, and heartily to consent that he shall 
be so to us, to save us from our sins ; and can you believe 
in him as a Saviour, and yet be unwilling to be saved by 
him ? Sin is the mischief from which he saveth you, and 
conversion is one half of his saving work ; and can you then 
say you believe, and therefore need not be converted? Why 
you may as well say, * I take such a man for my physician, 
and I trust in him for a cure, and therefore I need not be 
cured.' Is not this nonsense, or a contradiction? And 
what is it better, to say, * I believe in Christ as my Saviour, 
that is, to save me from my sins, and therefore I may be 
saved, though I be not saved from my sins.' These are the 
wise reasonings that many of our self-conceited hearers 
make use of to delude themselves and other men. And the 
very nature of faith is to take Christ as Christ, and as he is 
offered in the Gospel. As our teacher to guide us in the 
way of holiness, and as our king to rule us, as well as a sa- 
crifice for our sins. And how can he do this for us, if we 
will not be converted ? 

2. Moreover, faith in Jesus Christ is always annexed to 
a belief in God the Father. ** If you believe in God, believe 
also in me°." ** This is life eternal to know thee the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent p." Now 
to believe in God, is to take him for our Maker, that hath 
absolute right in us, and absolute power over us, whom we 
must obey before all, and our happiness and chief good, 
whom we must love and desire above all. And can this be 
done without conversion ? 

3. To believe in Christ is ever accompanied with be- 
lieving in the Holy Ghost, which is the receiving him to be 
our sanctifier j and can you do this, and yet be unconverted? 

4. By this much that hath been said, you may perceive 
that conversion and faith is in a sort one and the same 
thing ; to be a true believer, and to be converted, is all one; 
for conversion is to make you true believers. And is it not 
t)ien a wise kind of cavil to say, that if you believe, you 

* Jolm %\Vt 1. c Juhn xvii. S. 



312 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

may be saved without conversion ? As much as to say, if I 
have the sunshine I may see without light ; or if I have a 
soul, I need not life or understanding. I tell you there is 
ho such thing as true faith without conversion. 

5. Moreover, where true faith is, all other saving graces 
do accompany it; there is ever repentance, hope, love, hu- 
mility, and a heavenly mind. So that it is no true faith 
which is separated from these, and which the ungodly de- 
ceive themselves with, but an opinion, and a mere unground- 
ed presumption. 

(6.) Another error which hindereth men's conversion, is. 
Some false apprehensions of the doctrine of God's eternal 
decree of election or predestination ; from which many des- 
perate consequences are raised by them, to the deceiving of 
their own souls : and this I find abundance among us in this 
country deluded by ; how the devil hath brought it to pass, 
I know not. They have many of them learned this foolish 
pretence ; if God hath chosen us we shall be saved, and if he 
hath not, we shall not, whatsoever we do : no diligence will 
save a man that is not elected, and " it is not in him that 
willeth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth 
mercy." Those that God will save, shall be saved, what- 
soever they be; and those that he will damn, shall be 
damned ; and no man can have grace except God give it 
him ; for we can do nothing of ourselves : and upon these 
grounds they think they may be secure, and cast all upon 
God, as a matter that they have little to do with ; and think 
that their endeavours are to little purpose, if they should 
make never so much ado. 

Answ. One would think common reason should teach 
men to answer such silly cavils as these ; but because I find 
so many ignorant souls do stick at them, I shall give you a 
full answer in these particulars. 

1. God electeth no man to the end without means, but 
to the end and means together. All that he electeth to sal- 
vation, he electeth to conversion and sanctification, and all 
that he denieth conversion to, he denieth salvation to also. 

2. If therefore you care whether you are saved or 
damned, it concerneth you to make both your calling and 
election sure, 2 Pet. i. 10. Make but your calling sure, and 
you need not make any question of your election. Make 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 313 

sure that you are converted, and hold fast what you have, 
and then you may be certain you shall be saved. You be- 
gin at the wrong end, if you would first ask whether you are 
elected, that you may know whether you shall be saved ; but 
you must first try whether you are converted and saved from 
the power of sin, and then you may certainly gather that 
you are elected and shall be saved from hell. Will you be- 
gin at the top of the ladder, and not the bottom? Did God 
ever damn any man that was truly converted and sanctified, 
because he was not elected ? No such matter : prove any 
such thing if you can : nay, we can fully prove the contrary, 
for he hath promised salvation to all that are truly converted 
and sanctified, ** Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall 
see God ^i." With abundance the like which have been 
named frequently to you. And can you prove that ever God 
saved any man that was not converted, because he was 
elected ? No such matter ; for he electeth all that are con- 
verted. And he hath resolved to save none but the conver- 
ted, as is plain, John iii. 3. Heb. xii. 14. and many other 
places formerly quoted. 

3. These reasonings therefore of yours, if they keep 
you from conversion and a heavenly life, are a certain mark 
that you are without the evidence of your election ; and if 
you so live and die, that you are none of the elect. And, 
therefore, by such reasonings you do but shew your own mi- 
sery, like a man that hath the plague that will glory in his 
botch : it should make your hearts to tremble to find so sad 
a mark as this upon your souls, that you have a heart that 
dares hold off from conversion, and fetch vain pretences from 
the decree of God. 

4. Consider also, that God's decrees are not the cause 
of your impenitency or any sin; though his grace be the 
cause of men's conversion ; he is the beginner of our good, 
but we are the causes of our own evil : all our grace is from 
him, but all our sin is from ourselves : he giveth us grace 
before we so much as willed it, and accordingly he decreed 
to give it before the foresight of our own willing it; but he 
causeth not our sin, but only permitteth us to cause it, and 
accordingly he decreed not the event of sin before he did 
foresee that we would be sinners, and our wills of themselves 

1 Matt. V. 8. 



314 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

would turn from God, and so proceed till grace recover us. 
You have no more ground therefore of excusing yourselves, 
because of the decree of God, than if he had made no such 
decree at all. What if I could foretel, from the obstinate 
wickedness of such a thief, or such a drunkard, that he w^ill 
never be cured ; is it long of me because I foreknew it ? 
What if the prophet foretel Hazael, what cruelty he shall 
commit on the children of Israel, is the prophet therefore 
the cause of it ? 

5. Consider also, that if you knew not how to answer 
any objection of this nature, yet you have the very princi- 
ples of reason and all religion to assure you that God is 
most wise, and good, and just, and holy. And, therefore, 
that he cannot be the author of your sin, nor shall you ever 
be able to fetch any just excuse from him. You might bet- 
ter have looked about you any where in the world for one 
to bear the blame of your miscarriages than the most wise 
and holy God. For nothing is more certain, than that the 
Infinite Good cannot be the author of evil ; and whosoever 
it comes from, it cannot come from him. O how easily will 
God stop their mouths that excuse themselves by accusing 
him in so foul a cause ! 

6. And why do you not consider what madness it 
would be to argue about your bodies as you do about your 
souls. It is as true that God hath decreed how many years 
and days you shall live, as that he hath decreed whether you 
shall be saved. And I will refer it to your own reason, what 
you would think of the wit of that man that would give 
over eating and drinking, and say, ' God hath decreed how 
long I shall live, and if he have decreed that I shall live any 
longer, I shall, whether I eat and drink or not. And if he 
have not decreed that I shall live, it is not eating nor drink- 
ing that will keep me alive?' What would you say to such 
a man but this, that God decreeth no man to live, but by 
the ordinary means of living. And therefore ordinarily if 
you will give over eating and drinking, it is certain that you 
will give over living : and that God hath made no decree to 
save you alive whether you eat and drink, or not? So if a 
man should have a journey to go on life or death, what 
would you think of that man that will say, *If God have de- 
creed that I shall come to my journey's end, I shall do it. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 315 

whether I go or not ; and if he have not decreed it, I shall 
never come thither, though I travel never so hard V This is 
true ; but if you hence infer, that therefore it is as good to 
sit still as go, you will shew your own folly, and not procure 
an excuse for your neglect. Why even so it is in our pre- 
sent case. If you will say, * If God have elected me, I shall 
be saved ; and if he have not, 1 shall not, whatsoever I do, 
and therefore I may spare my pains,' it is no wiser than to 
give over eating and drinking, because God hath decreed 
how long you shall live ; or to give over travelling because 
God hath decreed whether you shall come to your journey's 
end. Will you be thus mad about the matters of your 
trades and callings in the world ? Why do not all the wea- 
vers in this town then give over their trades, and say, * If 
God have decreed that I shall live well and be rich, I shall 
be so whether I labour or not ; and if he have not, my la- 
bour will not serve?' Why do you not give over ploughing 
and sowing, and say, * If God have decreed that I shall have 
a crop, I shall have one, whether I plough and sow or not ; 
and if he have not, I shall not, whatsoever I do?' If you 
will needs be fools, let it be about these worldly things, 
which you may better spare. Try your own opinion awhile, 
and give over eating and drinking and working ; but do not 
befool yourselves about the one thing necessary, and play 
not the madman about the flames of hell ; and do not in such 
jest throw away your salvation. It were an hundred times 
a wiser course for a man to set his house on fire, and say, 
* If God have decreed the saving of it, the fire shall not burn 
it ; if he have not, it will perish whatsoever I do.' I tell 
you again, God hath not ordinarily decreed the end without 
the means ; and if you will neglect the means of salvation, 
it is a certain mark that God hath not decreed you to sal- 
vation. But you shall find that he hath left you no excuse, 
because he hath not thus predestinated you. 

(7.) But you say. We cannot convert ourselves ; what 
can man do without the grace of God ? And, therefore, if 
God give us not grace we are excusable. 

Answ. Do your consciences justify you, that you have 
done all that you can ? Can you not go to church when 
you stay at home ? Can you not go among the servants of 
God when you go to your worldly businesses, or to an ale- 



316 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

house ? Cannot you keep out of evil company ? or cannot 
you so much as consider of your ways, or bethink you of 
the things of the life to come ? I say, cannot you do these 
things if you will ? and have you done these, or have you 
not? Have you avoided temptations and occasions of 
evil, and used the means of grace, and attended God in the 
use of his ordinances, and marked diligently what is said to 
you, and considered it when you came home ? Have you 
not sinned and neglected the means of grace, both know- 
ingly and wilfully ? Conscience may tell you that you have, 
and God shall make you know that you have ; and shortly 
you shall be convinced past denial, that you did not all that 
you could, nor forbore the evil that you might have forborne. 
And if you will refuse and abuse the help of God, can you 
expect that he should follow you still with his assistance ? 
God will make you know one day, that nobody carried you 
into an alehouse, nor opened your mouth, nor poured down 
the drink ! and nobody forced you to swear, or to rail, or 
hate religion, or quarrel with the word that should have 
saved you, but it was the malicious wickedness of your 
naughty hearts. 

And for the power of conversion and believing itself, 
you must know that there is a two-fold power, the one na- 
tural, the other moral. The natural faculty of understand- 
ing and willingness every man hath ; and if they have the 
use of reason, they have no physical impediment but they 
may use them, and if they hear the word, they have no such 
absence of the necessary object, as may make the word im- 
possible to them. The moral power is nothing but a dispo- 
sition or habit of the soul to believe or repent, &c. or a free- 
dom of contrary habits. And this it is acknowledged that 
none have, but those that have proportionably received that 
grace that doth aftect it : or, to speak as plain as I can to 
you, there is a power which lieth in being able to believe 
and repent if you will, or to do whatsoever we will, that 
concerneth us to do ; and there is a willingness itself to ex- 
ecute this power, and that both actual and habitual. The 
former every one hath, the latter none but the godly have in 
sincerity, and those that make so great a stir about this in 
the church, do seem to be agreed in it for the main, and do 
not know it. For every man on both parties confesseth 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 317 

that all men have the natural faculty of understanding and 
will, and that they have so much power that they can be- 
lieve and love God above all if they will, and on the other 
side, I hope we are all agreed that wicked, unregenerate men 
are not truly willing to repent and believe, and that they 
have not the habit and disposition thereto, but have the 
contrary habits. Experience telleth us this, without any 
more ado. The latter sort of power then, about which all 
the controversy lieth, is nothing but the very willingness or 
grace itself, actual or habitual, or the absence of the con- 
trary. And, therefore, it is all one to ask whether a wicked 
man have power to believe ; and to ask whether he be a be- 
liever actually or habitually, or not an unbeliever ; so that 
when we are all agreed that the natural power or faculty is 
present, and the moral, which is but the willingness, is ab- 
sent, you can ground none of your excuses on the differences 
of the churches in this point. And as I have formerly said 
to you, if you will but reduce this last kind of power and 
impotency to its most proper expression, you will open the 
shame of your excuses. For morally to be unable to believe, 
is no more than to be unwilling to believe. And if you 
should say, ' I will not believe or repent, and therefore I am 
excusable,' what would your own conscience say to such an 
excuse ? Natural impotency excuseth faults. He that can 
say, * I would believe, but cannot, is excusable ;' but never 
a one of you all shall ever be able to say this ; but moral 
impotency aggravateth faults : the more will, the more sin. 
All the government and justice in the world is grounded 
upon this principle, and therefore all rewards and punish- 
ments are founded in the will of man, and all moral virtue 
and vice is resolved into that. And if you can but prove 
that a man offended willingly, you have proved him cul- 
pable : for nature hath taught all the world to bring the 
fault to the will, and there to leave it, and look no further 
for the cause : unless, as seducers may be made accessary 
by their persuasions, which yet is no excuse to the offender. 

(8.) And whereas you allege that of the apostle, " It is 
not in him that willeth, or in him that runneth, but in God 
that sheweth mercy." 

I answer, that the meaning is not, that our salvation is 
not in him that willeth, or in him that runneth. The apos- 



318 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

tie talketh of no such thing. But it is about the giving of 
the gospel to them that had it not, and taking it from them 
that had forfeited it by their sin ; or the giving of the first 
special grace to them that had it not, and the denying it 
them that had forfeited it by their neglects ; and the mean- 
ing is no more than this, that the reason why God giveth 
one man or nation the preaching of the Gospel, when others 
for their sins are left in darkness, is not from any merit or 
precedent willing or running of their own, but from his mere 
mercy. And the reason why he blesseth the Gospel to the 
conversion of some, when he leaveth others to despise it by 
their wilful obstinacy, is not from the merits of any of those 
unregenerate men, or from any willing or running of theirs, 
but from God that sheweth mercy. So that you must note 
that it is, 1. One thing to ask the cause of man's damnation 
in himself considered, and this is not said to be because God 
will damn him, but because he hath deserved it by his sin : 
and so the cause of his preterition in the matter of special 
grace, is not barely because God will pass him by, but be- 
cause he hath deserved it ; for God denieth the Gospel, and 
faith by the Gospel, or his grace to effect it, to no man that 
hath not first deserved that denial. 2. It is another thing to 
ask the reason of men's salvation, which is not given iu 
Scripture barely from the will of God, but from the faith and 
obedience of men, for it is an act of rewarding justice as 
well as of paternal love and mercy. 3. And it is yet another 
thing to ask the reason why God giveth any man the first 
special grace to repent and believe considering him simply 
in himself, and this is because that God is gracious, and no 
reason can be given but his own mercy ; and thus far most 
of us are agreed. 4. And it is yet another thing to ask the 
reason why God giveth the special grace to this man, rather 
than that, comparatively considered, when he might justly 
have denied it to them both, and neither of them could plead 
their desert of it ? And to this it is that the apostle's an- 
swer doth most square, or at least is fitly applied : ** It is 
not in him that willeth or runneth, but of God that sheweth 
mercy :" so that, though no man can give any turning reason 
besides the mere will of God, why God should give this 
grace to Peter, rather than to Judas, yet we well know that 
he denieth it not to Judas without his own desert; though 
he gives it to Peter contrary to his desert. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 319 

(9.) And whereas it is further objected, that " whom he 
will he hardeneth," and if God will harden us, how can we 
repent V 

Answ. 1. That he hardeneth no man without his own de- 
sert ; it is not till you have forfeited his softening grace by 
your resisting and abuse of it. 2. That his hardening is 
but his leaving you to yourselves, and taking away or de- 
nying you that Spirit which you have quenched ; or his car- 
rying the just course of his providence so, as he knoweth 
your corrupt natures will be hardened thereby ; but he doth 
not put any hardness into your hearts, and therefore these 
afford you no excuse. 

(10.) Another error that hindereth conversion, is. The 
placing of holiness in holding of certain opinions, and so 
turning from the life of faith and love, to speculation and 
vain j anglings. If once men place their religion in their 
opinions, they may as well be hypocrites and self-deceivers 
in a true opinion, as in a false. This is a habit by which 
the devil hath caught multitudes of souls in all ages of the 
church, and especially of late : when he cannot keep men 
in open profaneness, then he will tempt them to think that 
such a party and such a sect are the only right and holy 
people ; and therefore if thou get but among them, and be 
one of that opinion and party, then thou shalt be saved. 
And hence it is that we see that men who are so zealous for 
their parties, and glory so much in several opinions, do yet 
many, and very many of them, live so unacquaintedly with 
God and heaven, and are such strangers to Christian cha- 
rity, and can freely reproach both common Christians and 
ministers, and speak evil of the things they understand not, 
and take their railing accusations for their piety, and walk 
in discord, and hatred, and disunion from the church of God, 
and be glad when they can bear down the reputation of their 
brethren whose labours are necessary for the good of souls. 
And it is a common mark of an opinionative hypocrite, that 
he preferreth the interest of his opinion and party, before 
the interest of these common truths which salvation is clear- 
ly laid upon, and all Christians are agreed in. And he car- 
eth not to hinder ministers from propagating these common 
truths for the conversion of souls, so he might withal but 
hinder them from propagating that opinion which is con- 



320 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

trary to his. And withal he layeth out more of his zeal and 
diligence for these opinions, than for the mortification of 
his lusts, and the maintaining of the union and communion 
of the saints, and walking holily with God, and uprightly 
with men. 

I shall now say no more to these, but that ** the king- 
dom of God consisteth not in meats and in drink, but in 
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost "^i" 
and *' that circumcision availeth nothing, nor uncircumci- 
sion, but faith that worketh by love%" " and the new crea- 
ture *." '* For in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Gen- 
tile, bond nor free, male nor female ;" and why may I not 
say on the same ground, young nor old, " but Christ is all, 
and in all "." And that we have many promises of life and 
salvation to as many as repent and believe, and love God, 
and hope for the coming of Christ ; but we have none to 
those that are of this or that party or opinion without these 
graces. And withal we know how tender God is of the 
unity of his church and people, and how much he hath spo- 
ken against division : and they that know not this, when 
they pretend to know things that are not half so clearly re- 
vealed, may be ashamed of their ignorance. I do not know 
where God hath commanded men to avoid them that hold 
this or that tolerable different opinion, or that follow this 
or that tolerable different practice ; but I know where he 
hath commanded us to *' mark them that cause division, and 
avoid them''." 

(11.) Another error that hindereth conversion, is. When 
men have gotten false conceits against the lawfulness or ne- 
cessity of those holy ordinances, that are used by the peo- 
ple of God. For the life of religion lieth so much in the 
use of ordinances, that if people be brought out of conceit 
with these, they will not know what it is to be religious, nor 
what necessity there is of it. To give you an instance in 
some particulars. 

1. Some grow into doubt of the necessity of family duty, 
and ask, where hath God commanded us to pray in our fa- 
milies ? And that so oft? To which I answer. That it is 
sufficient that he hath bid us " pray always, and in all 

»■ Rom. xiv. 17. 8 Gal. v. 6. 'Gal. vi. 15. 

" Col. ii. 11. Gal. iii. 28. '^ Rom. xvi. 17. 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 321 

things make our requests known to God with prayers, sup- 
plication, and thanksgiving y." " All things are sanctified 
by the word and prayer^." And therefore our families and 
callings are so. What have we common reason for, but to 
circumstantiate these duties, that God hath commanded to us 
for the substance. And common reason telleth us, that as 
we daily need God, we must daily seek supply of our needs; 
and so not only our persons, but our families as families, do 
need this mercy, and receive his mercy, and are related to 
him as the Head : so our families as families must call on 
him, and praise him, and love his headship. Besides the 
example of Daniel, that prayed three times a day in his 
house, so openly that his enemies had matter of accusation 
from the matter of his prayer. But I have had occasion to 
write more largely of this, and therefore will not now stand 
on it. 

2. Others are brought to question the lawfulness of 
joining with our solemn assemblies, in hearing, or praying, 
or other public worship of God. The reasons are such as I 
am ashamed to stand to mention and confute them, and 
shall be weary to go over them, they are so vain and super- 
ficial, and answered at large by many. Some of their rea- 
sons are, because we are so bad, when many of the accusers 
are such themselves, that they deserve to be severely cen- 
sured by the church ; and because the church will not deal 
with them, they will judge the church, and take themselves 
too good to have communion with it, and the church unwor- 
thy to have communion with them. In a word, they would 
have not one but many cast out, whom they never dealt 
with in Christ's way, by admonition ; and because it is not 
done out of Christ's way, to save a labour, they will turn 
schismatics. 

And others of them withdraw on the pretence that we 
have no ministry. And how prove they that? You may 
wait long enough till you can have a word of Scripture or 
reason for the proof, or before they can answer that suffi- 
cient proof that is brought to the contrary. And if you do but 
put them to tell you which is the true church and ministers, 
and where it hath been ? you shall see what work they will 
make in the end. 

J Phil. i». 6. I Thess. v. 17. » 1 Tim. iv. 4, 5. 

vcfl. vn. Y 



3M TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

Others withdraw on pretence that we are unbaptized, to 
which end they must coin a new baptism, or else they are at 
a loss. And their arguing with us, will be much like the 
Papists in the point of transubstantiation, which requireth 
that men renounce their sense, and say, that they see not 
that which they see, and feel not or taste not that which in- 
deed they feel and taste, and then they may come to be in 
the right. And so we must believe that we see none bap- 
tized in our churches, nor hear it, nor know of any such 
thing, and then we may come to be a church. If these bre- 
thren had half so much humility, or Christian love, and sense 
of the unity of the church of Christ as they should have, 
they would think on it, and think again, before they would 
either say of the universal church of Christ for one age, 
much more so for many ages, that it was no church, or not 
to be joined with. For he that dares renounce communion 
with the whole, doth make it hard to be discerned that he is 
a part : and he that is not a member of the body, will not 
find another body of Christ, whose communion is desirable. 
For my part, I believe the church hath had many errors in 
many ages, but I know no age since the creation, in which, 
if I had lived, I durst have disclaimed communion with her. 
Much less dare I think of nmning out of the way to heaven, 
which almost all they went in that are there ; or of separating 
from all the church of Christ, from Adam till within this 
two hundred years, or thereabout: for if there were no 
church till then, there waB no Head, no Christ, and so no 
Christianity. Yea, if there were none but for any one time. 
01 if it were the will of God that we could have as clear 
light in some other weighty points, as we have in Scripture 
for the baptism of the children of believers ; how much 
would it do to quiet the understandings of many that are 
willing to know. 

3. Others there be that despise the solemn praises of 
the congregations, because some psalms are such as all 
cannot truly, they think, recite. 

1. As if no recital were lawful, but that which per- 
sonally owneth the words, which can never be proved. 

2. And do they not know that God himself hath 
prevented their objection? And that it flieth in his own 
face? Who knoweth not that these psalms, or at least very 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 323 

many of them, were appointed for the solemn praise of God 
in the temple and congregations of the Jews in those times ? 
And if those could lawfully use them, whose hearts were 
generally no more fitted to them than ours, may not we do 
so too ? 

3. And do they not know that their scruple doth 
make not only against psalms, but all public prayer also to 
be unlawful ? For you cannot so speak in any such public 
prayers or praises, but there will be somewhat which will not 
suit with the particular dispositions of many in the congre- 
gation personally to own, or else your duty will be very de- 
fective. If you express rejoicing, must all drooping spirits 
separate from the assembly that cannot rejoice ? But I will 
trouble you no more with this. If any are unsatisfied, let 
them read but Mr. Cotton's book on this question, and Mr. 
Ford's, and they may receive satisfaction. And if they will 
in this, and the aforesaid cases of baptism, separation, and 
the rest, divide from the church, and venture on damnation 
to save themselves the labour of reading that which is writ- 
ten to give them information, they must take what they get 
by it. Who can help it ? 

Hindrance 19. Another hindrance of conversion, is, A 
proud, unteachable frame of spirit : when people are so wise 
in their own eyes, they think they know enough already ; 
and they scorn to be taught. If the wisest minister in En- 
gland should live with such, they would but despise his 
counsel in every thing almost that crosseth their conceits. 
As long as he will humour them, and say as they say, he 
shall be a good man, and well spoken of by all; but if he 
will trouble them, and cross them, and tell them that which 
is against their present opinion, they think themselves wiser 
in this than he, and if they do not bid him look to himself, 
and let them alone, at least they will give him little thanks, 
and shew it by their small regard. Some of them will not 
come near us, nor give us the hearing, when we would teach 
them ; and others, though they hear, do think themselves 
too wise to believe or obey. And thus they are fixed in a 
state of misery. 

Direct. 19. If ever you will be converted, humbly sub- 
mit to the word of God, and the instructions of those whom 
he hath appointed to inform you. What unreasonable pride 



324 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

is it in you that are ignorant, unlearned men, to despise the 
counsel of the most able, godly ministers, and that in points 
wherein the godly through all the world are agreed ? Yea, 
where God himself doth lead them by his word ? Are not 
they likely to know more than you that have studied it all 
their days ? Discourse with them, and try whether they or 
you have more knowledge. Consider what you do when 
you proudly reason against the necessity of conversion and 
a holy life. What, are you wiser than your teachers, and 
thah the ablest teachers in the land ? Yea, than all the mi- 
nisters in the world, and than all the godly people in the 
world ? Silly souls, that scarce know any of the principles 
of religion, are yet so proud as to despise the instruction 
from the wisest whoever. But if you think yourselves 
wiser than all the ministers in the world, will you also think 
yourselves wiser than God ? I tell you, either illuminating 
grace, or the conviction of God's judgment, shall take down 
your lofty hearts ere long, and make you wish you had 
stooped to instruction. The day is coming that will abate 
your pride, and make you talk a little more submissively. 
Hearken therefore in time, lest that befal you that is men- 
tioned, Prov. V. 11 —13. " Lest thou mourn at last when 
thy flesh and body are consumed ; and say, how have I 
hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof? And 
have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine 
ear to them that instructed me V If you are too wise to 
learn, you will prove in the end too foolish to be saved. 

Hindrance 20 The last hindrance of conversion that I 
shall mention, is. Wilful obstinacy. When men have long re- 
sisted grace, they are given over oftentimes to themselves, 
and then they grow wilful : and when they have nothing else 
to say, why they should not be converted and become the 
people of God, they can say, they will not : they will never 
be so holy, nor deny their flesh, nor forsake the world, nor 
set themselves to a heavenly life : they will not believe that 
this is so necessary : nor will they ever yield to such a 
course : come on it what will, they are resolved against it ; 
before they will do it they will venture their souls, and let 
God do with them what he will : and this desperate wilful- 
ness is the devil's last hold. 

Direct. 20. What direction should I give you against 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 325 

this hindrance ? When th©- will is so corrupt and obstinate, 
whatsoever I give it will be rejected. If you were but will- 
ing I should make no doubt but the work might prosper ; 
or if you were but reasonable, and teachable, and persuad- 
able, I should make no doubt, through the blessing of God, 
but the former means might make you yield ; but if men be 
wilful and resolved to perish, what remedy t If men could 
give us any reason against conversion and a holy life, and 
did err through the mere mistake of their understandings, 
I should make no doubt, through the blessing of God, but 
by bare reason they might be rectified. But when their will 
is their reason,' and they are resolved whatsoever comes of 
it, to hold on, and stop their ears against advice, what can 
we say to these men ? All that I can do, is, to commend to 
them the former considerations, and to desire them to think 
of those motives before delivered, which may change their 
wills. But I have but little hope to prevail with them so 
much as soberly to think of it. And because so many of 
our poor people are of this strain, I am forced here to end 
this subject with lamentation. 

I have preached now many sermons to you of conversion,, 
and whether any souls be converted by it, the Lord knows, 
I know not. But the sad observation of the state of 
the world, and the uneffectualness of such endeavours, 
doth justly make me fear the issue. I know that both I and 
this congregation shall shortly appear before our Judge, to 
give a strict account of our lives, and if I have not preach- 
ed these sermons in sincerity, with a true desire after the 
saving of your souls, then how shall I stand before the Lord, 
if the blood of Christ through faith and repentance prevail 
not for remission ? And if any man or woman in this town 
or parish shall there appear in an unconverted state, what 
will they be able to say for themselves ? Or how will they 
escape the threatened damnation ? I am not out of hope 
that I shall meet some souls there, though yet I know not of 
them, that will be able to say, they were converted by these 
sermons ; but I am so much afraid lest I shall meet abun- 
dance of you in an unconverted state, that I could even find 
in my heart to sit down and weep over these sermons now 
I have preached them. Alas ! that you should be con- 
demned by that which was intended to further your salva- 



326 TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 

tion. Have I studied and preached all this to be a witness 
against you ? I know, as true as you sit in these seats, that 
every soul of you shall be for ever in hell, that passeth out 
of the body in an unconverted state. And I know when 
you have heard so much of it, and been so often warned, and 
now are left without excuse, you will have a double con- 
demnation. For now it is your mere wilfulness that must 
keep you unconverted. If you say, you cannot convert 
yourselves, I ask in a word, will you do what you can 't Tell 
me, will you, or will you not? If you will not, what re- 
medy ? If you will, look over the directions I have given 
you, and set upon the faithful practice of them. Particu- 
larly, see that you presently search the Scriptures, and read 
good books, and forsake your evil company, and come not 
near them, but get among those that fear the Lord, and take 
all opportunities public and private, and inquire of your 
teachers and neighbours that can help you, what you shall do 
to be saved ? And sin no more wilfully, but avoid the very 
temptations and appearances of evil, and be much with God 
in secret and open prayer : and dwell in the consideration of 
your own estate, of your own sin and danger, of Christ and 
duty, of grace and glory, and think not any pains too much 
for your salvation. What say you ? Will you do but thus 
much, or will you not? If you will, you shall find no cause 
to repent of it, and God will not be wanting to that soul 
that doth not wilfully forsake him, but is willing to be con- 
formed to the image of his Son ; and to be what God would 
have him be. But, alas ! it is this wilfulness, and obsti- 
. nacy that undoes men : that is, that which shuts up the 
heart of God and man from compassionating the wicked in 
their everlasting misery. They did it wilfully ; they would 
take no_ warning ; they would hear no counsel ; no saying 
would serve them ; they chose their own destruction ; it was 
their own doing ; they were told of it a hundred times ; they 
were entreated to consider, but they would not be entreated. 
What could have been said more to them ? What could we 
do more for them? O that any one of you could tell me 
what I should say more, or what I should do now to save the 
souls of ignorant, fleshly, worldly sinners from damnation ! 
And to convert the unconverted, and turn the hearts of men 
to God ! O that you could but tell me how I might accom- 



TREATISE OF CONVERSION. 327 

plish it ! Would I not do it ? The Lord knows, if any 
lawful and honest means would accomplish it I would do it, 
if I know my own heart. But if Christ could not be heard, 
why should I wonder if many will make light of what is 
said by such an one as I. If they will not hear the Lord 
that made them speaking in his word, why should I wonder 
if they will not hear him speaking by such a worm as I ? 
Sinners, what shall I say more to you ? I have told you of 
an everlasting glory which you might have; if you will set 
light by it, and prefer your worldly things before it, who can 
help it? I have told you of eternal misery that you are in 
danger of; if you will venture on it, and not believe it till 
you feel it, and are past remedy, who can help it ? I have 
proved to you from the word of God, that without conver- 
sion there is no salvation : if you dare go on in an uncon- 
verted state, and keep your sin, and follow your fleshly de- 
sires and delights, and your worldly vanities and wicked 
company, if you will not be drawn to the ways of God, what 
remedy ? I have delivered my message, and I hope God will 
not require your blood at my hands. You shall all be forced 
to bear me witness that I told you there was no salvation 
without conversion ; and that I manifested to you the rea- 
sonableness of the offers of God : and if you be not convert- 
ed, it is because you would not : and what a torment it will 
be everlastingly to your consciences to think that you wil- 
fully damned yourselves, and to think that you wilfully re- 
fused your salvation ; and that you might have been in hea- 
ven as well as others, if you had not wilfully and obstinately 
rejected it. I say, what tormenting thoughts these will 
prove to you everlastingly, you cannot possibly now con- 
ceive, but then you shall know and feel it, if true conversion 
do not prevent it. Which that it may do, as it hath been 
the end of all these sermons, so shall it now, and as long as 
I have life and strength, be the matter of my prayers for you. 



THE END OF THE JREATISE OF CONVERSION. 



A CALL 



UNCONVERTED 



TURN AND LIVE, 



AND ACCEPT OF MERCY WHILE MERCY MAY BE HAD, AS EVER 
THEY WOULD FIND MERCY IN THE DAY OF THEIR EXTREMIIT : 



FROM THE LIVING GOD. 

TO WHICH ARE ADDED, 

FORMS OF PRAYER FOR MORNING AND EVENING FOR A FAMILY, 
FOR A PENITENT SINNER, AND FOR THE LORD'S DAY. 



PREFACE 



IN that short acquaintance I had with that reverend learned 
servant of Christ, Bishop Usher, he was oft, from first to 
last, importuning me to write a Directory for the several 
ranks of professed Christians, which might distinctly give 
each one their portion; beginning with the unconverted, 
and then proceeding to the babes in Christ, and then to the 
strong; and mixing some special helps against the several 
sins that they are addicted to. By the suddenness of his 
motion at our first congress, I perceived it was in his mind 
before ; and I told him, both that it was abundantly done 
by many already ; and that his unacquaintedness with 
my weakness, might make him think me fitter for it than I 
was. But this did not satisfy him, but still he made it his 
request. I confess I was not moved by his reasons, nor did 
I apprehend any great need of doing more than is done in 
that way : nor that I was likely to do more. And, there- 
fore, I parted from him without the least purpose to answer 
his desire. But since his death, his words often came into 
my mind ; and the great reverence I bore to him, did the 
more incline me to think with some complacency of his mo- 
tion. And having of ^ate intended to write a " Family Di- 
rectory,*' I began to apprehend how congruously the fore- 
mentioned work should lead the way ; and the several con- 
ditions of men's souls be spoken of, before we come to the 
several relations. Hereupon I resolved, by God's assistance, 
to proceed in the order following. First, to speak to the 
impenitent, unconverted sinners, who are not yet so much 
as purposing to turn ; or at least are not setting about the 
work. And with these, I thought, a wakening persuasive 
was a more necessary means than mere directions ; for di- 
rections suppose men willing to obey them. But the per- 



CCCXXXll PREFACE. 

sons that we have first to deal with, are wilful and asleep in 
sin, and as men that are past feeling, having given them- 
selves over to sin with greediness. My next work must be 
for those that have some purposes to turn, and are about 
the work, to direct them for a thorough and a true conver- 
sion, that they miscarry not in the birth. The third part 
must be directions for the younger and weaker sort of 
Christians, that they may be established, built up, and 
persevere. The fourth part, directions for lapsed and back- 
sliding Christians, for their safe recovery. Besides these, 
there is intended some short persuasions and directions 
against some special errors of the times, and against some 
common, killing sins. As for directions to doubting, trou- 
bled consciences, that is done already. And the strong I 
shall not write directions for, because they are so much 
taught of God already. And then the last part is intended 
more especially for families, as such, directing the several 
relations in their duties. Some of these are already written. 
Whether I shall have life and leisure for the rest, God only 
knoweth ; and therefore I shall publish the several parts by 
themselves, as I write them. And the rather because they 
are intended for men of different states, and because I would 
not deter them by the bulk or price, from reading what is 
written for their benefit. The use that this part is publish- 
ed for, is, 1. For masters and parents to read often in their 
families, if they have servants or children that are yet un- 
converted. 2. For all such unconverted persons to read and 
consider of themselves. 3. For the richer sort, that have 
any pity on such miserable souls, to give to the unsanctified 
that need them, (if they have not fitter at hand to use and 
give). The Lord awake us to work while it is day, for the 
saving of our own and others* souls, in subserviency to the 
blessed God, the Maker, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier 
of souls. 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

December 10, 1657. 



PREFACE. CCCXXXH 



To all Unsanctified Persons that shall read this Book; especially 
my Hearers in the Parish of Kidderminster. 



Men and Brethren, 

The eternal God that made you for life everlasting, and 
hath redeemed you by his only Son, when you had lost it, 
and yourselves ; being mindful of you in your sin and mi- 
sery, hath indited the Gospel, and sealed it by his Spirit, 
and commanded his ministers to preach it to the world, that 
pardon being freely offered you, and heaven being set before 
you, he might call you off from your fleshly pleasures, and 
from following after this deceitful world, and acquaint you 
with the life you were created and redeemed for, before you 
are dead and past remedy. He sendeth you not prophets or 
apostles, that receive their message by immediate revelation, 
but yet he calleth you by his ordinary ministers, who are 
commissioned by him to preach the same Gospel, which 
Christ and his apostles first delivered. The Lord standeth 
over you, and seeth how you forget him and your latter 
end, and how light you make of everlasting things, as men 
that understand not what they have to do or suffer. He 
seeth how bold you are in sin, and how fearless of his threat- 
enings, and how careless of your souls, and how the works of 
infidels are in your lives, while the belief of Christians is in 
your mouths. He seeth the dreadful day at hand, when 
your sorrows will begin, and you must lament all this with 
fruitless cries in torment and desperation ; and then the re- 
membrance of your folly will tear your hearts, if true con- 
version now prevent it not. In compassion of your sinful, 
miserable souls, the Lord that better knows your case 
than you can know it, hath made it our duty to speak to 
you in his name*, and to tell you plainly of your sin and 

- 2 Cor. V. 19. 



CCCXXXIV PREFACE. 

misery, and what will be your end, and how sad a change 
yoQ will shortly see, if yet you go on a little longer. 
Having bought you at so dear a rate as the blood of his Son 
Jesus Christ, and made you so free and general a promise of 
pardon, and grace, and everlasting glory, he commandeth us 
to tender all this to you, as the gift of God, and to entreat 
you to consider of the necessity and worth of what he offer- 
eth. He seeth and pitieth you, while you are drowned in 
worldly cares and pleasures, and eagerly following childish 
toys, and wasting that short and precious time for a thing of 
naught, in which you should make ready for an everlasting 
life, and therefore he hath commanded us to call after you, 
and to tell you how you lose your labour, and are about to 
lose your souls, and to tell you what greater and better things 
you might certainly have, if you would hearken to his call ^. 
We believe and obey the voice of God ; and come to you daily 
on his message, who hath charged us to preach and be in- 
stant with you in season, and out of season, and to lift up 
our voice like a trumpet, and shew you your transgressions 
and your sins *=. But woe and alas ! to the grief of our souls 
and your own undoing, you stop your ears, you stiffen your 
necks, you harden your hearts, and break our hearts, and 
send us back to God with groans, to tell him that we have 
done his message, but can do no good, nor scarcely get a 
sober hearing. O that our eyes were as a fountain of tears, 
that we might lament our ignorant, careless people that have 
Christ before them, and pardon, and life, and heaven before 
tliem, and have not hearts to know and value them ! That 
might have Christ, and grace, and glory, as well as others, 
if it were not for their wilful negligence and contempt. O 
that the Lord would fill our hearts with more compassion to 
these miserable souls, that we might cast ourselves even at 
their feet, and follow them to their houses, and speak to 
them with our bitter tears. For long have we preached to 
many of them, as in vain : we study plainness to make them 
understand, and many of them will not understand us : we 
study piercing words to make them feel, but they will not 
feel. If the greatest matters would work with them, we 
should awake them. If the sweetest things would work, we 
should entice them, and win their hearts. If the most 

»» Isa. Iv. 1—3. c isa. jvjji. i, 2. 2 Tim. iv. 1, 2. 



PREFACE. CCCXXXV 

dreadful things would work, we should at least affright them 
from their wickedness. If truth and sincerity would take 
with them, we should soon convince them. If the God that 
made them, and the Christ that bought them might be heard, 
the case would soon be altered with them. If Scripture 
might be heard, we should soon prevail. If reason, even the 
best and strongest reason might be heard, we should not 
doubt but we should speedily convince them. If experience 
might be heai'd, and even their own experience, and the ex- 
perience of all the world, the matter might be mended. Yea, 
if the conscience within them might be heard, the case would 
be better with them than it is. But if nothing can be heard, 
what then shall we do for them ? If the dreadful God of 
heaven be slighted, who then shall be regarded ? If the in- 
estimable love and blood of a Redeemer be made light of, 
what then shall be valued ? If heaven have no desirable 
glory with them, and everlasting joys be worth nothing ; if 
they can jest at hell, and dance about a bottomless- pit, and 
play with the consuming fire, and that when God and man 
do warn them of it : what shall we do for such souls as these ? 
Once more in the name of the God of heaven, I shall do 
the message to you which he hath commanded us, and leave 
it in these standing lines to convert you or condemn you ; 
to change you, or rise up in judgment against you, and to be 
a witness to your faces, that once you had a serious call to 
turn. Hear, all you that are the drudges of the world, and the 
servants of flesh and satan ; that spend your days in look- 
ing after prosperity on earth, and drown your consciences 
in drinking, and gluttony, and idleness, and foolish sports, 
and know you sia, and yet will sin, as if you set God at de- 
fiance, and bid him do his worst, and spare not. Hearken 
all you that mind not God, and have no heart to holy things, 
and feel no savour in the word or worship of the Lord, or in 
the thoughts or mention of eternal life ; that are careless of 
your immortal souls, and never bestowed one hour in in- 
quiring what case they are in, whether sanctified or unsanc- 
tified, and whether you are ready to appear before the Lord ! 
Hearken all you that by sinning in the light, have sinned 
yourselves into atheism and infidelity, and do not believe 
the word of God. '* He that hath an ear to hear, let liim 
hear" the gracious and yet dreadful call of God ! His eye 



CCCXXXVI PREFACE. 

is all this while upon you, your sins are registered, and you 
shall surely hear of them again ; God keepeth the book 
now ; and he will write it upon your consciences with his 
terrors ; and then you also shall keep it yourselves. O 
sinners ! that you knew but what you are doing ! And who 
you are all this while offending ! The sun itself is darkness 
before the glory of that Majesty which you daily abuse and 
carelessly provoke. The sinning angels were not able to 
stand before him, but were cast down to be tormented with 
devils. And dare such silly worms as you so carelessly of- 
fend, and set yourselves against your Maker ! O that you 
did but a little know what a case that wretched soul is in, 
that hath engaged the living God against him ! The word 
of his mouth that made thee can unmake thee ; a frown of 
his face will cut thee off, and cast thee out into utter dark- 
ness : how eager are the devils to be doing with thee that 
have tempted thee, and do but wait for the word from God 
to take and use thee as their own ! And then in a moment 
thou wilt be in hell. If God be against thee, all things are 
against thee. This world is but thy prison for all that thou 
so lovest it : thou art but reserved in it to the day of wrath**. 
The Judge is coming, thy soul is even going : yea, a little 
while and thy friends shall say of thee, * He is dead ;' and 
thou shalt see the things that thou dost now despise, and 
feel what now thou wilt not believe. Death will bring such 
an argument as thou canst not answer : an argument that 
shall effectually confute thy cavils against the word and ways 
of God, and all thy self-conceited dotages : and then how 
soon will thy mind be changed ! Then be an unbeliever if 
thou canst ! Stand then to all thy former words which 
thou wast wont to utter against the Scriptures, or against a 
holy and heavenly life ! Make good that cause then before 
the Lord, which thou wast wont to plead against thy 
teachers, and against the people that feared God. Then 
stand to thy old opinions, and contemptuous thoughts of the 
diligence of the saints. Make ready now thy strongest rea- 
sons, and stand up then before the Judge, and plead like a 
man, for thy fleshly, thy worldly, and ungodly life ; but 
know that thou must have one to plead with thee, that will 
not be outfaced by thee, nor so easily put off as we thy fel- 

'' Job xxi. 30. 



PREFACE. CCCXXXVII 

low creatures. O poor deceived, wretched soul ! there is 
nothing but a slender veil of flesh betwixt thee and that 
amazing sight, which will quickly silence thee and turn thy 
tune, and make thee of another mind ! As soon as death 
has drawn this curtain, thou shalt see that which will quickly 
leave thee speechless. And how quickly will that day and 
hour come ! When thou hast had but a few more merry 
hours, and but a few more pleasant draughts and morsels, 
and a little more of the honours and riches of the world, thy 
portion will be spent, and thy pleasures ended, and all is 
then gone that thou settest thy heart upon, of all that thou 
soldest thy Saviour and salvation for, there is nothing left 
but the heavy reckoning. As a thief that sits merrily spend- 
ing the money in an alehouse which he hath stolen, when 
men are riding in post haste to apprehend him : so it is with 
you|; while you are drowned in cares or fleshly pleasures, 
and making merry with your own shame, death is coming 
in post haste to seize upon you and carry your souls to such 
a place and state, as now you little know or think of. Sup- 
pose when you are bold and busy in your sin, that a mes- 
senger were but coming post from London to apprehend you, 
and take away your life, though you saw him not : yet if you 
knew of his coming it would mar your mirth, and you would 
be thinking of the haste he makes, and hearkening when he 
knocketh at your door. O that ye could but see what haste 
death makes, though yet it hath not overtaken you! No 
post so swift ! No messenger more sure ! As sure as the 
sun will be with you in the morning, though it hath many 
thousand, and hundred thousand miles to go in the night: 
so sure will death be quickly with you, and then where is 
your sport and pleasure ? Then will you jest and brave it 
out? Then will you jeer at them that warned you? Then 
is it better to be a believing saint, or a sensual worldling ? 
And then whose shall all those things be that you have ga- 
thered*? Do you not observe that days and weeks are 
quickly gone, and nights and mornings come apace, and 
speedily succeed each other ? You sleep, but " your dam- 
nation slumbereth not;" you linger, ** but your judgment 
this long time lingereth not ^ ;" to which you are reserved 
for punishment «. '* O that you were wise to understand this, 

- Luke xii. 19-21. ' t Pet. ii. 3—5. « 3 Pet. 8, 9. 

VOL. VII. Z 



CCCXXXVlll PREFACE. 

and that you did consider your latter end ''." " He that 
hath an ear to hear, let him hear" the call of God in this day 
of his salvation. 

O careless sinners, that you did but know the love that 
you unthankfully neglect, and the preciousness of the blood 
of Christ which you despise ! O that you did but know the 
riches of the Gospel ! O that you did but know a little the 
certainty, and the glory, and blessedness of that everlast- 
ing life, which now you will not set your hearts upon, nor 
be persuaded first and diligently to seek \ Did you but 
know the endless hfe with God which you now neglect, how 
quickly would you cast away your sin ! How quickly would 
you change your mind and life, your course and company, 
and turn the streams of your affections, and lay out your 
care another way ! How resolutely would you scorn to yield 
to such temptations as now deceive you, and carry[you away ! 
How zealously would you bestir yourselves for that most 
blessed life 1 How earnest would you be with God in prayer! 
How diligent in hearing, learning, and inquiring ! How 
serious in meditating on the laws of God ^ ! How fearful of 
sinning in thought, word, or deed ! And how careful to 
please God and grow in holiness ! O what a changed peo- 
ple would you be ! And why should not the certain word 
of God be believed, and prevail with you, which openeth to 
you these glorious and eternal things ? Yea, let me tell you, 
that even here upon earth, you little know the difference be- 
tween the life you refuse and the life you choose. The 
sanctified are conversing with God, when you scarce dare 
think of him, and when you are conversing but with earth 
and flesh, their conversation is in heaven, when you are utter 
strangers to it, and your belly is your god, and you are mind- 
ing earthly things ^ They are seeking after the face of God 
when you seek for nothing higher than this world. They 
are busily laying out for an endless life, where they shall be 
equal with the angels "", when you are taken up with a sha- 
dow, and a transitory thing of naught. How low and base 
is your earthly, fleshly, sinful life, in comparison of the noble, 
spiritual life of true believers? Many a time have I looked 
on such men with grief and pity to see them trudge about 

'• Dm.t. xxxii. 20. i Hcb. xi.6. xii. 28. Matt. vi. 13. 

•* I'sal. i. 2. 1 Phil. iii. 18—20. «• Luke xx. 36. 



PREFACE. CCCXXXIX 

the world, and spend their lives, care, and labour for nothing 
but a little food and raiment, or a little fading pelf, or fleshly 
pleasures, or empty honours, as if they had no higher thing 
to mind. What difference is there between the lives of these 
men, and of the beasts that perish, that spend their time in 
working, and eating, and living, but that they may live ? 
They taste not of the inward heavenly pleasures which be- 
lievers taste and live upon. I had rather have a little of their 
comfort, which the forethoughts of their heavenly inheri- 
tance doth afford them, though I had all their scorn, and 
sufferings with them, than to have all your pleasures and 
treacherous prosperities ; I would not have one of your se- 
cret gripes and pangs of conscience, dark and dreadful 
thoughts of death and the life to come, for all that ever the 
world hath done for you or all that you should reasonably 
hope that it should do. If I were in your unconverted, car- 
nal state, and knew but what I know, believed but what I 
now believe, methinks my life would be a foretaste of hell. 
How oft should I be thinking of the terrors of the Lord, 
and of the dismal day that is hasting on ! Sure death and 
hell would be still before me. I should think of them by 
day, and dream of them by night ; I should lie down in fear^ 
and rise in fear, and live in fear, lest death should come be- 
fore I were converted : I should have small felicity in any 
thing that I possessed, and little pleasure in any company, 
and little joy in any thing in the world, as long as I knew 
myself to be under the curse and wrath of God : I should 
still be afraid of hearing that voice, " Thou fool, this night 
shall thy soul be required of thee "." And that fearful sen- 
tence would be written upon my conscience ; " There is no 
peace, saith my God, to the wicked®." O poor sinner! it 
is a more joyful life than this that you might live, if you 
were but willing, but truly willing to hearken to Christ, and 
to come home to God. You might then draw near to God 
with boldness, and call him your Father, and comfortably 
trust him with yonr souls and bodies. If you look upon pro- 
mises, you may say, * They are all mine ;* if upon the curse, 
you may say, * From this I am delivered.* When you read 
the law, you may see what you are saved from : when you 
fead the Gospel, you may see him that redeemed you, and 

" Luke xii. 20. «» Taa. xlviii. ««. Ivii. 21. 



CCCXl PREFACE. 

see the course of his love, and holy life, and sufferings, and 
trace him in his temptations, tears, and blood, in the work 
of your salvation. You may see death conquered, and hea- 
ven opened, and your resurrection and glorification provided 
for, in the resurrection and glorification of your Lord. If 
you look on the saints, you may say, * They are my brethren 
and companions.' If on the unsanctified, you may rejoice 
to think that you are saved from that state. If you look 
upon the heavens, the sun, and moon, and stars innumera- 
ble, you may think and say, * My Father's face is infinitely 
more glorious ; it is higher matters that he hath prepared 
for his saints. Yonder is but the outward court of heaven. 
The blessedness that he hath promised me, is so much 
higher, that flesh and blood cannot behold it.' If you think 
of the grave you may remember that the glorified spirit, a 
living Head, and a loving Father, have all so near relation 
to your dust, that it cannot be forgotten or neglected ; but 
will more certainly revive than the plants and flowers in the 
spring ; because the soul is still alive, that is the root of the 
body, and Christ is alive, that is the root of both. Even 
death, which is the king of fears, may be remembered and 
entertained with joy, as being the day of your deliverance 
from the remnants of sin and sorrow, and the day which you 
believed, and hoped, and waited for, when you shall see the 
blessed things which you have heard of, and shall find by 
present joyful experience, what it was to choose the better 
part, and be a sincere believing saint. What say you sirs ? 
is not this a more delightful life, to be assured of salvation, 
and ready to die, than to live as the ungodly, that have their 
hearts ** overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and 
the cares of this life, and so that day comes upon them un- 
awares P." Might you not live a comfortable life, if once 
you were made the heirs of heaven, and sure to be saved 
when you leave the world ? O look about you then, and 
think what you do, and cast not away such hopes as these 
for v€ry nothing. The flesh and world can give you no 
such hopes or comforts. 

And besides all the misery that you bring upon your- 
selves, you are the troublers of others as long as you are un- 
converted. You trouble magistrates to rule you by their 

V Luke xxi. 34. 36. 



PREFACE. CCCxIi 

laws. You trouble ministers, by resisting the light and 
guidance which they offer you : your sin and misery is the 
greatest grief and trouble to them in the world. You trou- 
ble the commonwealth, and draw the judgments of God upon 
us: it is you that most disturb the holy peace and order of 
the churches, and hinder our union and reformation, and are 
the shame and trouble of the churches where you intrude, 
and of all the places where you are. Ah, Lord ! how heavy 
and sad a case is this, that even in England, where the Gos- 
pel doth abound above any other nation in the world ; where 
teaching is so plain and common, and all the helps we can 
desire are at hand, when the sword hath been hewing us, 
and judgment hath run as a fire through the land : when 'de- 
liverances have relieved us, and so many admirable mercies 
have engaged us to God, and to the Gospel, and to an holy 
life ; that yet after all this our cities, and towns, and coun- 
tries, shall abound with multitudes of unsanctified men, and 
swarm with so much sensuality, as every where to our grief 
we see. One would have thought, that after all this light, 
and all this experience, and all these judgments and mer- 
cies of God, the people of this nation should have joined to- 
gether, as one man, to turn to the Lord ; and should have 
come to their godly teachers, and lamented all their former 
sins, and desired them to join with them in public humilia- 
tion to confess them openly, and beg pardon of them from 
the Lord, and should have craved their instruction for the 
time to come, and be glad to be ruled by the spirit within, 
and the ministers of Christ without, according to the word 
of God. One would think, that after such reason and 
Scripture evidence as they hear ; and after all these means 
and mercies, there should not be an ungodly person left 
among us, nor a worldling, nor a drunkard, or abater of re- 
formation, or an enemy to holiness, be found in all our 
towns or countries. If we be not all agreed about some ce- 
remonies or forms of government, one would think that, 
before this, we should have been all agreed to live a holy 
and heavenly life, in obedience to God, his word and mi- 
nisters, and in love and peace with one another. But, alas ! 
how, far are our people from this course ! Most of them, in 
most places, do set their hearts on earthly things, and seek 
not first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof. 



CCCXlii PREFACE. 

but look at holiness as a needless thing ; their families are 
prayerless, or else a few heartless, lifeless words must serve 
instead of hearty, fervent, daily prayer; their children are 
not taught the knowledge of Christ, and the covenant of 
grace, nor brought up in the nurture of the Lord, though 
they falsely promised this in their baptism. They instruct 
not their servants in the matters of salvation ; but so their 
work be done they care not. There are more oaths, and 
curses, and ribald and railing speeches in their families, than 
gracious words that tend to edification. How few are the 
families that fear the Lord, and inquire after his word and 
ministers, how they should live, and what they should do ; 
and are willing to be taught and ruled, and that heartily 
look after everlasting life ! And those few that God hath 
made so happy, are commonly the bye word of their neigh- 
bours ; when we see some live in drunkenness, and some in 
pride and worldliness, and most of them have little care of 
their salvation, though the cause be gross, and past all con- 
troversy, yet will they hardly be convinced of their misery, 
and more hardly recovered and reformed ; but when we have 
done all that we are able, to save them from their sins, we 
leave them, most of them, as we find them. And if, ac- 
cording to the law of God, we cast them out of the com- 
munion of the church, when they have obstinately rejected 
all our admonitions, they rage at us as if we were their 
enemies, and their hearts are filled with malice against us, 
and they will sooner set themselves against the Lord, and 
his laws, and church, and ministers, than against their deadly 
sins. This is the doleful case of England ; we have magis- 
trates that countenance the ways of godliness, and a happy 
opportunity for unity and reformation is before us ; and 
faithful ministers long to see the right ordering of the 
church, and of the ordinances of God ; but the power of sin 
in our people doth frustrate almost all. No where almost 
can a faithful minister set up the unquestionable discipline 
of Christ, or put back the most scandalous, impenitent sin- 
ners from the communion of the church, and participation 
of the sacrament, but the most of the people rail at them, 
and revile them : as if these ignorant, careless souls were 
wiser than their teachers, or than God himself; and fitter to 
rule the church than they. And thus in the day of our vi- 



PREFACE. cccxiiii 

sitation, when God calls upon us to reform his church, 
though magistrates seem willing, and faithful ministers are 
willing, yet are the multitude of the people still unwilling ; 
and sin hath so blinded them, and hardened their hearts, 
that even in these days of light and grace, they were the ob- 
stinate enemies of light and grace, and will not be brought 
by the calls of God, to see their folly, and know what is 
for their good. O that the people of England knew, " at 
least in this their day, the things that belong unto their 
peace, before they are hid from their eyes ** !" O foolish and 
miserable souls ! who hath bewitched "^your minds into such 
madness, and your hearts into such deadness, that you 
should be such mortal enemies to yourselves, and go on so 
obstinately towards damnation, that neither the word of God, 
nor the persuasions of men can change your minds, or hold 
your hands, or stop you till you are past remedy! Well, 
sinners ! this life will not last always ; this patience will not 
wait upon you still. Do not think that you shall abuse 
your Maker and Redeemer, and serve his enemies, and de- 
base your souls, and trouble the world, and wrong the 
church, and reproach the godly, and grieve your teachers, 
and hinder reformation, and all this upon free cost. You 
know not yet what this must cost you, but you must shortly 
know, when the righteous God shall take you in hand, who 
will handle you in another manner than the sharpest ma- 
gistrates, or the plainest dealing pastors did, unless you pre- 
vent the everlasting torments by a sound conversion, and a 
speedy obeying the call of God. " He that hath an ear to 
hear, let him hear," while mercy hath a voice to call. 

One desperate objection (which I have after touched, but 
with too much brevity,) 1 find sticks close to the hearts of 
many ungodly men. They think that God doth not so 
much care what men think, or say, or do, as we persuade 
them ; and therefore they care so little themselves. For 
the convincing of such atheistical men as these, I shall pro- 
pound the following questions. 

1. Dost thou think God careth whether thou be a man 

or not? If not, who made thee, and preserved thee ? If he 

do, then sure he careth whether thou behave thyself as a 

man. No man is so foolish as to make any instrument, 

<i Lakr lii. 4f. ' Oal. Hi. 1. 



CCCXliv PREFACE. 

build a house, or a ship, and not care, when he hath done, 
whether it be good for the use he made it. Do not, for 
shame then, impute such folly to the God of wisdom, as if he 
made so noble a creature as man, and endowed him with 
such noble faculties, and all for nothing, and careth not 
what becometh of him when he hath done. Why should 
God give thee a mind that can know him, and a heart that 
can love him, when he careth not whether thou know him, 
and love him, or not ? Do you not see, that in the course 
of nature, every thing is fitted to its use ? The beasts know 
not God, nor are capable of loving him, because they were 
made for no such use ; but thy capacity shews that thou 
wast made for God, and for a life to come. 

2. Dost thou think that God is every where present, and 
infinite, and all-sufficient ? If not, thou dost not believe 
that he is God, and it is unreasonable to imagine, that God 
hath made a world that is greater, and more extensive or 
comprehensive than himself ! For none can communicate 
more than he hath. But if thou art forced to confess that 
God is every where, and as sufficient for every single man, 
as if he had never another creature to regard, thou must 
needs confess then that he is not careless of the hearts and 
ways of the sons of men : for they are things that are still 
before his eyes. It is base and blasphemous thoughts of 
God, as if he were limited, absent, or insufficient, that makes 
men think him so regardless of their hearts and ways. 

3. Dost thou think that God careth what becomes of 
thy body? Whether thou be sick or well ? Whether thou 
live or die ? If not, then how earnest thou by thy life, and 
health, and mercies ? If they came from any other foun- 
tain, tell us from whence : is it not to God that thou pray- 
est for thy life and health ? Darest thou say to him, ' I will 
not depend upon thee ? I will not be beholden to thee for 
the life and mercies of another day V If so, then thou art a 
blind atheist. But if thou thinkest he cares for thy body, 
canst thou think he cares not more for thy soul ? If he 
must regard to furnish thee with mercies, he will sure have 
a regard whether thou love and live to him that gave them. 

4. Dost thou believe that God is the governor of the 
world, or not ? If not, then there can be no rightful go- 
vernment. For as no justice of peace can have a power. 



PREFACE. CCCxlv 

but from the sovereign ; so no sovereign can have power, 
but from God ; nor be a lawful governor, but under him : 
and then all the world would be turned into confusion. But 
if thou must needs confess that God is the Governor of the 
world, what an unwise, unrighteous governor wouldst thou 
make him, if thou thinkest that he regardeth not the hearts 
and ways of those whom he doth govern ! This still is but 
to deny him to be God. 

5. If God do not care so much what is in our hearts, or 
what we do, why then should he make a law for our hearts, 
and words, and ways? Would he command us that which 
he doth not care for? Would he so strictly forbid sin, if he 
were indifferent whether we sin or not? Would he promise 
eternal life to the holy and obedient, if he cared not whether 
we be holy and obedient, or no? Would he threaten hell 
to all that are ungodly, if he cared not whether we are godly 
or not ? Darest thou say, that the Almighty, Holy God is 
fain to rule the world by a lie, and to deceive men into 
obedience ? Yea, the very law of nature itself, doth contain 
not only precepts of our duty, but the hopes and fears of 
the life to come, without which the world could not be go- 
verned : and certainly they are no deceits, by which an in- 
finite wisdom, and power, and goodness, doth govern the 
world. 

6. If God did not much regard our hearts and lives, why 
doth he make all the world to be our servants ? Doth he 
give us the sun, and moon, and stars, the earth, and all crea- 
tures to attend us, and serve us with their lives and virtues, 
and yet doth he not care for our hearts or service ? This is 
as foolish as to say, that he hath made all the world in vain, 
and careth not for it, now he hath made it. 

7. If he cared not for the frame of our hearts and lives, 
he would not have sent his Son to redeem us, and to cleanse 
us from iniquity, and sanctify us a peculiar people to him- 
self •• Surely the price that was paid for sinners, and the 
wonderful design of God in our redemption, doth shew that 
he makes not light of sin, and that he is wonderfully in love 
with holiness. 

8. If God did not regard our hearts and lives, he would 
not have made it the office of his ministers, to call us daily 
to repentance and a holy life ; nor commanded them to 

• Tit. ii. 14. 



CCCxlvi PREFACE. 

make such a stir with sinners to win them unto God ; he 
would not have appointed all his ordinances, public and 
private, also to this end. Doth God command all this ado 
for a thing he regards not ? 

9. Nor would he punish the world with hell hereafter, or 
so many judgments here, as thousands feel, if he cared not 
what they think or do. Methinks, men that are so often 
groaning under his rod, should feel that he looks after their 
hearts and ways. 

10. And how can the Holy Ghost be our Sanctifier, if 
God be so indifferent, whether we be clean or unclean ? Dare 
you think that the Holy Ghost doth take upon him a need- 
less work ? 

11. Methinks you might perceive, even in the malice of 
the tempter, that God is holy, and hateth iniquity ; and his 
word is true, that telleth us of the eternal punishment of sin. 
The Scripture tells us of the angels* fall, and that many of 
them are become devils by their sin, and are malicious ene- 
mies of man*s salvation. And do you not easily perceive it 
to be true ? How came they else to be such importunate 
tempters of men, which we feel, alas ! by too much expe- 
rience ? Or if this evidence be not palpable enough to con- 
vince the infidel ; how come they to make so many bargains 
with conjurers and witches, to draw them from God and 
salvation, as they have done l How come they to appear 
in terrible shapes to so many as they have done, and still 
upon designs that declare their own dejected, base condi- 
tion, and their enmity to God and man, and their eager de- 
sire to engage men in a way of sin ? If any infidel will not 
believe that really there have been witches and apparitions, 
and consequently that there are devils, who are miserable, 
malicious spirits, who by sin are cast out of the favour of 
God, and would draw men into their miserable case ; let 
them come and reason the case with me, and I shall quickly 
tell them of so many sure and undeniable instances, and give 
them so much proof of the truth of it, as shall leave them no- 
thing to say against it, unless they will still say, * We will 
not believe.' Yea, so much, as that I will not be beholden 
to the vilest atheist or infidel to believe it, if he will not 
quite renounce his reason, but give it leave to see the light. 

12. Lastly, if yet you think that God (the Sovereign 
Ruler of the world, that is every \yhere present, and pre- 



PREFACE. CCCxlvii 

serveth all) doth care so little what men are, or what they do, 
whether they are holy or unholy, obedient or disobedient to 
his laws ; then methinks that you yourselves, and all the rest 
of your fellow-creatures, should little care. 

Two questions therefore I must propound to you : 
1. Do not you care what men say of you, or do to you? 
Are you contented that men slander you, and abuse you, 
or set your houses or towns on fire, or destroy your cattle, 
or wives or children, and imprison, wound or kill your^ 
selves ? If you will make a great matter what men say or 
do against you, can you be so mad, (for it is no better) as 
to think that the omnipotent, holy God, should little regard 
what is said or done against himself, and against his ser- 
vants, and that by such silly worms as men, that are his 
workmanship? Did not selfishness make you blind and 
partial, you would know that one sin against God, deserves 
more punishment than ten thousand thousand times as much 
against such silly things as you. Do you make no matter 
of difference between a bad servant and a good ? an obe- 
dient and disobedient child ? a son that will lay down his 
life for you, and a son that longs for your death, that he 
may have your land ? Between a faithful friend and a dead- 
ly enemy ? If you do not, you are not men, but something 
else in human shape. If you do, then you are somewhat 
worse than men, if yet you would have the blessed God, to 
make no great difference between those that love him above 
all the world, and those that regard him not ; between the 
holy and unholy soul. 

And 2. I would ask you whether you would have the 
rulers of the world to take care what men say or do, or 
would you not? If not, then you would have all the world 
turned loose, and you would have every man that is poorer 
than you, have leave to rob you : and every man that hateth 
you, have leave to beat, or kill you ; and every man that 
liketh your house, or lands, or goods, or cattle, to have 
leave to take them from you ; and every man defile your 
wives or daughters, that hath a mind to it? And so we 
should see whither it is that infidelity leads men. But if 
you like not this, then you are most unreasonable, if you 
would have magistrates to be regardful of men's actions, and 
not God. If magistratCB must hang men for wronging you. 



CCCxlviii PREFACE. 

and the eternal Majesty must not punish them for wronging 
him, and breaking his laws, which is infinitely a greater 
matter. As if you would have a constable punish men, and 
the king or judge, to have no regard of it. For kings are 
under God, as constables are under kings, and a thousand 
fold lower. 

The truth is, wicked men are fallen so far from God to 
themselves, that they are as God*s to themselves in their 
own esteem, and besides themselves they know no God ; 
and therefore any wrong that is done against them, or any 
good that is done for them, they would have regarded : but 
the wrong and disobedience that is against God, they would 
have nothing made of it. And they have such narrow, blas- 
phemous thoughts of God, as if he were a finite creature like 
themselves, that can be but in one place at once, that makes 
them so blaspheme his providence, and think he minds no 
good or evil, and will not regard the godly, or punish the 
ungodly, but were like the idols of the heathen, that have 
eyes and see not, and ears that hear not, and hands without 
an executive power. But when the memorial book of God 
is opened, which is written for them that fear the Lord, and 
think upon his name ; and when the Lord shall say of them, 
" These are mine," as he is making up his jewels, and spareth 
them, as a man spareth his son that serveth him, then shall 
these infidels return to their wits, and the righteous shall 
return from their fears and sufferings, and shall discern be- 
tween the righteous and the wicked, between those that 
serve God, and those that serve him not *. 

Another objection I find most common in the mouths of 
the ungodly, especially of late years ; they say, * We can do 
nothing without God ; we cannot have grace, if God will 
not give it us ; and if he will, we shall quickly turn ; if he 
have not predestinated us, and will not turn us, how can we 
turn ourselves or be saved? It is not in him that wills, or 
in him that runs.' And thus they think they are excused. 

I have answered this formerly, and in this book ; but let 
me now say thus much. L Though you cannot cure your- 
selves, you can hurt and poison yourselves ; it is God that 
must sanctify your hearts ; but who corrupted them ? Will 
you wilfully take poison, because you cannot cure your- 

» Mai. Hi. 16—18. 



PREFACE. CCCxlix 

selves? Methinks you should the more forbear it: you 
should the more take heed of sinning, if you cannot mend 
what sin doth mar. 2. Though you cannot be converted 
without the special grace of God, yet you must know, that 
God giveth his grace in the use of his holy means which he 
hath appointed to that end ; and common grace may enable 
you to forbear your gross sinning, as to the outward act, 
and to use those means. Can you truly say, that you do as 
much as you are able to do ? Are you not able to go by an 
alehouse door, or to shut your mouths and keep out the 
drink ? Or to forbear the company that hardeneth you to 
sin ? Are you not able to go hear the word, and think of 
what you heard when you come home ? And to consider 
with yourselves of your own condition, and of everlasting 
things ? Are you not able to read good books, from day to 
day, at least on the Lord's day, and to converse with those 
that fear the Lord ? You cannot say that you have done 
what you are able. 3. And therefore you must know 
that you can forfeit the grace and help of God, by your wil- 
ful sinning or negligence, though you cannot, without grace, 
turn to God. If you will not do what you can, it is just 
with God to deny you that grace by which you might do 
more. 4. And for God's decrees, you must know that they 
separate not the end and means, but tie them together. 
God never decreed to save any but the sanctified, nor to 
damn any but the unsanctified. God doth as truly decree 
from everlasting, whether your land this year shall be bar- 
ren, or fruitful, and just how long you shall live in the 
world, as he hath decreed, whether you shall be saved or 
not. And yet you would think that man but a fool, that 
would forbear ploughing and sowing, and say, ' If God have 
decreed tliat my ground shall bear corn, it will bear whether 
I plough and sow or not. If God have decreed that I shall 
live, I shall live whether I eat or not ; but if he have not, it 
is not eating will keep me alive.' Do you know how to an- 
swer such a man, or do you not ? If you do, then you know 
how to answer yourselves ; for the case is alike : God's de- 
cree is as peremptory about your bodies as your souls ; if 
you do not then try first these conclusions upon your bo- 
dies, before you venture to try them on your souls ; see first 
whether God will keep you alive without food or raiment, 



CCCI PREFACE. 

and whether he will give you corn without tillage and la- 
bour, and whether he will bring you to your journey's end 
without your travel or carriage : and if you speed well in 
this, then try whether he will bring you to heaven without 
your diligent use of means, and sit down and say, * We can- 
not sanctify ourselves.' 

And for the point of Freewill, which you harp so long 
upon, divines are not so much disagreed about it as you 
imagine. Augustine as well as Pelagius, Calvin as well as 
Arminius, the Dominicans as well as the Jesuits, all do ge- 
nerally maintain, that man hath freewill ; the orthodox say, 
that freewill is corrupted and disposed to evil. Epiphanius 
condemned Origen for saying, that man had lost the image 
of God, and makes it a point of heresy. And yet one may 
truly say, * That man hath lost God's image ;' and another 
may truly say, * That he hath not lost it.' For there is a 
twofold image of God on man : the one is natural, and that 
is our reason and freewill, and this is not lost; the other is 
qualitative and ethical, and this is our holiness, and this is 
lost, and by grace restored. No man of brains denieth, 
that a man hath a will that is naturally free ; it is free from 
violence, and it is a self-determining principle ; but it is not 
free from evil dispositions. It is habitually averse to God 
and holiness, and inclined to earthly, fleshly things. It is 
enslaved by a sinful bias. This, no man, methinks, that is a 
Christian, should deny ; and of the aged, I see not how an 
infidel can deny it. Alas, we easily confess to you, that 
you have not this spiritual, moral freewill, which is but your 
right inclination, and your habitual willingness itself. 
If you had a will that were freed from wicked inclina- 
tions, I had no need to write such books as these 
to persuade you to be willing in a case which your 
own salvation lieth on. To the grief of our souls, we per- 
ceive after all our preachings and persuasions, that the im- 
godly have not this spiritual freewill. But this is nothing 
but your willingness itself, and inclination to be willing ; 
and therefore the want of it is so far from excusing you, 
that the more you want it (that is, the more you are wilful 
in sin), the worse you are, and the sorer will be your pu- 
nishment. And our preaching and persuasions, and your 
hearing and considering, are the appointed means to get 
this moral power of freedom, that is to make you truly willing. 



PUEFACE. CCcli 

Well sirs, I have but three requests to you, and I have 
done : First, That you will seriously read over this small 
treatise ; (and if you have such that need it in your fami- 
lies, that you read it over and over to them : and if those 
that fear God would go now and then to their ignorant 
neighbours, and read this or some other book to them of 
this subject, they might be a means of winning of souls). 
If we cannot entreat so small a labour of men for their own 
salvation, as to read such short instructions as these, they 
set little by themselves, and will most justly perish. Se*- 
condly. When you have read over this book, I would en- 
treat you to go alone, and ponder a little what you have 
read, and bethink you, as in the sight of God, whether it 
be not true, and do not nearly touch your souls, and whe- 
ther it be not time for you to look about you : and also en- 
treat that you will fall upon your knees and beseech the 
Lord that he will open your eyes to understand the truth, 
and turn your hearts to the love of God, and beg of him all 
that saving grace, that you have so long neglected, and fol- 
low it on from day to day, till your hearts be changed ; and 
withal, that you will go to your pastors (that are set over 
you, to take care of the health and safety of your souls, as 
physicians do for the health of your bodies) and desire them 
to direct you what course to take, and acquaint them with 
your spiritual estate, that you may have the benefit of their 
advice and ministerial help. Or if you have not a faithful 
pastor at home, make use of some other in so great a need. 
Thirdly, When by reading, consideration, prayer and minis* 
terial advice, you are once acquainted with your sin and 
misery, with your duty and remedy, delay not, but presently 
forsake your sinful company and courses, and turn unto 
God, and obey his call, and as you love your souls, take 
heed that you go not on against so loud a call of God, and 
against your own conscience, lest it go worse with you in 
the day of judgment, than with Sodom and Gomorrah. In- 
quire of God. as a man that is willing to know the truth, 
and not be a wilful cheater of his soul. Search the Holy 
Scripture daily, and see whether these things be so or not ; 
try impartially whether it be safer to trust heaven or earth ; 
and whether it be better to follow God or man, the Spirit or 
the flesh ; and better to live in holiness or sin. And whe- 



CCclii PREFACE. 

ther an unsanctified estate be safe for you to abide in one 
day longer ; and when you have found out which is best, 
resolve accordingly, and make your choice without any 
more ado. If you will be true to your own souls, and do 
not love everlasting torments, I beseech you, as from the 
Lord, that you will but take this reasonable advice. O what 
happy towns and countries, and what a happy nation might 
we have, if we could but persuade our neighbours to agree 
to such a necessary motion! What joyful men would all 
faithful ministers be, if they could but see their people truly 
heavenly and holy ! This would be the unity, the peace, 
the safety, the glory of our churches, the happiness of our 
neighbours, and the comfort of our souls. Then how com- 
fortable should we preach absolution and peace to you, and 
deliver the sacraments, which are the seals of peace to you. 
And with what love and joy might we live among you ; at 
your death-bed, how boldly might we comfort and encou- 
rage your departing souls ; and at your burial, how comfor- 
tably might we leave you in the grave, in expectation to 
meet your soul in heaven, and to see your bodies raised to 
that glory. 

But if still the most of you will go on in a careless, ig- 
norant, fleshly, worldly, or unholy life ; and all our desires 
and labours cannot so far prevail, as to keep you from the 
wilful damning of yourselves, we must then imitate our 
Lord, who delighteth himself in those few that are his jew- 
els, and the little flock that shall receive the kingdom, when 
the most shall reap the misery which they sowed. In na- 
ture excellent things are few. The world hath not many 
suns or moons ; it is but a little of the earth that is gold or 
silver ; princes and nobles are but a small part of the sons 
of men. And it is no great number that are learned, judi- 
cious or wise, here in this world. And therefore the gate 
being strait, and the way narrow, there be but few that find 
salvation ; yet God will have his glory and pleasure in those 
few. And when Christ** shall come with his mighty angels 
in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not 
God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, his 
coming will be glorified in his saints, and admired in all 
true believers "." 

« 2 Thess. i. 7—10. 



PREFACE. CCcliii 

And for the rest, a8 God the Father vouchsafed to cre- 
ate them, and God the Son disdained not to bear the penal- 
ty of their sins upon the cross ; and did not judge such suf- 
ferings vain, though he knew that by refusing the sanctifi- 
cation of the Holy Ghost, they would finally destroy them- 
selves ; so we that are his ministers, though these be not 
gathered, judge not our labour wholly lost. See Isa. xlix. 5. 

Reader, I have done with thee, (when thou hast perused 
this book) ; but sin hath not yet done with thee (even those 
that thou though test had been forgotten long ago), and satan 
hath not yet done with thee (though now he be out of sight) ; 
and God hath not yet done with thee, because thou wilt not 
be persuaded to have done with deadly, reigning sin. I 
have written thee this persuasive, as one that is going inta 
another world, where the things are seen that 1 here speak 
of, and as one that knoweth thou must shortly be there thy- 
self. As ever thou wouldst meet me with comfort before 
the Lord that made us ; as ever thou wilt escape the ever- 
lasting plagues prepared for the final neglecters of salvation, 
and for all that are not sanctified by the Holy Ghost, and 
love not the communion of the saints, as members of the 
holy catholic church ; and as ever thou hopest to see the 
face of Christ the Judge, and of the majesty of the Father, 
with peace and comfort, to be received into glory, when 
thou art turned naked out of this world : I beseech thee, I 
charge thee, to hear and obey the call of God, and resolved- 
ly to turn, that thou mayst live. But if thou wilt not, even 
when thou hast no true reason for it, but because thou wilt 
not ; 1 summon thee, answer for it before the Lord, and re- 
quire thee there to bear me witness I gave thee warning, and 
that thou wert not condemned for want of a call to turn and 
live, but because thou wouldst not believe it, and obey it; 
which also must be the testimony of thy serious monitor, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

December 11, 1657. 



VOL. Vll. A A 



A CALL 



UNCONVERTED 



EZEKIEL XXXIII. 11. 



Say unto them. As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in 
the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, 
and live. Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways ; for why will ye 
die, O house of Israel 9 

It hath been the astonishing wonder of many a man, as well 
as me, to read in the holy Scripture, how few will be saved, 
and that the greatest part even of those that are called, will 
be everlastingly shut out of the kingdom of heaven, and tor- 
mented with the devils in eternal hre. Infidels believe not 
this when they read it, and therefore must feel it. Those 
that do believe it, are forced to cry out with Paul, " O the 
depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of 
God ! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways 
past finding out"." But nature itself doth teach us all, to 
lay the blame of evil works upon the doers, and therefore 
when we see any heinous thing done, a principle of justice 
doth provoke us to inquire after him that did it, that the 
evil of the work may return the evil of shame upon the au- 
thor. If we saw a man killed and cut in pieces by the way, 
we should presently ask, ' Oh ! who did this cruel deed V If 
the town were wilfully set on fire, you would ask, * What 
wicked wretch did this?' So when we read that the most will 
be firebrands of hell for ever, we must needs think with our- 

* iUm. xi. IS. 



356 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

selves, how comes this to pass ? And, who is it long of? 
Who is it that is so cruel as to be the cause of such a thing 
as this ? And we can meet with few that will own the guilt. 
It is indeed confessed by all, that satan is the cause, but 
that doth not resolve the doubt, because he is not the prin- 
cipal cause. He doth not force men to sin, but tempt them 
to it, and leaves it to their own wills, whether they will do 
it or not. He doth not carry men to an alehouse, and force 
open their mouths, and pour in the drink ; nor doth he hold 
them that they cannot go to God's service, nor doth he 
force their hearts from holy thoughts. It lieth, therefore, 
between God himself, and the sinner, one of them must needs 
be the principal cause of all this misery, which ever it is : 
for there is no other to cast it upon. And God disclaimeth 
it. He will not take it upon him. And the wicked dis- 
claim it usually, and they will not take^ it upon them, and 
this is the controversy that is here managed in the text. 

The Lord complaineth of the people, and the people 
think it is long of God : the same controversy is handled in 
chap, xviii. where, (ver. 25.) they plainly say, " That the way 
of the Lord is not equal." And God saith, " It is their ways 
that are not equal.*' So here they say, (ver. 19.) " If our 
transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away 
in them, how shall we then live ?" As if they should say. 
If we must die and be miserable, how can we help it ? As 
if it were not long of them but God. But God, in my text,, 
doth clear himself of it, and telleth them how they may help 
it if they will, and persuadeth them to use the means : and 
if they will not be persuaded, he lets them know that it is 
long of themselves ; and if this will not satisfy them, he will 
not, therefore, forbear to punish them. It is he that will be 
their Judge, and he will judge them according to their ways ; 
they are no judges of him, or of themselves, as wanting au- 
thority, wisdom, and impartiality, nor is it their cavilling 
and quarrelling with God, that shall serve their turn, or save 
them from the execution of justice which they murmur at. 

The words of this verse contain, I. God's purgation or 
clearing himself from the blame of their destruction. This 
he doth, not by disowning his law, that the " wicked shall 
die;" nor by disowning his judgments and execution ac- 
cording to that law, or giving them any hope that the law 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 357 

shall not be executed ; but by profession that it is not their 
death that he takes pleasure in, but their returning rather, 
that they may live. And this he confirraeth to them by his 
oath. 2. An express exhortation to the wicked to return ; 
wherein God doth not only command, but persuade and con- 
descend also to reason the case with them. Why will they 
die ? The direct end of this exhortation is, that they may 
turn and live. The secondary, or reserved ends, upon sup- 
position that this is not attained, are these two : First, To 
convince them by the means which he used, that it is not 
long of God if they be miserable. Secondly, To convince 
them from their manifest wilfulness, in rejecting all his com- 
mands and persuasions, that it is long of themselves ; and 
they die even because they will die. 

The substance of the text doth lie in these observations 
following. 

Doct. I. It is the unchangeable law of God, that wicked 
men must turn or die. 

Doct. II. It is the promise of God that the wicked shall 
live, if they will but turn. 

Doct. III. God takes pleasure in men's conversion and 
salvation, but not in their death or damnation : he had ra- 
ther they would return and live, than go on and die. 

Doct. IV. This is a most certain truth, which because 
God would not have men to question, he hath confirmed it 
to them solemnly by his oath. 

;Doct. V. The Lord doth redouble his commands and 
persuasions to the wicked to turn. 

Doct. VI. The Lord condescendeth to reason the case 
with them, and asketh the wicked, why they will die? 

Doct. VII. If after all this, the wicked will not return, it 
is not long of God that they perish, but of themselves : their 
own wilfulness is the cause of their damnation ; they there- 
fore die because they will die. 

Having laid the text open before your eyes in these plain 
propositions, I shall next speak somewhat of each of them 
in order, though very briefly. 

Doct. I. It is the unchangeable law of God, that wicked 
men must turn or die. 

If you will believe God, believe this. There is but one 
of these two ways for every wicked man, either conversion 



358 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

or damnation. I know the wicked will hardly be persuad- 
ed, either of the truth or equity of this. No wonder if the 
guilty quarrel with the law. Few men are apt to believe 
that which they would not have to be true ; and fewer would 
have that to be true, which they apprehend to be against 
them. But it is not quarrelling with the law, or with the 
judge, that will save the malefactor : believing and regard- 
ing the law might have prevented his death ; but denying 
and accusing it, will but hasten it. If it were not so, a 
hundred would bring their reason against the law, for one 
that would bring his reason to the law : and men would ra- 
ther choose to give their reasons why they should not be 
punished, than to hear the commands and reasons of their 
governors which require them to obey. The law was not 
made for you to judge, but that you might be ruled and 
judged by it. But if there be any so blind, as to venture to 
question either the truth or justice of the law of God, I shall 
briefly give you that evidence of both, which, methinks, 
would satisfy a reasonable man. And first, if you doubt 
whether tjiis be the word of God or not, besides a hundred 
other texts, you may be satisfied by these few. " Verily, I say 
unto you. Except ye be converted, and become as little 
children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven^." 
" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born 
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God''." " If any man 
be in Christ he is a new creature : old things are passed 
away, behold all things are become new **." " Ye have put 
off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new 
man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him 
that created him*." "Without holiness no man shall see 
God V " So then they that are in the flesh cannot please 
God. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is 
none of his s." •* For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision 
availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature *"." 
" According unto his abundant grace, he hath begotten us 
again to a lively hope'.** " Being born again, not of cor- 
ruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which 
liveth and abideth for ever ''." *' Wherefore laying aside 
all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and 



^ Malt, iviii. 3. 


c j„},n iji. 3, 


«» 2 Cor. V. 17. 


e Col. iii. 9, 10. 


fHeb. xii. 14. 


s Rom. viii. 8, 9. 


h Gal. vi. 15. 


* 1 Pet. i. 3. 


" Ver. 23. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 359 

evil-speakings, as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of 
the word, that ye may grow thereby ^" " The wicked shall 
be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God™." 
" And the Lord loveth the righteous ; but the wicked his 
soul hateth "." As I need not stay to open these texts which 
are so plain, so I think I need not add any more of that mul- 
titude which speak the like. If thou be a man that dost be- 
lieve the word of God, there is already enough to satisfy 
thee, that the wicked must be converted or condemned. 
You are already brought so far, that you must either confess 
that this is true, or say plainly, you will not believe the word 
of God. And if once you be come to that pass, there is but 
small hopes of you : look to yourselves as well as you can ; 
for it is like you will not be long out of hell. You would be 
ready to fly in the face of him that should give you the lie ; 
and yet dare you give the lie to God ? But if you tell God 
plainly you will not believe him, blame him not if he never 
warn you more, or if he forsake you, and give you up as 
hopeless : for to what purpose should he warn you, if you 
would not believe him. Should he send an angel from hea- 
ven to you, it seems you would not believe, for an angel can 
speak but the word of God ; and if an angel should bring 
you any other Gospel, you are not to receive it, but to 
hold him accursed '', And surely there is no angel to be 
believed before the Son of God, who came from the Father 
to bring us this doctrine. If he be not to be believed, then 
all the angels in heaven are not to be believed. And if you 
stand on these terms with God, I shall leave you till he deal 
with you in a more convincing way. God hath a voice that 
will make you hear ! Though he entreat you to hear the 
voice of his Gospel, he will make you hear the voice of his 
condemning sentence, without entreaty. We cannot make 
you believe against your wills ; but God will make you feel 
against your wills. But let us hear what reason you have, 
why you will not believe this word of God, which tells us, 
that the wicked must be converted or condemned. I know 
your reason ; it is because that you judge it unlikely that 
God should be so unmerciful ; you think it cruelty to damn 
men everlastingly for so small a thing as a sinful life. And 

1 1 Pet. U. 1. 1.  VuJL u. ir. » PsaL »i. 4. « Gal. i. 8. 



360 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

this leads us up to the second thing, which is to justify the 
equity of God in his laws and judgment. 

And first, I think you will not deny but that it is most 
suitable to an immortal soul, to be ruled by laws that pro- 
mise an immortal reward, and threaten an endless punish- 
ment. Otherwise the law should not be suited to the nature 
of the subject, who will not be fully ruled by any lower 
means than the hopes or fears of everlasting things : as it is 
in case of temporal punishment. If a law were now made, 
that the most heinous crimes should be punished with a 
hundred years captivity, this might be of some efficacy, as 
being equal to our lives. But if there had been no other 
penalties before the flood, when men lived eight or nine hun- 
dred years, it would not have been sufficient, because men 
would know that they might have so many hundred years 
impunity afterward. So it is in our present case. 

2. 1 suppose you will confess, that the promise of an end- 
less and inconceivable glory, is not unsuitable to the wis- 
dom of God, or the case of man. And why then should you 
not think so of the threatening of an endless and unspeak- 
able misery ? 

3. When you find it in the word of God, that so it is, 
and so it will be, do you think yourselves fit to contradict 
this word ? Will you call your Maker to the bar, and exa- 
mine his word upon the imputation of falsehood ? Will you 
sit upon him, and judge him by the law of your conceits? 
Are you wiser and better, and more righteous than he? 
Must the God of heaven come to school to you to learn 
wisdom ? Must Infinite Wisdom learn of folly ; and Infinity 
Goodness be corrected by a swinish sinner, that cannot keep 
himself an hour clean? Must the Almighty stand at the 
bar of a worm? O horrid arrogancy of senseless dust! 
Shall every mole, or clod, or dunghill, accuse the sun of 
darkness, and undertake to illuminate the world ? Where 
were you when the Almighty made the laws, that he did not 
call you to his counsel? Surely he made them before you 
was born, without desiring your advice, and you came into 
the world too late for to reverse them. If you could have 
done so great a work, you should have steptout of your no- 
thingness, and have contradicted Christ when he was on 
earth, or Moses before him, or have saved Adam and his 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 361 

sinful progeny from the threatening death, that so there 
might have been no need of Christ. And what if God with- 
draw his patience and sustentation, and let you drop into 
hell while you are quarrelling with his words, will you then 
believe that there is a hell ? 

4. If sin be such an evil that it required the death of 
Christ for its expiation, no wonder if it deserve our everlast- 
ing misery. 

5. And if the sins of the devils deserved an endless tor- 
ment, why not also the sin of man ? 

6. And methinks, you should perceive that it is not pos- 
sible for the best of men, much less for the wicked to be 
competent judges of the desert of sin. Alas! we are both 
blind and partial. You can never know fully the desert of 
sin, till you fully know the evil of sin ; and you can ne- 
ver know the evil of sin, till you fully know, 1. The 
excellency of the soul which it deformeth. 2. And the 
excellency of holiness, which it doth obliterate. 3. And 
the reason and the excellency of the law which it violateth. 
And, 4. The excellency of the glory which it doth despise. 
And, 5. The excellency and oflSce of reason which it tread- 
eth down. 6. No, nor till you know the infinite excellency, 
almightiness, and holiness of that God, against whom it is 
committed. When you fully know all these, you shall fully 
know the desert of sin. Besides, you know that the offender 
is too partial to judge the law, or the proceedings of his 
judge. We judge by feeling, which binds our reason. We 
see in common worldly things, that most men think the 
cause is right which is their own ; and that all is wrong that 
is done against them ; and let the most wise, or just, or im- 
partial friends persuade them to the contrary, and it is all in 
vain. There are few children but think the father unmerci- 
ful, or that he dealeth hardly with them, if he whip them. 
There is scarce the vilest, swinish wretch, but thinketh the 
church doth wrong him, if they excommunicate him ; or 
scarce a thief or murderer that is hanged, but would accuse 
the law and judge of cruelty, if that would serve turn. 

7. Can you think that an unholy soul is fit for heaven? 
Alas ! they cannot love God here, nor do him any service 
which he can accept. They are contrary to God, they 
loathe that which he most loveth ; and love that which he 



362 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTKD. 

abhorreth. They are incapable of that imperfect commu- 
nion with him, which his saints here do partake of. How 
then can they live in that perfect love of him, and full de- 
lights and communion with him, which is the blessedness 
of heaven? You do not accuse yourselves of unmerciful- 
ness, if you make not your enemy your bosom counsellor ; 
or if you take not your swine to bed and board with you : 
no, nor if you take away his life, though he never sinned. 
And yet will you blame the absolute Lord, the most wise 
and gracious Sovereign of the world, if he condemn the un- 
converted man to perpetual misery. 

USE. I beseech you now, all that love your souls, that 
instead of quarrelling with God, and with his word, you will 
presently stoop to it, and use it for your good. All you that 
are yet unconverted in this assembly, take this as the un- 
doubted truth of God; you must ere long be converted or 
condemned, there is no other way but Turn or Die. When 
God, that cannot lie, hath told you this, when you hear from 
the Maker and Judge of the world, it is time for him that 
hath ears to hear ; by this time you may see what you have 
to trust to. You are but dead and damned men, except you 
will be converted. Should I tell you otherwise I should de- 
ceive you with a lie. Should I hide this from you I should 
undo you, and be guilty of your blood, as the verses before 
my text assure me, ver. 8. " When I say to the wicked man, 
O wicked man, thou shalt surely die ; if thou dost not speak 
to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall 
die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand." 
You see then, though this be a rough, unwelcome doctrine,, 
it is such as we must preach, and you must hear. It is 
easier to hear of hell than feel it. If your necessities did 
not require it we should not gall your tender ears, with truths 
that seem so harsh and grievous. Hell would not be so full, 
if people were but willing to know their case, and to hear 
and think of it. The reason why so few escape it, is, be- 
cause they strive not to eiiter in at the strait gate of con- 
version, and to go the narrow way of holiness while they have 
time ; and they strive not, because they be not awakened to 
a lively feeling of the danger they are in : and they be not 
awakened, because they are loath to hear or think of it ; and 
that is partly, through foolish tenderness, and carnal self- 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 363 

truth, methinks the weight of it should force you to remem- 
ber it, and it should follow you and give you no rest till you 
love ; and partly, because they do not well believe the word 
that threateneth it. If you will not thoroughly believe this 
are converted. If you had but once heard this word, by the 
voice of an angel, * Thou must be converted or condemned ; 
turn or die !' Would it not stick in your mind, and haunt 
you night and day ? So that in your sinning you would re- 
member it, as if the voice were still in your ears, * Turn or 
Die !' O happy were your souls, if it might thus work with 
you, and never be forgotten, or let you alone till it hath driven 
home your hearts to God. But if you will cast it out by for- 
getfulness, or unbelief, how can it work to your conversion 
and salvation ? But take this with you, to your sorrow, 
though you may put this out of your minds, you cannot put 
it out of the Bible ; but there it will stand as a sealed truth, 
which you shall experimentally know for ever, that there is 
no other way, but Turn or Die. 

O what is the matter then that the hearts of sinners be 
not pierced with such a weighty truth ! A man would think 
now that every unconverted soul that hears these words 
should be pricked to the heart, and think with themselves, 
* This is my own case,' and never be quiet till they found 
themselves converted. Believe it, sirs, this drowsy, careless 
temper will not last long. Conversion and condemnation, 
are both of them awakening things : and one of them will 
make you feel ere long, I can foretell it as truly, as if I saw 
it with my eyes, that either grace or hell will shortly bring 
these matters to the quick, and make you say, * What have 
I done? What foolish, wicked courses have I taken?' The 
scornful and the stupid state of sinners, will last but a little 
while: as soon as they either Turn or Die, the presumptuous 
dream will be at an end, and then their wits and feeling will 
return. 

But; I foresee there are two things that are like to har- 
den the unconverted, and make me lose all my labour, ex- 
cept they can be taken out of the way : and that is, the mis- 
understanding of those two words, * The wicked/ and* Turn.' 
Some will think with themselves, it is true, the wicked must 
Turn or Die ; but what is that to me ? 1 am not Wicked, 
though I am a sinner, as all men be. Others will think, it 



364 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

is true that we must turn from our evil ways ; but I am tunr- 
ed long ago, I hope this is not now to do. And thus, while 
wicked men think they are not wicked, but are already con- 
verted, we lose all our labour in persuading them to turn. I 
shall therefore, before I go any further, tell you here, who 
are meant by ' the wicked,' and who they be that must Turn 
or Die, and also what is meant by Turning ; and who they be 
that are truly converted ; and this I have purposely reserv- 
ed for this place, preferring the method that fits my end. 

And here you may observe, that in the sense of the text, 
a wicked man and a converted man are contraries. No man 
is a wicked man that is converted, and no man is a convert- 
ed man that is wicked : so that to be a wicked man, and to 
be an unconverted man, is all one. And therefore in open- 
ing one, we shall open both. 

Before I can tell you what either wickedness or conver- 
sion is, I must go to the bottom, and fetch up the matter 
from the beginning. 

It pleased the great Creator of the world, to make three 
sorts of living creatures ; angels he made pure spirits with- 
out flesh, and therefore he made them only for heaven and 
not to dwell on earth. Beasts were made flesh without im- 
mortal souls ; and therefore they were made only for earth, 
and not for heaven. Man is of a middle nature, between 
both, as partaking of both flesh and spirit : and therefore he 
was made both for heaven and earth. But as his flesh is 
made to be but a servant to his spirit, so is he made for earth, 
but as his passage, or way to heaven, and not that this should 
be his home or happiness. The blessed state that man was 
made for, was to behold the glorious majesty of the Lord 
and to praise him among his holy angels, and to love him, 
and be filled with his love for ever. And as this was the end 
that man was made for, so God did give him means that 
were fitted to the attaining of it. These means were princi- 
pally two. First, The right inclination and disposition of 
the mind of man. Secondly, The right ordering of his life 
and practice. For the first, God suited the disposition of 
man to his end ; giving him such knowledge of God, as was 
fit for his present state, and a heart disposed and inclined to 
God in holy love. But yet he did not fix or confirm him in 
this condition ; but having made him a free agent, he left 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 365 

him in the hands of his own free-will. For the second, God 
did that which belonged to him ; that is, he gave man a per- 
fect law requiring him to continue in the love of God, and 
perfectly to obey him. By the wilful breach of this law, 
man did not only forfeit his hopes of everlasting life, but 
also turned his heart from God, and fixed it on these lower, 
fleshly things, and hereby did blot out the spiritual image of 
God from his soul. So that man did both fall short of the 
glory of God, which was his end, and put himself out of the 
way, by which he should have attained it ; and this, both as 
to the frame of his heart, and of his life. The holy inclina- 
tion and love of his soul to God, he lost ; and instead of it, 
he contracted an inclination and love to the pleasing of his 
flesh, or carnal self, by earthly things : growing strange to 
God, and acquainted with the creature : and the course of 
his life was suited to the bent and inclination of his heart ; 
he lived to his carnal self, and not to God ; he sought the 
creature for the pleasing of his flesh, instead of seeking to 
please the Lord. With this nature or corrupt inclination, 
we are all now bom into the world ; for ** who can bring a 
clean thing out of an unclean ?" As a lion hath a fierce 
and cruel nature, before he doth devour, and as an adder 
hath a venomous nature before she stings, so in our very in- 
fancy we have those sinful natures or inclinations, before we 
think, or speak, or do amiss. And hence springeth all the 
sin of our lives. And not only so, but when God hath of his 
mercy provided us a remedy, even the Lord Jesus Christ, to 
be the Saviour of our souls, and bring us back to God again, 
we naturally love our present state, and are loath to be 
brought out of it, and therefore are set against the means of 
our recovery ; and though custom hath taught us to thank 
Christ for his good will, yet carnal self persuadeth us to re- 
fuse his remedies, and to desire to be excused when we are 
commanded to take the medicines which he oflereth, and are 
called to forsake all, and follow him to God and glory. 

I pray you read over this leaf again, and mark it ; for 
in these few words you have a true description of our natu- 
ral state ; and consequently of a wicked man. For every 
man that is in this state of corrupted nature, is a wicked man, 
and in a state of death. 

By this also you are prepared to understand what it is to 



366 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

be converted, to which end you must further know, that the 
mercy of God, not willing that man should perish in his sin, 
provid^ a remedy, by causing his Son to take our nature, 
and being in one person God and man, to become a Media- 
tor between God and man ; and by dying for our sins on the 
cross, to ransom us from the curse of God, and the power of 
the devil : and having thus redeemed us, the Father hath de- 
livered us into his hands, as his own. Hereupon the Father 
and the Mediator do make a new law and covenant for man. 
Not like the tirst, which gave life to none but the perfectly 
obedient, and condemned man for every sin ; but Christ 
hath made a law of grace, or a promise of pardon and ever- 
lasting life to all, that by true repentance, and by faith in 
Christ, are converted unto God. Like an act of oblivion, 
which is made by a prince, to a company of rebels, on con- 
dition they will lay down their arms, and come in, and be 
loyal subjects for the time to come. 

But because the Lord knoweth that the heart of man is 
grown so wicked, that for all this, men will not accept of 
the remedy if they be left to themselves ; therefore the Holy 
Ghost hath undertaken it as his office, to inspire the apos- 
tles, and seal up the Scripture by miracles and wonders, and 
to illuminate and convert the souls of the elect. 

So that by this much you see, that as there are Three 
Persons in the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost ; so each of these Persons have their several works, 
which are eminently ascribed to them. 

The Father's works were, to create us, to rule us as his 
rational creatures, by the law of nature, and judge us there- 
by ; and in mercy to provide us a Redeemer when we were 
lost ; and to send his Son, and accept his ransom. 

The works of the Son for us were these ; to ransom and 
redeem us by his sufferings and righteousness, to give out 
the promise or law of grace, and rule and judge the world 
as their Redeemer, on terms of grace, and to make interces- 
sion for us, that the benefits of his death may be communi- 
cated, and to send the Holy Ghost, (which the Father also 
doth by the Son). 

The works of the Holy Ghost for us are these : to indite 
the holy Scriptures, by inspiring, and guiding the prophets 
and apostles ; and sealing the word, by his miraculous gifts 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 367 

and works ; and the illuminating and exciting the ordinary 
ministers of the Gospel ; and so enabling them, and helping 
them to publish that word, and by the same word illuminat- 
ing and converting the souls of men. So that as you could 
not have been reasonable creatures, if the Father had not 
created you ; nor have had any access to God, if the Son 
had not redeemed you ; so neither can you have a part in 
Christ, or be saved, except the Holy Ghost do sanctify you. 
So that by this time you may see the several causes of 
this work. The Father sendeth the Son ; the Son redeemeth 
us, and maketh the promise of grace ; the Holy Ghost in- 
diteth and sealeth this Gospel ; the apostles are the secre- 
taries of the Spirit, to write it ; the preachers of the Gospel 
to proclaim, and persuade men to obey it ; and the Holy 
Ghost doth make their preaching effectual, by opening the 
hearts of men to entertain it. And all this to repair the 
image of God upon the soul, and to set the heart upon God 
again, and take it off the creature, and carnal self, to which 
it is revolted, and so turn the current of this life into a hea- 
venly course, which before was earthly ; and all this by the 
entertainment of Christ by faith, who is the physician of 
the soul. 

By this which I have said, you may see what it is to be 
wicked, and what it is to be unconverted. Which I think, 
will be yet plainer to you, if I describe them, as consisting 
of their several parts : and for the first, A wicked man may 
be known by these three things : 

First, He is one that placeth his chief content on earth ; 
and loveth the creature more than God ; and his fleshly pros- 
perity, above the heavenly felicity ; he savoureth the things 
of the flesh, but neither discerneth nor savoureth the things 
of the Spirit : though he will say, that heaven is better than 
earth, yet doth he not really so esteem it to himself. If he 
might be sure of earth, he would let go heaven, and had ra- 
ther stay here than be removed thither. A life of perfect 
holiness, in the sight of God, and in his love, and praises for 
ever in heaven, doth not find such liking with his heart as a 
life of health, and wealth, and honour here upon earth. And 
though he falsely profess that he loveth God above all, yet 
indeed he never felt the power of divine love within him, but 
his mind is more set on the world, or fleshly pleasures, than 



368 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

on God, In a word, whoever loveth earth above heaven, 
and fleshly prosperity more than God, is a wicked, uncon- 
verted man. 

On the other side, a converted man is illuminated to dis- 
cern the loveliness of God ; and so far believeth the glory 
that is to be had with God, that his heart is taken up to it, 
and set more upon it than on any thing in this world. He 
had rather see the face of God, and live in his everlasting 
love and praises, than have all the wealth or pleasure of the 
world. He seeth that all things else are vanity, and nothing 
but God can fill the soul : and therefore let the world go 
which way it will, he layeth up his treasures and hopes in 
heaven ; and for that he is resolved to let go all. As the 
fire doth mount upward, and the needle that is touched with 
the loadstone, still turneth to the north, so the converted 
soul is inclined unto God. Nothing else can satisfy him : 
nor can he find any content and rest but in his love. In a 
word, all that are converted do esteem and love God better 
than all the world, and the heavenly felicity is dearer to them 
than their fleshly prosuerity The proof of what I have said, 
you may find in these places of Scripture, Phil. iii. 18. 21. 
Matt. vi. 19—21. Col. iii. 1—4. Rom. viii. 3.6—9. 18. 23. 
Psal. Ixxiii. 25, 26. 

Secondly, A wicked man is one that maketh it the prin- 
cipal business of his life to prosper in the world, and attain 
his fleshly ends. And though he may read and hear, and do 
much in the outward duties of religion, and forbear dis- 
graceful sins ; yet this is all but upon the bye, and he never 
makes it the trade and principal business of his life to please 
God, and attain everlasting glory, but puts off" God with the 
leavings of the world, and gives him no more service than 
the flesh can spare ; for he will not part with all for heaven. 

On the contrary, a converted man is one that makes it 
the principal care and business of his life to please God, and 
to be saved ; and takes all the blessings of this life, but as 
accommodations in his journey towards another life, and 
useth the creature in subordination unto God, he loveth a 
holy life, and longeth to be more holy ; he hath no sin but 
what he hateth, and longeth, and prayeth, andstriveth to be 
rid of. The drift and bent of his life is for God ; and if he 
sin, it is contrary to the very bent of his heart and life, and 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 369 

therefore he rises again, and lamenteth it, and dare not wil- 
fully live in any known sin. There is nothing in this world 
so dear to him but he can give it up to God, and forsake it 
for him and the hopes of glory. All this you may see in Col. 
iii. 1—5. Matt. vi. 20. 33. Luke xviii. 22, 23. 29. xiv. 

18. 24. 26, 27. Rom. viii. 13. Gal. v. 24. Luke xii. 21., &c. 
Thirdly, the soul of a wicked man did never truly dis- 
cern and relish the mystery of redemption, nor thankfully 
entertain an offered Saviour, nor is he taken up with the 
love of the Redeemer, nor willing to be ruled by him, as the 
physician of his soul, that he may be saved from the guilt 
and power of his sins, and recovered unto God ; but his 
heart is insensible of this unspeakable benefit, and is quite 
against the healing means by which he should be recovered. 
Though he may be willing to be carnally religious, yet he 
never resigned up his soul to Christ, and to the motions and 
conduct of his word and Spirit. 

On the contrary, the converted soul having felt himself 
undone by sin ; and per^^eiving that he hath lost his peace 
with God, and hopes of heaven, and is in danger of everlast- 
ing misery, doth thankfully entertain the tidings of redemp- 
tion, and believing in the Lord Jesus as his only Saviour, 
resigneth up himself to him for wisdom, righteousness, sanc- 
tifi cation, and redemption. He taketh Christ as the life of 
his soul, and liveth by him, and useth him as a salve for 
every sore, admiring the wisdom and love of God in his won- 
derful work of man's redemption. In a word, Christ doth 
even dwell in his heart by faith, and the life that he now 
liveth is by the faith of the Son of God, that hath loved him, 
and gave himself for him. Yea, it is not so much he that 
liveth, as Christ in him : for these, see John i. 11, 12. iii. 

19, 20. Rom. viii. 9. Phil. iii. 7—10. ' Gal. ii. 20. John 
XV. 2—4. 1 Cor. i. 20. ii. 2. 

You see now in plain terms, from the word of God, who 
are the wicked, and who are the converted. Ignorant peo- 
ple think, that if a man be no swearer, nor curser, nor railer, 
nor drunkard, nor fornicator, nor extortioner, nor wrong any 
body in their dealings, and if they come to church, and say 
their prayers, these cannot be wicked men. Or if a man that 
hath been guilty of drunkenness, swearing, gaming, or the 
like vices, do but forbeai' them for the time to come, they 

VOL. VII. B B 



/ 



370 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTKD. 

think that this is a converted man. Others think, that if a 
man that hath been an enemy, and a scorner of godliness, do 
but approve it, and join himself with those that are godly, 
and be hated for it by the wicked, as the godly are, that 
this needs must be a converted man. And some are so fool- 
ish as to think they are converted, by taking up some new 
and false opinion ; and falling into some dividing party as 
Baptists, Quakers, Papists, or such like. And some think, 
if they have but been affrighted by the fears of hell, and had 
convictions, and gripes of conscience, and thereupon have 
purposed, and promised, amendment, and taken up a life of 
civil behaviour, and outward religion, that this must needs 
be true conversion. And these are the poor deluded souls 
that are like to lose the benefit of all our persuasions. And 
when they hear that the wicked must Turn or Die, they 
think that this is not spoken of them ; for they are not 
wicked, but are Turned already. And therefore it is, that 
Christ told some of the rulers of the Jews, who were more 
grave and civil than the common people, that " Publicans 
and harlots do go into the kingdom of God before them p." 
Not that a harlot or gross sinner can be saved without con- 
version, but because it was easier to make those gross sin- 
ners perceive their sin and misery, and the necessity of a 
change, when the more civil sort do delude themselves by 
thinking that they are converted already when they be not. 
O sirs, conversion is another kind of work than most are 
aware of. It is not a small matter to bring an earthly mind 
to heaven, and to shew man the amiable excellencies of God, 
till he be taken up in such love to him, that can never be 
quenched, to break the heart for sin, and make him fly for 
refuge unto Christ, and thankfully embrace him as the life 
of his soul, to have the very drift and bent of the heart and 
life to be changed ; so that a man renounceth that which he 
took for his felioity, and placeth his felicity where he never 
did before, and liveth not to the same end, and driveth not 
on the same design in the world as formerly he did : in a 
word, he that is in Christ, " is a new creature ; old things 
are passed away, behold all things are become new^." He 
hath a new understanding, a new will and resolution, new 
sorrows, and desires, and love and delight ; new thoughts, 

P Matt. xxi. 31. 12 Cor. v. 17. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 371 

new speeches, new company, (if possible) and a new con- 
versation. Sin that before was a jesting matter with him, 
is now so odious and terrible to him, that he flies from it as 
from death. The world that was so lovely in his eyes, doth 
now appear but as vanity and vexation ; God that was be- 
fore neglected, is now the only happiness of his soul ; before 
he was forgotten and every lust preferred before him ; but 
now he is set next the heart, and all things must give place 
to him ; and the heart is taken up in the attendance, and ob- 
sei-vance, of him, and is grieved when he hides his face, and 
never thinks itself well without him. Christ himself, that 
was wont to be slightly thought of, is now his only hope 
and refuge, and he lives upon him, as on his daily bread, he 
cannot pray without him, nor rejoice without him, nor think, 
nor speak, nor live, without him. Heaven itself, that before 
was looked upon but as a tolerable reserve, which he hoped 
might serve turn better than hell, when he could not stay any 
longer in the world, is now taken for his home, the place of 
his only hope and rest, where he shall see, and love, and praise 
that God that hath his heart already. Hell, that did seem be- 
fore but as a bugbear to frighten men from sin, doth now ap- 
pear to be a real misery, that is not to be ventured on or jested 
with. The works of holiness, which before he was weary of, and 
seemed to be more ado than needs, are now both his recrea- 
tion, and his business, and the trade he lives upon. The 
Bible, which was before to him but almost as a common 
book, is now as the law of God, as a letter written to him 
from heaven, and subscribed with the name of the Eternal 
Majesty ; it is the rule of his thoughts, and words, and 
deeds ; the commands are binding, the threats are dreadful 
and the promises of it speak life to his soul. The godly 
that seemed to him but like other men, are. now the most 
excellent and happiest on earth. And the wicked, that 
were his playfellows, are now his grief; and he that could 
laugh at their sins, is more ready now to weep for their sin 
and misery ^ In short, he hath a new end in his thoughts, 
and a new way in his endeavours^ and therefore his heart 
and life are new. Before, his carnal self was his end ; and 
his pleasure, and worldly profits and credits were his way. 
And now, God and everlasting glory are his end ; and Christ, 

' ISatai XV. 4. xvL 3. PfiH. iii. IB. 



372 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

and the Spirit, and word, and ordinances, holiness to God, 
and righteousness and mercy to men, these are his way. 
Before, self was the chiefest ruler, to which the matters of 
God and conscience must stoop and give place : and now, 
God in Christ, by the Spirit, word, and ministry, is the 
chiefest ruler, to whom both self, and all the matters of self, 
must give place. So that this is not a change in one, or two, 
or twenty points, but in the whole soul ; and the very end and 
bent of the conversation. A man may step out of one path 
into another, and yet have his face still the same way, and 
be still going towards the same place; but it is another mat- 
ter to turn quite back again, and take his journey the clean 
contrary way to a contrary place. So is it here ; a man 
may turn from drunkenness to thriftiness, and forsake his 
good fellowship, and other gross, disgraceful sins, and set 
upon some duties of religion, and yet be going still to the 
same end as before, intending his carnal self above all, and 
giving it still the government of his soul. But when he is 
converted, this self is denied, and taken down, and God is 
set up, and his face is turned the contrary way ; and he that 
before was addicted to himself, and lived to himself, is now 
by sanctification devoted unto God, and liveth unto God. 
Before he asked himself what he should do with his time, 
his parts, and his estate, and for himself he used them; but 
now he asketh God what he shall do with them, and useth 
them for him : before he would please God so far as might 
stand with the pleasure of his flesh and carnal self, but not 
to any great displeasure of them ; but now he will please 
God, let flesh and self be never so much displeased. This 
is the great change that God will make upon all that shall 
be saved. 

You can say that the Holy Ghost is our Sanctifier ; but 
do you know what sanctification is ? Why, this is it that I 
have now opened to you : and every man or woman in the 
world must have this, or be condemned to everlasting misery. 
They must Turn or Die. 

Do you believe all this, sirs, or do you not? Surely 
you dare not say you do not ; for it is past all doubt or de- 
nial. These are not controversies, where one learned, pious 
man is of one mind, and another of another ; where one party 
saith this, and the other saith that ; Papists and Baptists, 




CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 373 

and every sect among us, that deserve to be called Chris- 
tians, are all agreed in this that I have said ; and if you will 
not believe the God of truth, and that in a case v^^here every 
sect and party doth believe him, you are utterly inexcusable. 
But if you do believe this, how comes it to pass that you 
are so quiet in an unconverted state ? Do you think you 
are converted ? And can you find this wonderful change 
upon your souls ? Have you been thus born again, and 
made anew ? Be not these strange matters to many of you ? 
And such as you never felt upon yourselves ? If you can- 
not tell the day or week of your change, or the very sermon 
that converted you, yet do you find that the work is done, 
and such a change indeed there is ? And that you have 
such hearts as are before described ? Alas, the most do 
follow their worldly business, and little trouble their minds 
with such thoughts. And if they be but restrained from 
scandalous sins, and can say, ' I am no whoremonger, nor 
thief, nor curser, nor swearer, nor tippler, nor extortioner ; 
I go to the church and say my prayers ;' they think that 
this is true conversion, and they shall be saved as well as 
any. Alas, this is foolish cheating of yourselves ; this is 
too much contempt of an endless glory, and too gross neg- 
lect of your immortal souls. Can you make so light of hea- 
ven and hell ? your corpse will shortly lie in the dust, and 
angels or devils will presently seize upon your souls ; and 
every man or woman of you all, will shortly be among other 
company, and in another case than now you are ; you will 
dwell in these houses but a little longer ; you will work in 
your shops and fields but a little longer ; you will sit in 
these seats, and dwell on this earth but a little longer ; you 
will see with those eyes, and hear with those ears, and speak 
with those tongues but a little longer, till the resurrection 
day ; and can you make shift to forget this ? O what a 
place will you be shortly in of joy or torment! O what a 
sight will you shortly see in heaven or hell ! O what 
thoughts will shortly fill your hearts with unspeakable de- 
light or horror ! What work will you be employed in ! To 
praise the Lord with saints and angels, or to cry out in fire 
unquenchabl- " Hs ; and should all this be forgotten ? 

And all thiss v i uess, and sealed up by an unchange- 

able decree. Eternity, eternity will be the measure of your 



0^4 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

joys or sorrows, and can this be forgotten? And all this 
k true sirs, most certainly true : when you have gone up and 
down a little longer, and slept and awaked but a few times 
more, you will be dead and gone, and find all true that now 
I tell you; and yet can you now so much forget it? You 
shall then remember you heard this sermon, and that this 
day, in this place, you were remembered of these things, and 
perceive them matters a thousand times greater than either 
you or I could here conceive, and yet shall they now be so 
much forgotten ? 

Beloved friends, if the Lord had not awakened me to 
believe and lay to heart these things myself, I should have 
remained in the dark and selfish state, and have perished for 
ever : but if he have truly made me sensible of them, it will 
constrain me to compassionate you, as well as myself. If 
your eyes were so far open as to see hell, and you saw your 
neighbours that were unconverted, dragged thither with 
hideous cries; though they were such as you accounted 
honest people on earth, and feared no such matter by them- 
selves, such a sight would make you go home and think of 
it ; and think again, and make you warn all about you, as 
that damned worldling in Luke xvi. 28. would have had his 
brethren warned, lest they come to that place of torment. 
Why, faith is a kind of sight, it is the eye of the soul, the 
evidence of things not seen : if I believe God, it is next to 
seeing ; and therefore I beseech you excuse me, if I be half 
as earnest with you about these matters, as if I had seen 
them. If I must die to-morrow, and it were in my power to 
come again from another world, and tell you what I had 
seen, would you not be willing to hear me ? And would 
you not believe, and regard what I should tell you ? If I 
might preach one sermon to you after I am dead, and have 
seen what is done in the world to come, would you not have 
me plainly speak the truth? and would you not crowd to 
hear me ? and would you not lay it to heart ? But this 
must not be ; God hath his appointed way of teaching you 
by Scripture and ministers ; and he will not humour unbe- 
lievers so far, as to send men from the dead to them, and 
alter his established way ; if any man quarrel with the sun, 
God will not humour him so far, as to set up a clearer light. 
Friends, I beseech you regard me now, as you would do if 




CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED 375 

I should come from the dead to you ; for I can give you the 
full assurance of the truth of what I say to you, as if I had 
been there and seen it with my eyes ; for it is possible for 
one from the dead to deceive you ; but Jesus can never de- 
ceive you ; the word of God delivered in Scripture, and 
sealed up by the miracles, and holy workings of the Spirit, 
can never deceive you. Believe this, or believe nothing. 
Believe, and obey this, or you are undone. Now, as ever 
you believe the word of God, and as ever you care for the 
salvation of your souls, let me beg of you this reasonable 
request, and I beseech you deny me not, That you would 
without any more delay, when you are gone from hence, re- 
member what you heard, and enter into an earnest search of 
your hearts, and say unto yourselves, * Is it so indeed? Must 
I Turn or Die? Must I be converted or condemned? It is 
time for me then to look about me, before it be too late. 

why did not I look after this till now ? Why did I ven- 
turously put off or slubber over so great a business ? Was 

1 awake, or in my wits ? O blessed God, what a mercy is 
it that thou didst not cut otf my life all this while, before 1 
had any certain hope of eternal life ! Well, God forbid, 
that I should neglect this work any longer. What state is 
my soul in ? Am 1 converted, or am I not ? Was ever 
such a change, or work done upon my aoul ? Have I been 
illuminated by the word and Spirit of the Lord, to see the 
odiousness of sin, the need of a Saviour, the love of Christ, 
and the excellencies of God and glory ? Is my heart bro- 
ken, or humbled within me, for my former life ? Have I 
thankfully entertained my Saviour and Lord, that offered 
iiimself with pardon and life to my soul ? Do I hate my 
former sinful life, and the remnant of every sin that is in 
me? Do I fly from them as my deadly enemies? Do 1 
give up myself to a life of holiness and obedience to God ? 
Do 1 love it and delight in it ? Can I truly say, that I am 
dead to the world, and cainal self; and that I live for God, 
and the glory which be hath promised ? Hath heaven mure 
of my estimatiua and resolution than earth ? Aud is God 
the dearest and highest in my soul ? Once, I am sure, i 
lived principally to the world and fle^h, and God had no- 
thing but some heartless services which the world could 
spare, and which were the leavings of the flesh. Is my 



376 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

heart now turned another way ? Have I a new design, and 
a new end, and a new train of holy affections ? Have I set 
my hope and heart in heaven ? And is it the scope and de- 
sign, and bent of my heart and life, to get well to heaven, 
and see the glorious face of God, and live in his everlasting 
love and praise ? And when I sin, is it against the habitual 
bent and design of my heart? And do 1 conquer all gross 
«ins, and am I weary and willing to be rid of my infirmities? 
This is the state of a converted soul. And thus must it be 
with me, or I must perish. Is it thus with me indeed, or is 
it not ? It is time to get this doubt resolved, before the 
dreadful Judge resolve it. I am not such a stranger to my 
own heart and life, but I may somewhat perceive whether I 
am thus converted or not : if I be not, it will do me no good 
to flatter my soul with false conceits and hopes. T am re- 
solved no more to deceive myself, but to endeavour to know 
truly, off or on, whether I be converted, yea or no ; that if 
I be, I may rejoice in it, and glorify my gracious Lord, and 
comfortably go on till I reach the crown ; and if I am not, 
I may set myself to beg and seek after the grace that should 
convert me, and may turn without any more delay : for if I 
find in time that I am out of the way, by the help of Christ 
I may turn and be received ; but if I stay till either my heart 
be forsaken of God in blindness and hardness, or till I be 
catched away by death, it is then too late. There is no 
place for repentance and conversion then ; I know it must 
be now or never.' 

Sirs, this is my request to you, that you will but take 
your hearts to task, and thus examine them, till you see, if 
it may be, whether you are converted or not ; and if you 
cannot find it out by your own endeavours, go to your mi- 
nisters, if they be faithful and experienced men, and desire 
their assistance. The matter is great, let not bashfulness, 
nor carelessness hinder you. They are set over you to ad- 
vise you for the saving of your souls, as physicians advise 
you for the curing of your bodies. It undoes many thou- 
sands, that they think they are in the way to salvation, 
when they are not ; and think that they are converted, when 
it is no such thing. And then when we call to them daily 
to turn, they go away as they came, and think that this con- 
cerns not them ; for they are turned already, and hope they 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 377 

shall do well enough in the way that they are in, at least if 
they do pick the fairest path, and avoid some of the foulest 
steps ; when alas, all this while, they live but to the world, 
and flesh, and are strangers to God, and eternal life, and are 
quite out of the way to heaven. And all this is much, be- 
cause we cannot persuade them to a few serious thoughts of 
their condition, and to spend a few hours in the examination 
of their states : is there not many a self-conceited wretch 
that hears me this day, that never bestowed one hour, or a 
quarter of an hour in all their lives, to examine their souls, 
and try whether they are truly converted or not? O merci- 
ful God that will care for such wretches that care no more 
for themselves, and that will do so much to save them from 
hell, and help them to heaven, who will do so little for it. 
themselves ! If all that are in the way to hell, and in the 
state of damnation, did but know it, they durst not conti- 
nue in it. The greatest hope that the devil hath, of bring- 
ing you to damnation without a rescue, is by keeping you 
blindfold and ignorant of your state, and making you be- 
lieve that you may do well enough in the way that you are 
in. If you knew that you were out of the way to heaven, 
and were lost for ever, if you should die as you are, durst 
you sleep another night in the state that you are in ? Durst 
you live another day in it ? Could you heartily laugh, or 
be merry in such a state ? What ! and not know but you 
may be snatched away to hell in an hour ! Sure it would 
constrain you to forsake your former company and courses, 
and to betake yourselves to the ways of holiness, and the 
communion of the saints. Sure it would drive you to cry 
to God for a new heart, and to seek help of those that are 
fit to counsel you. There is none of you sure, that cares 
not for being damned. Well then, I beseech you presently 
make inquiry into your hearts, and give them no rest, till 
you find out your condition, that if it be good, you may re- 
joice in it and go on : and if it be bad, you may presently 
look about you for recovery, as men that believe they must 
Turn or Die. What say you, sirs, will you resolve and pro- 
mise to be at thus much labour for your souls ? Will you 
fall upon this self-examination when you come home ? Is 
my request unreasonable? Your consciences know it is 
not ; resolve on it then, before you stir ; knowing how much 



378 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

it concerneth your souls, I beseech you for the sake of that 
God that doth command you, at whose bar you will shortly 
appear, that you will not deny me this reasonable request. 
For the sake of those souls that must Turn or Die, I beseech 
you deny me not ; even but to make it your business to un- 
derstand your own conditions, and build upon sure ground, 
and know off or on, whether you are converted or no, and 
venture not your souls on negligent security. 

But perhaps you will say. What if we should find our- 
selves yet unconverted, what shall we do then ? This ques- 
tion leadeth me to my second doctrine ; which will do much 
to the answering of it, to which I shall now proceed. 

Doct. II. It is the promise of God, that the wicked shall 
live if they will but turn ; unfeignedly and thoroughly turn. 
The Lord here professeth, that this is it he takes plea- 
sure in, that the wicked Turn and Live. Heaven is made 
as sure to the converted, as hell is to the unconverted. 
Turn and Live, is as certain a truth as Turn or Die. God 
was not bound to provide us a Saviour, nor open to us the 
door of hope, nor call to us to repent and turn, when once 
we had cast ourselves away by sin. But he hath freely done 
it to magnify his mercy. Sinners, there are none of you 
shall have cause to go home and say, I preach desperation 
to you. Do we use to shut up the door of mercy against 
you ? O that you would not shut it up against yourselves ! 
Do we use to tell you that God will have no mercy on you, 
though you turn and be sanctified? When did you ever 
hear a preacher say such a word ? You that bark at the 
preachers of the Gospel, for desiring to keep you out of 
hell, and say that they preach desperation ; tell me if you 
can, when did you ever hear any sober man say, that there 
is no hope for you, though ye repent and be converted ? 
No, it is the clean contrary that we daily proclaim from the 
Lord, That whosoever is born again, and by faith and repen- 
tance doth become a new creature, shall certainly be saved ; 
and so far we are from persuading you to despair of this, 
that we persuade you not to make any doubt of it. It is 
life and not death, that is the first part of our message to 
you ; our commission is to offer salvation ; certain salva- 
tion, a speedy, glorious, everlasting salvation, to every one 
of you ; to the poorest beggar, as well as to the greatest 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 379 

lord ; to the worst of you, even to the drunkards, swearers, 
worldlings, thieves, yea, to the despisers and reproachers of 
the holy way of salvation. We are commanded by our 
Lord and Master, to offer you a pardon for all that is past, 
if you will but now at last return and live ; we are com- 
manded to beseech and entreat you to accept the offer and 
return ; to tell you what preparation is made by Christ, 
what mercy stays for you, what patience waiteth on you, 
what thoughts of kindness God hath towards you ; and how 
happy, how certainly and unspeakably happy, you may be 
if you will. We have indeed, also, a message of wrath and 
death : yea, of a twofold wrath and death ; but neither of 
them is our principal message : we must tell you of the 
wrath that is on you already, and the death that you are 
born under, for the breach of the law of works : but this is 
only to shew you the need of mercy, and provoke you to es- 
teem the grace of the Redeemer. And we tell you nothing 
but the truth, which you must know : for who will seek out 
for physic, that knows not that he is sick ? For telling you 
of your misery, is not it that makes you miserable, but dri- 
veth you to seek for mercy. It is you that have brought 
this death upon yourselves. We tell you also of another 
death, even remediless, and much greater torment will fall 
on those that will not be converted. But as this is true, 
and must be told you ; so it is but the last, and saddest 
part of our message ; we are first to offer you mercy, if you 
will turn : and it is only those that will not turn nor hear 
the voice of mercy, that we must foretel damnation to. 
Will you but cast away your transgressions, delay no lon- 
ger, but come away at the call of Christ, and be converted, 
and become new creatures, and we have not a word of damn- 
ing wrath or death to speak against you. I do here in the 
name of the Lord of Life proclaim to you all that hear me 
this day, to the worst of you, to the greatest, to the oldest 
sinner, that you may have mercy and salvation if you will 
but turn. There is mercy in God, there is sufficiency in the 
satisfaction of Christ, the promise is free, full and univer- 
sal : you may have life if you will but turn. But then, as 
you love your souls, remember what turning it is the Scrip- 
ture speaks of. It is not to mend the old house, but to pull 
down all, and build anew on Christ the rock and sure foun- 



380 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

dation. It is not to mend somewhat in a carnal course of life, 
but to mortify the flesh, and live after the Spirit. It is not to 
serve the flesh and the world in a more reformed way, without 
any scandalous disgraceful sins, and with a certain kind of re- 
ligiousness; but it is to change your master, and your works, 
and end, and set your face a contrary way, and do all for the 
life that you never saw, and dedicate yourselves, and all you 
have to God. This is the change that must be made, if you 
will live. 

Yourselves are witness now, that it is salvation and not 
damnation, that is the great doctrine I preach to you, 
and the first part of my message to you. Accept of this, 
and we shall go no further with you ; for we would not so 
much as affright or trouble you with the name of damnation 
without necessity. 

But if you will not be saved, there is no remedy, but 
damnation must take place ; for there is no middle place 
between the two. You must have either life or death. 

And we are not only to offer you life, but to shew you 
the grounds on which we do it, and call you to believe, that 
God doth mean indeed as he speaks ; that the promise is 
true, and extendeth conditionally to you as well as others, 
and that heaven is no fancy, but a true felicity. 

If you ask, where is our commission for this offer? 
Among a hundred texts of Scripture, I will shew it unto 
you in these few ; 

First, you see it here in my text, and the following 
verses ; and Ezek. xviii. as plain as can be spoke. And in 
2 Cor. V. 17 — 21. you have the very sum of our commission, 
(** If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. Old things 
are passed away, behold all things are become new. And 
all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by 
Jesus Christ, who hath given to us the ministry of reconci- 
liation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the 
world unto himself; not imputing their trespasses to them; 
and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God 
did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye 
reconciled unto God ; for he hath made him to be sin for 
us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteous- 
ness of God in him). So Mark xvi. 15, 16. " Go ye into 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 381 

the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He 
that believeth (that is, with such a converting faith as is 
expressed) and is baptized, shall be saved ; and he that be- 
lieveth not, shall be damned." And Luke xxiv. 46, 47. 
" Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead 
the third day, and that repentance (which is conversion) and 
remission of sins, should be preached in his name among all 
nations.*' And Acts v. 30, 31. "The God of our fathers 
raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree, him 
hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a 
Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of 
sins." And Acts xiii. 38, 39. ** Be it known unto you, 
therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preach- 
ed unto you the forgiveness of sins ; and by him all that 
believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not 
be justified by the law of Moses." And lest you think 
this offer is restrained to the Jews, see Gal. vi. 15. " For in 
Christ, neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncir- 
cumcision, but a new creature." And Luke xiv. 17. " Come, 
for all things are now ready ; and ver. 23, 24. 

You see by this time, that we are commanded to offer 
life to you all, and to tell you from God, that if you will 
Turn you may Live. 

Here you may safely trust your souls ; for the love of 
God is the fountain of this offer '. And the blood of the 
Son of God hath purchased it ; the faithfulness and truth of 
God is engaged to make the promise good ; miracles have 
sealed up the truth of it ; preachers are sent through the 
world to proclaim it ; the sacraments are instituted and used 
for the solemn delivery of the mercy offered, to them that 
will accept it ; and the Spirit doth open the heart to enter- 
tain it, and is itself the earnest of the full possession. So 
that the truth of it is past controversy, that the worst of 
you all, and every one of you, if you will but be converted, 
may be saved. 

Indeed, if you will needs believe you shall be saved with- 
out conversion, then you believe a falsehood ; and if I should 
preach that to you, I should preach a lie. This were not to 
believe God, but the devil and your own deceitful hearts. 
God hath his promise of life, and the devil hath his promise 

* John iii. 16. 



382 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

of life. God's promise is, ' Return and Live ;* the devil's 
is, ' Thou shalt live whether thou turn or not.' The words 
of God are, as I have shewed you, ** Except ye be converted 
and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the king- 
dom of heaven *." " Except a man be born again, he can- 
not enter into the kingdom of God "." " Without holiness 
none shall see God *." The devil's word is, ' You may be 
saved without being born again, and converted ; you may 
go to heaven well enough, without being holy; God doth 
but frighten you ; he is more merciful than to do as he 
saith ; he will be better to you than his word.' And, alas ! 
the greatest part of the world believe this word of the devil 
before the word of God, just as our first sin and misery came 
into the world. God saith to our first parents, * If ye eat 
ye shall die;' the devil contradicts him, and saith, * Ye 
shall not die ;' and the woman believed the devil before God. 
So now the Lord saith, ' Turn or Die ;' and the devil saith, 
' You shall not die if you do but cry mercy at last, and give 
over the acts of sin, when you can practise it no longer.' 
And this is the word that the world believes. O heinous 
wickedness, to believe the devil before God ! 

And yet that is not the worst, but blasphemously they 
call this a believing and trusting in God, when they put 
him in the shape of satan, who was a liar from the begin- 
ning ; and when they believe that the word of God is a lie, 
they call this a trusting God, and say they believe in him, 
and trust on him for salvation. Where did ever God say, 
that the unregenerate, unconverted, unsanctified, shall be 
saved ? Shew such a word in Scripture, I challenge you if 
you can. Why, this is the devil's word, and to believe it, is 
to believe the devil, and is the sin that is commonly called 
presumption. And do you call this a believing and trusting 
sGod ? There is enough in the word of God to comfort and 
strengthen the hearts of the sanctified. But not a word to 
strengthen the hands of wickedness, nor to give men the 
least hope of being saved, though they be never sanctified. 

But if you will turn, and come into the way of mercy, 
the mercy of the Lord is ready to entertain you. Then trust 
God for salvation boldly and confidently, for he is engaged 
by his word to save you. 

' Matt, xviii. 3. " John iii. 3. 5. " Heb. xii. 14. 



CALL TO THE UN CONVERT ED. 383 

He will be a father to none but his children, and he will 
save none but those that for^sake the world, the devil, and 
the flesh, and come into his family, to be members of his 
Son, and have communion with the saints. But if they will 
not come in, it is long of themselves ; his doors are open ; 
he keeps none back ; he never sent such a message as this 
to any of you, * It is now too late, I will not receive thee, 
though thou be converted.' He might have done so, and 
done you no wrong, but he did not, he doth not to this day, 
he is still ready to receive you, if you were but ready un- 
feignedly, and with all your hearts, to turn. And the ful- 
ness of this truth will yet more appear in the two following 
doctrines, which I shall, therefore, next proceed to, before I 
make a farther application of this. 

Doct. III. God taketh pleasure in men's conversion and 
salvation, but not in their death and damnation. He had 
rather they would return and live, than go on and die. 

I shall first teach you how to understand this ; and then 
clear up the truth of it to you. 

And for the first, you must observe these following 
things : 1. A simple willingness and complacency is the 
first act of the will, following the simple apprehension of the 
understanding, before it proceedeth to compare things to- 
gether. But the choosing act of the will is a following act, 
and supposeth the comparing practical act of the under- 
standing ; and these two acts may often be carried to con- 
trary objects, without any fault at all in the person. 

2. An unfeigned willingness may have divers degrees. 
Some things I am so far willing of, as that I will do all 
that lieth in my power to accomplish them. And some 
things I am truly willing another should do, when yet I will 
not do all that ever I am able to procure it, having many 
reasons to dissuade me therefrom ; though yet I will do all 
that belongs to me to do. 

3. The will of a ruler, as such, is manifest in making 
and executing laws ; but the will of a man in his simple na- 
tural capacity, or as absolute Lord of his own, is manifested 
in desiring or resolving of events. 

4. A ruler's will, as law-giver, is, first and principally, 
that his law be obeyed, and not at all that the penalty be ex- 
ecuted on any, but only on supposition that they will not 



384 CALL TO THR UNCONVERTED. 

obey his laws. But a ruler's will, as judge, supposeth the 
law already either kept or broken. And, therefore, he re- 
solveth on reward or punishment accordingly. 

Having given you these necessary distinctions, I shall 
next apply them to the case in hand, in these following pro- 
positions : 

1. It is in the glass of the word and creatures that in this 
life we must know God. And so, according to the nature of 
man, we ascribe to him understanding and will, removing all 
the imperfections that we can, because we are capable of no 
higher positive conceptions of him. 

2. And on the same grounds we do (with the Scriptures) 
distinguish between the acts of God's will, as diversified 
from the respects, or the objects, though as to God's essence 
they are all one. 

3. And the bolder, because that when we speak of 
Christ, we have the more ground for it from his human 
nature. 

4. And thus we say, that the simple complacency, will, 
or love of God, is to all that is naturally or morally good, 
according to the nature and degree of its goodness. And 
so he hath pleasure in the conversion and salvation of all, 
which yet will never come to pass. 

5. And God, as Ruler and Law-giver of the world, had 
so far a practical will for their salvation, as to make them a 
free deed of gift of Christ and life, and an act of oblivion for 
all their sins, so be it they will not unthankfully reject it; 
and to command his messengers to offer this gift to all the 
world, and persuade them to accept it. And so he doth all 
that, as Law-giver or Promiser, belongs to him to do for their 
salvation. 

6. But yet he resolveth, as Law-giver, that they that will 
not Turn, shall Die. And as Judge, when their day of grace 
is past, he will execute that decree. 

7. So that he thus unfeignedly willeth the conversion of 
those that never will be converted, but not as absolute Lord, 
with the fullest efficacious resolution, nor as a thing which 
he resolveth shall undoubtedly come to pass, or would en- 
gage all his power to accomplish. It is in the power of a 
prince to set a guard upon a murderer, to see that he shall 
not murder and be hanged. But if upon good reason he 



CALL TO THi: UNCONVERTED. 385 

forbear this, and do but send to his subjects, and warn and 
entreat them not to be murderers, I hope he may well say, 
that he would not have them murder and be hano;ed ; he 
takes no pleasure in it, but rather that they forbear, and 
live. And if he do more for some, upon some special rea- 
son, he is not bound to do so by all. The king may well 
say to all the murderers and felons in the land, * I have no 
pleasure in your death, but rather that you would obey my 
laws and live ; but if you will not, I am resolved for all this, 
that you shall die.' The judge may truly say to the thief, 
or a murderer, * Alas ! man, I have no delight in thy death, 
I had rather thou hadst kept the law, and saved thy life, but 
seeing thou hast not, I must condemn thee, or else I should 
be unjust.' So, though God have no pleasure in your dam- 
nation, and therefore calls upon you to return and live, 
yet he hath pleasure in the demonstration of his own justice, 
and the executing his laws ; and, therefore, he is for all this 
fully resolved, that if you will not be converted, you shall 
be condemned. If God were so much against the death of 
the wicked, as that he were resolved to do all that he can to 
hinder it, then no man should be condemned, whereas Christ 
telleth you, that few will be saved. But so far God is against 
your damnation, as that he will teach you and warn you, and 
set before you life and death, and offer you your choice, 
and command his ministers to entreat you not to damn *^ 
yourselves, but accept his mercy, and so to leave you with- 
out excuse ; but if this will not do, and if still you be un- 
converted, he professeth to you he is resolved of your dam- 
nation, and hath commanded us to say to you in his name, 
ver. 18. " O wicked man, thou shalt surely die !" And Christ 
hath little less than sworn it over and over, with a ** Verily, 
verily ; except ye be converted and born again, ye cannot 
enter into the kingdom of heaven y." Mark that he saith, 
" You cannot." It is in vain to hope for it, and in vain to 
dream,that God is willing of it ; for it is a thing that cannot be. 
In a word, you see then the meaning of the text, that 
God, the great Law-giver of the world, doth take no plea- 
sure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn 
and live ; though yet he be resolved that none shall live but 
those that turn ; and as a Judge even delighteth in justice, 

y Matt, xviii. 3. John iii. 3. 
VOL. VII. C C 



380 CALL TO THK UNCONVERTED. 

and manifesteth his hatred of sin, though not in their misery 
which they have brought upon themselves, in itself considered. 
2. And for the proofs of this point, I shall be very brief 
in them, because I suppose you easily believe it already. 

1. The very gracious nature of God proclaimed. Exodus 
xxxiv. 6. XX. 6. and frequently elsewhere, may assure you 
of this, that he hath no pleasure in your death. 

2. If God had more pleasure in thy death, than in thy 
conversion and life, he would not have so frequently com- 
manded thee in his word to turn, he would not have made 
thee such promises of life, if thou wilt but turn ; he would 
not have persuaded thee to it by so many reasons. The te- 
nor of his Gospel proveth the point. 

3. And his commission that he hath given to the minis- 
ters of the Gospel, doth fully prove it. If God had taken 
more pleasure in thy damnation, than in thy conversion and 
salvation, he would never have charged us to offer you men- 
cy, and to teach you the way of life, both publicly and pvi- 
vately ; and to entreat and beseech you to turn and live ; to 
acquaint you of your sins, and foretel you of your danger : 
and to do all that possibly we can for your conversion, and 
to continue patiently so doing, though you should hate or 
abuse us for our pains. Would God have done this and ap- 
pointed his ordinances for your good, if he had taken plea- 
sure in your death ? 

4. It is proved also by the course of his providence. If 
God had rather you were damned than converted and saved, 
he would not second his word with his works, and entice 
you by his daily kindness to himself, and give you all the 
mercies of this life, which are his means to lead you to re- 
pentance, and bring you so often under his rod, to force you 
into your wits. He would not set so many examples before 
your eyes ; no, nor wait on you so patiently as he doth from 
d^y to day, and year to year. These be not signs of one 
that taketh pleasure in your death ; if this had been his de- 
light, how easily could he have had thee long ago in hell ? 
How oft, before this, could he have catched thee away in 
the midst of thy sins, with a curse or oath, or lie in thy 
mouth, in thy ignorance and pride, and sensuality ; when 
thou wert last in thy drunkenness, or last deriding the ways 
of God ? How easily could he have stopped thy breath. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 387 

and tamed thee with his plagues, and made thee sober in- 
another world ? Alas ! how small a matter is it for the Al- 
mighty to rule the tongue of the profanest railer, and tie 
the hands of the most malicious persecutor ; or calm the 
fury of the bitterest of his enemies, and make them know 
they are but worms. If he should but frown upon thee, 
thou wouldst drop into thy grave. If he gave commission 
to one of his angels to go and destroy ten thousand sinners, 
how quickly would it be done ? How easily can he lay thee 
upon the bed of languishing, and make thee lie roaring there 
in pain, and make thee eat the words of reproach which 
thou hast spoken against his servants, his word, his wor- 
ship, and his holy ways ; and make thee send to beg their 
prayers, whom thou didst despise in thy presumption? 
How easily can he lay that flesh under gripes and groans, 
and make it too weak to hold thy soul, and make it more 
loathsome than the dung of the earth ? That flesh which 
now must have what it loves, and must not be displeased, 
and must be humoured with meat, drink, and clothes, what- 
soever God says to the contrary, how quickly would the 
frowns of God consume it ? When thou wast passionately 
defending thy sin, and quarrelling with them that would have 
drawn thee from it, and shewing thy spleen against the re- 
provers, and pleading for the works of darkness ; how easily 
could God snatch thee away in a moment, and set thee before 
his dreadful Majesty, where thou mayst see ten thousand 
times ten thousand of glorious angels waiting on his throne, 
and call thee there to plead thy cause, and ask thee, * What 
hast thou now to say against thy Creator, his truth, his ser- 
vants, or his holy ways ; now plead thy cause, and make the 
best of it thou canst. Now what canst thou say in excuse 
of thy sins ? Now give account of thy worldliness and 
fleshly life, of thy time, of all thy mercies thou hast had.' 
O how thy stubborn heart would have melted, and thy proud 
looks be taken down, and thy countenance appalled, and thy 
stout words turned into speechless silence, or dreadful cries ; 
if God had but set thee thus at his bar, and pleaded his 
own cause with thee, which thou hast here so maliciously 
pleaded against. How easily can he, at any time, say to thy 
guilty soul, * Come away, and live in that flesh no longer, till 
the resurrection,' and it cannot resist ? A word of his mouth, 



388 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

would take off the noise of thy present life, and then all thy 
parts and powers would stand still ; and if he say unto thee, 
' Live no longer ;' or * Live in hell,' thou couldst not disobey. 

But God hath yet done none of this ; but hath patiently 
forborne thee, and mercifully upheld thee, and given thee 
that breath which thou didst breathe out against him, and 
given those mercies which thou didst sacrifice to the flesh, 
and afforded thee that provision which thou spentest to sa- 
tisfy thy greedy throat : he gave thee every minute of that 
time which thou didst waste in idleness, and drunkenness, 
or worldliness. And doth not all his patience and mercy 
shew that he desired not thy damnation? Can the candle 
burn without the oil ? Can your houses stand without the 
earth to bear them ? As well as you can live one hour with- 
out the support of God. And why did he so long support 
thy life, but to see when thou wouldst bethink thee of the 
folly of thy ways, and return and live? Will any man pur- 
posely put arms into his enemy's hands to resist him? Or 
hold a candle to a murderer that is killing his childrexi ? 
Or to an idle servant that plays and sleeps the while ? Sure- 
ly it is to see whether thou wilt at last return and live, that 
God has so long waited on thee. 

5. It is further proved by the sufferings of his Son .that 
God taketh no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Would 
he have ransomed them from death at so dear a rate ? Would 
he have astonished angels and men by his condescension? 
Would God have dwelt in flesh, and have come in the form 
of a servant, and have assumed humanity into one person 
with the Godhead ? And would Christ have lived a life of 
suffering, and died a cursed death for sinners ; if he had ra- 
ther taken pleasure in their death ? Suppose you saw him 
but so busy in preaching and healing of them, as you find 
him in Mark iii. 21. ; or so long in fasting, as in Matt. iv. ; 
or all night in prayer, as in Luke vi. 12. ; or praying with 
drops of blood trickling from him instead of sweat, as Luke 
xxii. 44. ; or suffering a cursed death upon the cross, and 
pouring out his soul as a sacrifice for our sins : would you 
have thought these the signs of one that delighteth in the 
death of the wicked ? 

And think not to extenuate it by saying, that it was only 
for his elect. For it was thy sin, and the sin of all the 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 389 

world, that lay upon our Redeemer ; and his sacrifice and 
satisfaction is sufficient for all, and the fruits of it are offer- 
ed to one as well as another ; but it is true that it was neve 
the intent of his mind, to pardon and save any that would 
not by faith and repentance be converted. If you had seen 
and heard him weeping and bemoaning the state of disobe- 
dience in impenitent people, Luke xix. 41, 42., or complain- 
ing of their stubbornness, as Matt.xxiii. 37. " O Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, how oft would I have gathered thy children to- 
gether, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, 
and ye would not?" Or if you had seen and heard him on 
the cross, praying for his persecutors, " Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do;" would you have suspect- 
ed that he had delighted in the death of the wicked, even of 
those that perish by their wilful unbelief? *' When God 
hath so loved" (not only loved, but so loved) " the world as to 
give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him," 
(by an effectual faith,) '* should not perish, but have everlast- 
ing life," I think he hath hereby proved, against the ma- 
lice of men and devils, that he takes no pleasure in the death 
of the wicked, but had rather that they would Turn and Live. 

6. Lastly, If all this will not yet satisfy you, take his 
own word, that knoweth best his own mind, or at least be- 
lieve his oath. But this leadeth me up to the fourth doctrine. 

Doct, IV. The Lord hath confirmed it to us by his oath, 
that he hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but ra- 
ther that he Turn and Live ; that he may leave man no pre- 
tence to question the truth of it. 

If you dare question his word, I hope you dare not ques- 
tion his oath. As Christ hath solemnly protested, that the 
unregenerate and unconverted cannot enter into the king- 
dom of heaven, in Matt, xviii. 3. John iii. 3. ; so God hath 
sworn, that his pleasure is not in their death, but in their 
conversion and life. And as the apostle saith, Heb. Ai. 13. 
16 — 18. *' Because he can swear by no greater than himself, 
he saith. As I live, &c. For men verily swear by the greater, 
and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the 
heirs of promise, the immutability of his counsel, confirmed 
it by an oath : that by two immutable things, in which it was 
impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consola- 



390 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

tion, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set be- 
fore us ; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both 
sure and steadfast." If there be any man that cannot recon- 
cile this truth with the doctrine of predestination, or the ac- 
tual damnation of the wicked, that is his own ignorance ; he 
hath no pretence left to deny or question therefore the truth 
of the point in hand ; for this is confirmed by the oath of 
God, and therefore must not be distorted, to reduce it to 
other points, but doubtful points must rather be reduced to 
it, and certain truths must be believed to agree with it, though 
our shallow brains do hardly discern the agreement. 

USE. I do entreat thee, if thou be an unconverted sinner 
that hearest these words, that thou wouldst ponder a little 
upon the forementioned doctrines, and bethink thyself 
awhile, who it is that takes pleasure in thy sin and damna- 
tion. Certainly it is not God. He hath sworn for his part, 
that he takes no pleasure in it. And I know it is not the 
pleasing of him that you intend in it. You dare not say 
that you drink and swear, and neglect holy duties, and quench 
the motions of the Spirit, to please God. That were as if 
you should reproach the prince, and break his laws, and 
seek his death, and say, you did all this to please him. 

Who is it then that takes pleasure in your sin and death ? 
Not any that bear the image of God, for they must be like- 
minded to him. God knows, it is small pleasure to your 
faithful teachers, to see you serve your deadly enemy, and 
madly venture your eternal state, and wilfully run into the 
flames of hell. It is small pleasure to them, to see upon 
your souls (in the sad effects) such blindness, and hard- 
heartedness, and carelessness, and presumption ; such wil- 
fiilness in evil, and such uncharitableness, and stiffness, 
against the ways of life and peace ; they know these are 
marks of death, and of the wrath of God, and they know 
from the word of God what is like to be the end of them ; 
and therefore it is no more pleasure to them, than to a ten- 
der physician to see the plague-marks break out upon his 
patient. Alas ! to foresee your everlasting torments, and 
know not how to prevent them ! To see how near you are 
to hell, and we cannot make you believe it, and consider it I 
To see how easily, how certainly you might escape, if we 
knew but how to make you willing I How fair you are for 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 391 

everlasting salvation, if you would but turn and do your 
best, and make it the care and business of your lives ! But 
you will not do it, if our lives lay on it, we cannot persuade 
you to do it. We study day and night what to say to you, 
that may convince you, and persuade yon, and yet it is un- 
done : we lay before you the word of God, and shew you 
the very chapter and verse where it is written, that you 
cannot be saved except you be converted ; and yet we leave 
the most of you as we find you : we hope ye will believe the 
word of God, though you believe not us, and that you will 
regard it when we shew you plain Scripture for it : but we 
hope in vain, and labour in vain, as to any saving change 
upon your hearts. And do you think that this is a pleasant 
thing to us ? Many a time in secret prayers we are fain to 
complain to God with sad hearts, ' Alas, Lord, we have spo- 
ken it to them, in thy name, but they little regard us ; we 
have told them what thou bidst us tell them, concerning the 
danger of an unconverted state, but they do not believe us ; 
we have told them that thou hast protested, '* That there is 
no peace to the wicked '^," but the worst of them all will 
scarcely believe that they are wicked ; we have shewed them 
the word, where thou hast said, " That if they live 'after the 
flesh they shall die ''," but they say, they will believe in 
thee, when they will not believe thee : and that they will 
trust in thee, when they give no credit to thy word, and 
when they hope that the threatenings of thy word are false, 
they will yet call this a hoping in God ; and though we 
shew them where thou hast said, " That when a wicked man 
dieth, all his hopes perish^," yet cannot we persuade them 
from their deceitful hopes. We tell them what a base, un- 
profitable thing sin is, but they love it, and therefore will 
not leave it. We tell them how dear they buy their plea- 
sure, and what they must pay for it in everlasting torment, 
and they bless themselves and will not believe it, but will 
do as the most do ; and because God is merciful, they wiU 
not believe him, but will venture their souls, come on it 
what will. We tell them how ready the Lord is to receive 
them ; and this does but make them delay their repentance, 
and be bolder in their sin. Some of them say, they purpose 
to repent, but they are still the same ; and some say, they 

* I»a.xlTiu. tt. Itu. t\. • Hon>. viii. 13. ^ Pror. xi. 7. 



392 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

do repent already, while yet they are not converted from 
their sins. We exhort them, we entreat them, we offer them 
our help, but we cannot prevail with them, but they that 
were drunkards are drunkards still, and they that were vo- 
luptuous, flesh-pleasing wretches, are such still ; and they 
that were worldlings are worldlings still ; and they that 
were ignorant, proud and self-conceited, are so still. Few 
of them will see and confess their sin, and fewer will for- 
sake it, but comfort themselves that all men are sinners ; as 
if there were no difference between a converted sinner, and 
an unconverted. Some of them will not come near us when 
we are willing to instruct them, but think they know enough 
already, and need not our instruction : and some of them 
will give us the hearing, and do what they list ; and most 
of them are like dead men that cannot feel ; so that when 
we tell them of the matters of everlasting consequence, we 
cannot get a word of it to their hearts. If we do not obey 
them, and humour them in baptizing children of the most 
obstinately wicked, and giving them the Lord's supper, and 
doing all that they would have us, though never so much 
against the word of God, they will hate us, and rail at us ; 
but if we beseech them to confess and forsake their sins, 
and save their souls, they will not do it. We tell them if 
they will but turn, we will deny them none of the ordinances 
of God, neither baptism to their children, nor the Lord's 
supper to themselves ; but they will not hear us : they 
would have us to disobey God, damn our own souls to please 
them, and yet they will not turn, and save their own souls 
to please God. They are wiser in their own eyes than all 
their teachers ; they rage, and are confident in their own 
way ; and if we would never so fain we cannot change them. 
Lord, this is the case of our miserable neighbours, and we 
cannot help it ; we see them ready to drop into hell, and we 
cannot help it ; we know if they would unfeignedly turn, 
they mightbe saved ; but we cannot persuade them : if we 
would beg it of them on our knees, we cannot persuade them 
to it ; if we would beg it of them with tears, we cannot per- 
suade them : and what more can we do?' 

These are the secret complaints and moans that many a 
poor minister is fain to make, and do you think that he hath 
any pleasure in this ? Is it a pleasure to him to see you go 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 393 

on in sin and cannot stop you ? To see you so miserable, 
and cannot so much as make you sensible of it? To see you 
merry, when you are not sure to be an hour out of hell ? To 
think what you must for ever suffer because you will not 
turn ? And to think what an everlasting life of glory you 
wilfully despise and cast away ? What sadder things can 
you bring to their hearts, and how can you devise to grieve 
them more? 

Who is it then that you pleasure by your sin and death? 

It is none of your understanding, godly friends. Alas, it is 

the grief of their souls to see your misery, and they lament 

you many a time, when you give them little thanks for it, 

and when you have not hearts to lament yourselves. 

\ Who is it then that takes pleasure in your sin ? It is 

^one but the three great enemies of God, whom you re- 

iounced in your baptism, and now are turned falsely to serve. 

1 . The devil, indeed, takes pleasure in your sin and death ; 

fo- this is the very end of all his temptations : for this he 

w£tches night and day : you cannot devise to please him 

beter, than to go on in sin : how glad is he when he sees 

theegoing to the alehouse, or other sin ; and when he hear- 

eth t\ee curse, or swear, or rail. How glad is he when he 

heareh thee revile the minister that would draw thee from 

thy sii, and help to save thee ? These are his delight. 

2. ^he wicked are also delighted in it, for it is agreeable 
to theii nature. 

3. Itit I know, for all this, that it is not the pleasing of 
the devi that you intend, even when you please him ; but 
it is youiown flesh, the greatest and most dangerous enemy, 
tliat you intend to please. It is the flesh that would be pam- 
pred, that would be pleased in meat and drink, and cloth- 
iig, that would be pleased in your company, and pleased in 
applause and credit with the world, and pleased in sports 
aid lusts, and idleness ; this is the gulf that devoureth all. 
Tiis is the very God that you serve, for the Scripture saith 
osuch, " That their bellies are their God^" 

But I beseech you stay a little and consider the business. 

\1. Quest. Should your flesh be pleased before your 
Mker? Will you displease the Lord, and displease your 
teaher, and your godly friends, and all to please yourbrut- 

•= Phil. iii. 18. 



394 CALL TO THE UNCONVEKTED. 

ish appetites, or sensual desires ? Is not God worthy to be 
a ruler of your flesh ; if he shall not rule it, he will not save 
it; you cannot in reason expect that he should. 

2. Quest. Your flesh is pleased with your sin ; but is your 
conscience pleased ? Doth not it grudge within you, and 
tell you sometimes that all is not well, and that your case is 
not so safe as you make it to be ? And should not your 
souls and consciences,be pleased before that corruptible flesh ? 

3. Quest, But is not your flesh preparing for its own dis- 
pleasure also ? It loves the bait, but doth it love the hook ? 
It loves the strong drink and sweet morsels ; it loves its 
ease, and sport, and merriment, it loves to be rich, and well 
spoken of by men, and to be somebody in the world, but 
doth it love the curse of God ? Doth it love to stand trem- 
bling before his bar, and to be judged to everlasting fire. 
Doth it love to be tormented with the devils for ever ? Tate 
altogether ; for there is no separating sin and hell, but ony 
by faith and true conversion ; if you will keep one, you mist 
have the other. If death and hell be pleasant to thee no 
wonder then if thou go on in sin ; but if they be not (is I 
am sure they be not) then what if sin be never so plejsant, 
is it worth the loss of life eternal ? Is a little drink, meat, 
ease, the good word of sinners, or the riches of thisA'orld, 
to be valued above the joys of heaven? Or are the^ worth 
the sufferings of eternal fire? Sirs, these question? should 
be considered, before you go any farther, by every nan that 
hath reason to consider, and that believes he hath i soul to 
save or lose. 

Well, the Lord here sweareth that he hath no pfeasure in 
your death, but rather that you would Turn and Live : if 
yet you will go on and die, rather than turn, remember it 
was not to please God that you did it, it was to please tie 
world, and to please yourselves. And if men will dann 
themselves to please themselves, and run into endless tr- 
ments for delight, and have not the wit, the heart* the grce 
to hearken to God or man that would reclaim them, w^at 
remedy ? But they must take what they get by it, andre- 
pent in another manner, when it is too late. Before I ro- 
ceed any farther in the application, 1 shall come to the ^ext 
doctrine ; which giveth a fuller ground for it. 

Doct. V. So earnest is God for the conversion of sixers. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 396 

that he doubleth his commands and exhortations with ve- 
hemency ; *' Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?" 

This doctrine is the application of the former, as by a 
use of exhortation, and accordingly I shall handle it. I« 
there ever an unconverted sinner, that heareth these vehe- 
ment words of God ? Is there ever a man or woman in this 
assembly, that is yet a stranger to the renewing, sanctify- 
ing works of the Holy Ghost? (It is a happy assembly if 
it be not so with the most.) Hearken then to the voice of 
your Maker, and turn to him by Christ without delay. 
Would you know the will of God? Why this is his will, 
foat you presently turn. Shall the living God send so ear- 
nest a message to his creatures, and should they not obey ? 
Hearken then all you that live after the flesh ; the Lord that 
gare thee thy breath and being, hath sent a message to thee 
from heaven, and this is his message, " Turn ye, turn ye, 
why will ye die ?" " He that hath ears to hear, let him 
h^r." Shall the voice of the Eternal Majesty be neglected? 
If he do but terribly thunder, thou art afraid. O but this 
voite doth more nearly concern thee : if he do but tell thee 
thoushalt die to-morrow, thou wouldst not make light of 
it : O but this word concerneth thy life or death everlasting ! 
It is both a command and an exhortation : as if he had said 
to thee\ * I charge thee upon the allegiance thou owest to 
me thy Creator and Redeemer, that thou renounce the flesh, 
the worll, and the devil, and turn to me that thou mayst 
live. I condescend to entreat thee, as thou lovest or fearest 
him that nade thee ; as thou lovest thine own life, even 
thine evenasting life. Turn and Live ; as ever thou wouldst 
escape eternal misery. Turn, turn, ** for why wilt thou die ?" ' 
And is there a heart in man, in a reasonable creature, that 
can once refuse such a message, such a command, such an 
exhortation as this ? O what a thing then is the heart of man ! 
Hearken then, all that love yourselves and all that re- 
gird your own salvation. Here is the most joyful message 
tlat ever was sent to the ears of man, ** Turn ye, turn ye, 
wiy will you die V* You are not yet shut up under despe- 
ration. Here is mercy offered, turn and you shall have it. 
O^irs, with what glad and joyful hearts should you receive 
th6»e tidings ! I know that this is not the first time that 
youhave heard it : but how have you regarded it, or how 



396 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

do you regard it now ? Hear, all you ignorant, careless sin- 
ners, the word of the Lord ! Hear all you worldlings, you 
sensual fleshpleasers, you gluttons and drunkards, and 
whoremongers and swearers; you railers and backbiters, 
slanderers and liars ; ** Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ?" 
Hear all you cold and outside professors, and all that 
are strangers to the life of Christ, and never knew the power 
of his cross and resurrection, and never felt your hearts 
warmed with his love, and live not on him as the strength 
of your souls ; '* Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ?" 

Hear all that are void of the love of God, whose hearts 
are not towards him, nor taken up with the hopes of glorf, 
but set more by your earthly prosperity and delights, thin 
by the joys of heaven ; you that are religious but a littleon 
the bye, and give God no more than your flesh can spare ; 
that have not denied your carnal selves, and forsaken all thst 
you have for Christ, in the estimation and grounded resoU- 
tion of your souls, but have some one thing in the world so 
dear to you, that you cannot spare it for Christ, if he requ'res 
it, but will rather even venture on his displeasure, than for- 
sake it ; " Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ?" 

If you never heard it, or observed it before ; remember 
that ye were told it from the word of God this day, that if 
you will but turn, you may live ; and if you will not tarn you 
shall surely die. 

What now will you do sirs? What is your resolution ? 
Will you turn or will you not? Halt not any bnger be- 
tween two opinions : if the Lord be God follow hin ; if your 
flesh be God, then serve it still. If heaven be better than 
earth and fleshly pleasures, come away then and seek a bet- 
ter country, and lay up your treasure where rust and moths 
do not corrupt, and thieves cannot break through and steal, 
and be awakened at last with all your might, to seek thi 
kingdom that cannot be moved, Heb. xii. 28. And to eir- 
ploy your lives on a higher design, and turn the stream t£ 
your cares and labours, another way than formerly you ha^e 
done ; but if earth be better than heaven, or will do more br 
you, or last you longer, then keep it and make your bestof 
it, and follow it still. Sirs, are you resolved what to cb ? 
If you be not, I will set a few more moving considerations 
before you, to see if reason will make you resolve. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 397 

Consider first, what preparations mercy hath made for 
your salvation. And what pity it is that any man should be 
damned after all this. The time was, when the flaming 
sword was in the way, and the curse of God's law would 
have kept thee back, if thou hadst been never so willing to 
turn to God : the time was, when thyself, and all the friends 
that thou hadst in the world, could never have procured 
thee the pardon of thy sins past, though thou hadst never so 
much lamented, and reformed them. But Christ hath re- 
moved this impediment, by the ransom of his blood. The 
time was, that God was wholly unreconciled, as being not 
satisfied for the violation of his law : but now he is so far 
satisfied and reconciled, as that he hath made thee a free 
act of oblivion, and a free deed of the gift of Christ and 
life, and ofFereth it to thee, and entreateth thee to accept it, 
and it may be thine if thou wilt. For, " He was in Christ 
reconciling the world unto himself, and hath committed to 
us the word of actual reconciliation^.*' Sinners, we are 
commanded to do this message to you all, as from the Lord. 
" Come, for all things are ready *." Are all things ready, and 
are you unready ? God is ready to entertain you and par- 
don all that you have done against him, if you will but come. 
As long as you have sinned, as wilfully as you have sinned, 
as heinously as you have sinned, he is ready to cast all be- 
hind his back, if you will but come. Though you have been 
prodigals, and run away from God, and have staid so long, 
he is ready even to meet you, and embrace you in his arms, 
and rejoice in your conversion, if you will but turn. Even 
the earthly worldling and swinish drunkard, may find God 
ready to bid him welcome, if they will but come. Doth 
not this turn thy heart within thee ? O sinner, if thou hast 
a heart of flesh, and not of stone in thee, methinks this 
should melt it ; shall the dreadful Infinite Majesty of hea- 
ven, even wait for thy returning, and be ready to receive 
thee who hast abused him, and forgotten him so long? Shall 
he delight in thy conversion, that might at any time glorify 
his justice in thy damnation ? and doth it not yet melt thy 
heart within thee, and art thou not yet ready to come in? 
Hast thou not as much reason to be ready to come, as God 
hath to invite thee and bid thee welcome? 

'» « Cor. V. 18, 19. « Luke xiv. 17. 



398 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

But that is not all ; Christ hath done his part on the 
cross, and made such a way for thee to the Father that on 
his account thou mayst be welcome, if thou wilt come. And 
yet art thou not ready ? ' 

A pardon is already expressly granted, and offered thee 
in the Gospel. And yet art thou not ready ? 

The ministers of the Gospel are ready to assist thee, to 
instruct thee, and pronounce the absolving words of peace 
to thy soul ; they are ready to pray for thee, and to seal up 
thy pardon by the administration of the holy sacrament; and 
yet art thou not ready ? 

All that fear God about thee, are ready to rejoice in thy 
conversion, and to receive thee into the communion of saints, 
and to give thee the right hand of fellowship, yea, though 
thou hadst been one that had been cast out of their society ; 
they dare not but forgive where God forgiveth, when it is 
manifest to them by thy confession and amendment : they 
dare not so much as hit thee in the teeth with thy former 
sins, because they know that God will not upbraid thee with 
them. If thou hadst been never so scandalous, if thou 
wouldst but heartily be converted and come in, they would 
not refuse thee, let the world say what they would against 
it. And are all these ready to receive thee, and yet art thou 
not ready to come in ? 

Yea, heaven itself is ready ; the Lord will receive thee 
into the glory of the saints, as vile a beast as thou hast been, 
if thou wilt but be cleansed thou mayst have a place before 
his throne ; his angels will be ready to guard thy soul to 
the place of joy, if thou do but unfeignedly come in. And 
is God ready, the sacrifice of Christ ready, the promise 
ready, and pardon ready ? Are ministers ready, the people 
of God ready, and heaven itself ready, and angels ready, and 
all these but waiting for thy conversion, and yet art thou 
not ready ? What, not ready to live, when thou hast been 
dead so long? Not ready to come to thy right understand- 
ing ; (as the prodigal is said to come to himself, Luke xv. 
17.) when tliou hast been besides thyself so long? Not 
ready to be saved, when thou art even ready to be condem- 
ned ? Art thou not ready to lay hold on Christ that would 
deliver thee, when thou art even ready to drown, and sink 
into damnation ? Art thou not ready to be saved from hell. 



CALL TO THE UNCON VERTIiD. 39Q 

when thou art even ready to be cast remediless into it ; alas ! 
man, dost thou know what thou dost? If thou die uncon- 
verted, there is no doubt to be made of thy damnation : and 
thou art not sure to live an hour : and yet art thou not ready 
to turn, and to come in ? O miserable wretch ! Hast thou 
not served the flesh and the devil long enough ! Yet hast 
thou not enough of sin ? Is it so good to thee, or so pro- 
fitable for thee? Dost thou know what it is; that thou 
wouldst yet have more of it? Hast thou had so many calls, 
and so many mercies, and so many blows, and so many ex- 
amples ? Hast thou seen so many laid in the grave and yet 
art thou not ready to let go thy sins, and come to Christ? 
What, after so many convictions, and gripes of conscience, 
after so many purposes and promises, art thou not yet ready 
to turn and live? O that thy eyes, thy heart were opened, 
to know how fair an offer is now made to thee ! And what 
a joyful message it is that we are sent on, to bid thee come, 
for all things are ready. 

3. Consider also, what calls thou hast to Turn and Live. 
How many, how loud, how earnest, how dreadful, and yet 
what encouraging, joyful calls. 

For the principal inviter, it is God himself. He that 
commandeth heaven and earth, commandeth thee to Turn : 
and presently, without delay to Turn. He commandeth the 
sun to run its course, and to rise upon thee every morning ; 
and though it be so glorious a creature, and many times 
bigger than all the earth, yet it obeyeth him, and faileth not 
one minute of its appointed time. He commandeth all the 
planets, and orbs of heaven, and they obey. He command- 
eth the sea to ebb and flow, and the whole creation to keep 
its course, and all they obey him. The angels of heaven 
obey his will, when he sends them to minister to such silly 
worms as we on earth *. And yet if he command but a sin- 
ner to Turn, he will not obey him : he only thinks himself 
wiser than God, and he cavils and pleads the cause of sin, 
and will not obey. If the Lord Almighty says the word, 
the heavens and all therein obey him : but if he call a drun- 
kard out of an alehouse he will not obey : or if he call a 
worldly, fleshly sinner to deny himself, and mortify the flesh, 
and set his heart on a better inheritance, he will not obey. 

•^ Hcb. i. 14. 



400 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

If thou hadst any love in thee, thou wouldst know the 
voice, and say, ' O this is my Father's call ! How can I 
find in my heart to disobey V For the sheep of Christ do 
*' know and hear his voice ; and they follow him, and he 
giveth them eternal life^'* If thou hast any spiritual life 
and sense in thee, at least thou wouldst say, ' This call is 
the dreadful voice of God, and who dare disobey V For 
saith the prophet, " The lion hath roared, who will not fear e?" 
God is not a man that thou shouldst dally and play with 
him. Remember what he^said to Paul at his conversion, 
" It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks *>." Wilt 
thou yet go on and despise his word, and resist his Spirit, 
and stop thine ears against his call ? Who is it that will 
have the worst of this? Dost thou know whom thou dis- 
obeyest and contendest with, and what thou art doing ? It 
were a far wiser and easier task for thee, to contend with the 
thorns, and spurn them with thy bare feet, and beat them 
with thy bare hands, or put thy head into the burning fire. 
" Be not deceived, God will not be mocked *." Whosoever 
else be mocked God will not ; you had better play with the 
fire in your thatch, than with the fire of his burning wrath. 
" For our God is a consuming fire ^." O how unmeet a 
match are you for God : " It is a fearful thing to fall into 
his hands K" And therefore it is a fearful thing to contend 
with him, or resist him. As you love your own souls take 
heed what you do. What will you say, if he begin in wrath 
to plead with you ? What will you do if he take you once 
in hand? Will you then strive against his judgment, as 
now you do against his grace ? Saith the Lord " Fury is 
not in me :" that is, I delight not to destroy ; I do it as it 
were unwillingly but yet, " Who would set the briars and 
thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I 
would burn them together. Or let him take hold of my 
strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall 
make peace with me ""." It is an unequal combat for the 
briars and stubble to make war with the fire. 

And thus you see who it is that calleth you, that should 
move you to hear this call, and Turn : so consider also, by 
what instruments, and how often, and earnestly he doth it. 

f John xii. 4. i Amos iii. 8. *• Acts ix. 5- i Gal. vl. 7. 

k Heb. xii. 29. I Heb. x. 31. "' Tsa. xxvii. 4. 6. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 401 

1. Every leaf of the blessed Book of God hath, as it 
were, a voice, and calls out unto thee. " Turn and Live ; Turn 
or thou wilt Die." How canst thou open it, and read a leaf, 
or hear a chapter, and not perceive God bids thee Turn ? 

2. It is the voice of every sermon thou hearest ; for what 
else is the scope and drift of all, but to call, and persuade, 
and entreat thee to Turn ? 

3. It is the voice of many a motion of the Spirit, that 
secretly speaks over these words again, and urgeth thee to 
Turn. 

4. It is likely sometimes, it is the voice of thy own con- 
science. Art thou not sometimes convinced, that all is not 
well with thee ; and doth not thy conscience tell thee, that 
thou must be a new man, and take a new course, and often 
call upon thee to Return ? 

5. It is the voice of the gracious examples of the godly. 
When thou seest them live a heavenly life, and fly from the 
sin which is thy delight, this really calls upon thee to Turn. 

6. It is the voice of all the works of God. For they also 
are God's books that teach thee this lesson, by shewing 
thee his greatness, and wisdom, and goodness, and calling 
thee to observe them, and admire the Creator. " The hea- 
vens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth 
his handy works ; day unto day uttereth speech, night unto 
night sheweth knowledge °.'* Every time the sun riseth 
upon thee it really calleth thee to Turn, as if it should say, 
' What do I travel and compass the world for, but to declare 
to men the glory of their Maker, and to light them to do 
his work ? And do I still find thee doing the work of sin, 
and sleeping out thy life in negligence V " Awake thou that 
sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee 
light"." " The night is far spent, the day is at hand. It is 
now high time to awake out of sleep ; let us, therefore, cast 
off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of 
light. Let as walk honestly, as in the day ; not in rioting 
and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in 
strife and envying ; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts there- 
of p." (This text was the means of Augustine's conversion.) 

n Psal. xix, 1, «. o Eph. T. 14. p Rom xiil. 11— U- 

VOL.YII. D D 



402 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

7. It is the voice of every mercy thou dost possess. If 
thou couldst but hear, and understand them, they all cry out 
unto thee. Turn. Why doth the earth bear thee, but to 
seek and serve the Lord ? Why doth it afford thee fruit, but 
to serve him ? Why doth the air afford thee breath, but to 
serve him ? Why do all the creatures serve thee with their la- 
bours, and their lives, but that thou mightest serve the Lord 
of them and thee ? Why doth he give thee time, and health, 
and strength, but to serve him ? Why hast thou meat, drink, 
and clothes, but for his service ? Hast thou any thing which 
thou hast not received ? And if thou didst receive them, it is 
reason thou shouldst bethink thee from whom, and to what 
end and use, thou didst receive them. Didst thou never cry to 
him for help in thy distress ? And didst thou not then un- 
derstand that it was thy part to turn and serve him if he 
would deliver thee ? He hath done his part, and spared thee 
yet longer, and tried thee another and another year, and 
yet thou dost not Turn. You know the parable of the un- 
fruitful fig-tree "i. When the Lord had said, " Cut it down, 
why cumbereth it the ground ;" he was entreated to try it 
one year longer, and then, if it proved not fruitful, to cut it 
down. Christ himself there makes the application twice 
over, " Except ye repent, you shall all likewise perish ^" 
How many years hath God looked for the fruits of love and 
holiness from thee, and hath found none? And yet hath 
spared thee. How many times, by thy wilful ignorance, 
carelessness, and disobedience, hast thou provoked justice 
to say, " Cut him down, why cumbereth he the ground ?" 
And yet mercy hath prevailed, and patience hath forborne 
the killing, damning blow to this day. If thou hadst the 
understanding of a man within thee, thou wouldst know that 
all this calleth thee to Turn. *' Dost thou think thou shalt 
still escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the 
riches of his goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering ; not 
knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repent- 
ance ? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart, trea- 
surest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and 
revelation of the righteous judgment of God ; who will ren- 
der to every one according to his deeds ^" 

8. Moreover, it is the voice of every affliction, to call 

1 Luke xiii. 6—9, ' Ver. 3. 5. • Rom. ii. S-^6. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 403 

thee to make haste and Turn. Sickness and pain cry Turn. 
Poverty, the loss of friends, and every twig of the chastis- 
ing rod, cry Turn ; and yet wilt thou not hearken to the call ? 
These have come near thee, and made thee feel. They 
have made thee groan, and can they not make thee Turn ? 

9. The very frame of thy nature and being itself be- 
speaketh thy return. Why hast thou reason, but to rule thy 
flesh, and serve the Lord ? Why hast thou an understand- 
ing soul, but to learn and know his will, and do it ? Why 
hast thou a heart within thee that can love, fear, and desire, 
but that thou shouldst fear him, and love him, and desire 
after him ? 

10. Yea, thine own engagements by promise to the Lord 
do call upon thee to turn and serve him. Thou hast bound 
thyself to him by a baptismal covenant, and renounced the 
world, the flesh, and the devil ; this thou hast confirmed by 
the profession of Christianity, and renewed it at sacraments, 
and in times of affliction. And wilt thou promise, and vow, 
and never perform, and turn to God ? 

Lay all these together now, and see what should be the 
issue. The Holy Scriptures call upon thee to Turn ; the 
ministers of Christ do call upon thee to Turn ; the Spirit 
cries Turn ; thy conscience cries Turn ; the godly, by per- 
suasions and examples, cry Turn ; the whole world, and all 
the creatures therein that are presented to thy consideration, 
cry Turn : the patient forbearance of God cries Turn ; all 
the mercies which thou receivest, cry Turn ; the rod of God's 
chastisement cries Turn ; thy reason, and the frame of thy 
nature bespeaks thy Turning ; and so do all thy promises to 
God, and yet art thou not resolved to Turn ?] 

3. Moreover, poor hard-hearted sinner, didst thou ever 
consider upon what terms thou standeth all this while with 
him that calleth thee to Turn ? Thou art his own, and ow- 
est him thyself, and all thou hast : and may he not com- 
mand his own ? Thou art his absolute servant, and shouldst 
serve no other master. Thou standest at his mercy, and thy 
life is in his hand ; and he is resolved to save thee upon no 
other terms. Thou hast many malicious spiritual enemies, 
that would be glad if God would but forsake thee, and let 
them alone with thee, and leave thee to their will; how 
quickly would they deal with thee in another manner. And 



404 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

thou canst not be delivered from them, but by turning unto 
God. Thou art fallen under his wrath by thy sin already ; 
and thou knowest not how long his patience will yet wait. 
Perhaps this is the last year ; perhaps the last day. His 
sword is even at thy heart, while the word is in thine ear ; 
and if thou turn not, thou art a dead and undone man. 
Were thy eyes but open to see where thou standest, even 
upon the brink of hell, and to see how many thousands are 
there already that did not turn, thou wouldst see that it is 
time to look about thee. 

Well, sirs, look inwards now, and tell me how are your 
hearts affected with these offers of the Lord ? You hear 
what is his mind ; he delighteth not in your death. He 
calls to you. Turn, Turn ; it is a fearful sign, if all this move 
thee not, or if it do but half move thee ; and much more if 
it make thee more careless in thy misery, because thou hear- 
est of the mercifulness of God. The working of the medi- 
cine will partly tell us, whether there be any hope of the cure. 
O what glad tidings would it be to those that are now in 
hell, if they had but such a message from God ! What a 
joyful word would it be to hear this, * Turn and Live !' Yea, 
what a welcome word would it be to thyself, when thou hast 
felt that wrath of God but an hour; or, if after a thousand, and 
ten thousand years torment, thou couldst but hear such a 
word from God, * Turn and Live,' and yet wilt thou neglect 
it, and suffer us to return without our errand ? 

Behold, sinners, we are set here as the messengers of the 
Lord, to set before you life and death ; what say you, which 
of them will you choose ? Christ standeth, as it were, by thee, 
with heaven in one hand and hell in the other, and offereth 
thee thy choice ; which wilt thou choose ? The voice of 
the Lord maketh the rock to tremble *. And is it nothing 
to hear him threaten thee, if thou wilt not turn ? Dost thou 
not understand and feel this voice, " Turn ye, turn ye, why 
will ye Die ?" Why, it is the voice of love, of infinite love, 
of thy best and kindest friend, as thou mightest easily per- 
ceive by the motion, and yet canst thou neglect it ? It is the 
voice of pity and compassion. The Lord seeth whither thou 
art going, better than thou dost, which makes him call after 
thee, * Turn, turn.' He seeth what will become of thee, if 

» See Psal. xxix. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 405 

thou turn not : he thinketh with himself, ' Ah ! this poor 
sinner will cast himself into endless torment, if he do not 
turn: I must in justice deal with him according to my 
righteous law :' and therefore he calleth after thee, * Turn, 
turn.' O sinner! if thou didst but know the thousandth 
part as well as God doth, the danger that is near you, and 
the misery that you are running into, we should have no 
more need to call after you to Turn. 

Moreover, this voice that calleth to thee, is the same 
that hath prevailed with thousands already and called all to 
heaven that are now there : and they would not now for a 
thousand worlds that they had made light of it, and not 
turned to God. Now what are they possessing that turned 
at God's call ? Now they perceive indeed that it was the 
voice of love, that meant them no more harm than their sal- 
vation. And if thou wilt obey the same call thou shalt come 
to the same happiness. There be millions that must forever 
lament that they turned not, but there is never a soul in hea- 
ven that is sorry that they were converted. 

Well, sirs, are you yet resolved, or are you not ? Do I 
need to say any more to you, what will you do ? Will you 
turn or not ? Speak, man, in thy heart to God, though thou 
speak not out to me : speak, lest he take thy silence for a 
denial ; speak quickly, lest he never make thee the like of- 
fer more ; speak resolvedly, and not waveringly ; for he will 
have no indifFerents to be his followers. Say in thy heart 
now, without any more delay, even before you stir hence, 
* By the grace of God, I am resolved presently to turn. And 
because 1 know mine own insufficiency, I am resolved to 
wait on God for his grace, and follow him in his ways, and 
forsake my former courses and companions, and give up 
myself to the guidance of the Lord.* 

Sirs, you are not shut up in the darkness of heathenism, 
nor in the desperation of the damned. Life is before you, 
and you may have it on reasonable terms if you will ; yea, 
on free-cost if you will accept it. The way of God lieth 
plain before you, the church is open to you, and you may 
have Christ, pardon and holiness, if you will. What say 
you ? Will you or will you not ? If you say nay, or say 
nothing, and still go on, God is witness, and this congre- 
gation is witness, and your ow^ consciences are witness, how 



406 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

fair an offer you had this day. Remember you might have 
Christ, and you would not. Remember, when you have 
lost it, that you might have had eternal life, as well as others, 
and would not : and all this because you would not Turn ! 

But let us come to the next Doctrine, and hear your 
reasons. 

Doct. VI. The Lotd condescendeth to reason the case with 
unconverted sinners, and to ask them why they will die. 

A strange disputation it is, both as to the controversy ; 
and as to the disputants. 

1. The controversy or question propounded to dispute 
of, is, Why wicked men will damn themse^lves ? Or, Whe- 
ther they will die rather than turn ? Whether they have any 
sufficient reason for so doing ? 

2. The disputants are God and man : the most holy God, 
and wicked, unconverted sinners. 

Is it not a strange thing which God doth seem here to 
suppose, that any man should be willing to die, and be 
damned ; yea, that this should be the case of all the wicked : 
that is, of the greatest part of the world ? But you will say, 
* This cannot be ; for nature desireth the preservation and 
felicity of itself, and the wicked are more selfish than others, 
and not less ; and therefore how can any man be willing 
to be damned ? ' 

To which I answer, 1. It is a certain truth, that no man 
can be willing of any evil, as evil, but only as it hath some 
appearance of good ; much less can any man be willing to 
be eternally tormented. Misery, as such, is desired by 
none. 2. But yet for all that, it is most true, which God 
here teacheth us, that the cause why the wicked die and are 
damned, is, because they will die and be damned. And 
this is true in several respects. 

1. Because they will go the way that leads to hell, though 
they are told by God and man whether it goes and where it 
ends. And though God hath so often professed in his word, 
that if they hold on in that way they shall be condemned : 
and that they shall not be saved unless they Turn. " There 
is no peace (saith the Lord) unto the wicked "." '* The way 
of peace they know not ; there is no judgment in their going j 
they have made them crooked paths, whosoever goeth 

" Isa. xlviii, 22. Ivii. 21. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 407 

therein shall not know peace ''." They have the word, and 
the oath of the living God for it, that if they will not turn, 
they shall not enter into his rest. And yet wicked they are, 
and wicked they will be, let God and man say what they will : 
fleshly they are, and fleshly they will be ; worldlings they 
are, and worldlings they will be, though God hath told them, 
that " the love of the world is enmity to God ; and that if 
any man love the world, (in that measure) the love of the 
Father is not in him ?." So that consequentially these men 
are willing to be damned, though not directly : they are 
willing of the way to hell, and love the certain cause of their 
torment, though they be not willing of hell itself, and do 
not love the pain which they must endure. 

Is not this the truth of your case, sirs ? You would not 
burn in hell, but you will kindle the fire by your sins, and 
cast yourselves into it ; you would not be tormented with de- 
vils in hell, but you will do that which will certainly procure 
it in despite of all that can be said against it. It is j ust as if you 
would say, * I will drink this ratsbane, or other poison, but yet I 
would not die. I will cast myself headlong from the top of a 
steeple, but yet I will not kill myself. I will thrust my 
knife into my heart, but yet I will not take away my life. 
I will put this fire into the thatch of my house, but yet I 
will not burn it.* Just so it is with wicked men ; they will 
be wicked, and live after the flesh and the world, and yet 
they would not be damned. But do you not know, that the 
means do lead unto the end ? and that God hath, by his 
righteous law, concluded, that ye must repent or perish ? 
He that will take poison may as well say, * I will kill my- 
self,' for it will prove no better in the end : though perhaps 
he loved it for the sweetness of the sugar that was mixed 
with it, and would not be persuaded it was poison, but that 
he might take it and do well enough ; but it is not his con- 
ceits and confidence that will save his life. So if you will 
be drunkards, or fornicators, or worldlings, or live after the 
flesh, you may as well say plainly, * We will be damned ;' 
for so you shall be unless you turn. Would you not re-^ 
buke the folly of a thief or murderer that would say, * I will 
steal or kill, but I will not be hanged ;* when he knows, 
that if he do the one, the judge in justice will see that the 

« Isa. lix. R. ' James iv, 4. JohnH. 15. 



408 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

other be done. If he says, ' I will steal and murder/ he 
may as well say plainly, ' I will be hanged ;' so if you will 
go on in a carnal life, you may as well say plainly, * We 
will go to hell.* 

'2. Moreover, the wicked will not use those means with- 
out which there is no hope of their salvation : he that will 
not eat, may as well say plainly he will not live, unless he 
can tell how to live without meat. He that will not go his 
journey, may as well say plainly he will not come to the end. 
He that falls into the water, and will not come out, nor suf- 
fer another to help him out, may as well say plainly, he will 
be drowned. So if you be carnal and ungodly, and will not 
be converted, nor use the means by which you should be 
converted, but think it more ado than needs, you may as 
well say plainly, you will be damned. For if you have found 
out a way to be saved without conversion, you have done 
that which was never done before. 

3. Yea, this is not all, but the wicked are unwilling even 
of salvation itself. Though they may desire somewhat 
which they call by the name of heaven, yet heaven itself, 
considered in the true nature of the felicity, they desire not: 
yea, their hearts are quite against it. Heaven is a state of 
perfect holiness, and of continual love and praise to God, 
and the wicked have no heart to this. The imperfect love, 
praise, and holiness which is here to be obtained, they have 
no mind of; much less of that which is so much greater : 
the joys of heaven are of so pure and spiritual a nature, that 
the heart of the wicked cannot truly desire them. 

So that by this time you may see on what ground it is 
that God supposeth that the wicked are willing of their own 
destruction ; they will not Turn, though they must Turn or 
Die. They will rather venture on certain misery, than be 
converted ; and then to quiet themselves in their sins, they 
will make themselves believe, that they shall nevertheless 
escape. 

2. And as the controversy is matter of wonder (that ever 
men should be such enemies to themselves, as wilfully to 
cast away their souls), so are the disputants too. That God 
should stoop so low, as thus to plead the case with man ; 
and that man should be so strangely obstinate as to need all 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 409 

this in so plain a case ; yea, and to resist all this, when their 
own salvation lieth upon the issue. 

No wonder, if they will not hear us that are men, when 
they will not hear the Lord himself: as God saith, when he 
sent the prophet to the Israelites, " The house of Israel will 
not hearken unto thee : for they will not hearken unto me : 
For all the house of Israel are impudent, and hard-hearted V 
No wonder, if they can plead against a minister, or a godly 
neighbour, when they will plead against the Lord himself, 
even against the plainest passages of his word, and think they 
have reason on their side. * When they weary the Lord with 
their words,' they say, "Wherein have we wearied him*?" 
The priests that despised his name, durst ask, " Wherein 
have we despised thy name." And when they " polluted his 
altar, and made the tables of the Lord contemptible," they 
durst say, " Wherein have we polluted thee '' ? " But " Wo 
unto him (saith the Lord) that striveth with his Maker ! 
Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall 
the clay say to him that fashioneth it. What makest thou "" ?" 

Quest. * But why is it that God will reason the case 
with man V 

Answ. 1. Because that man, being a reasonable creature, 
is accordingly to be dealt with ; and by reason to be per- 
suaded and overcome. God hath therefore endowed them 
with reason, that they might use it for him. One would 
think a reasonable creature should not go against the clear- 
est and greatest reason in the world, when it is set before him. 

2. At least men shall see that God did require nothing 
of them that was unreasonable, but that whatever he com- 
mandeth them, and whatever he forbiddeth them, he hath 
all the right reason in the world on his side, and they have 
good reason to obey him, but none to disobey. And thus 
even the damned shall be forced to justify God, and confess 
that it was but reason that they should have turned to him, 
and they shall be forced to condemn themselves, and con- 
fess that they have little reason to cast away themselves by 
the neglecting of his grace in the day of their visitation. 

USE. Look up your best and strongest reasons sinners, 
if you will make good your way : you see now with whom 
you have to deal. What sayst thou unconverted, sensual 

" Eack. iii.r. • Mai. ii. 7. «> Mai. wi. 1. 7. • Isa. xlv. 9. 



410 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

wretch ? Darest thou venture upon a dispute with God : 
art thou able to confute him ? Art thou ready to enter the 
lists ? God asketh thee, ' Why wilt thou die?' Art thou 
furnished with a sufficient answer? Wilt thou undertake to 
prove that God is mistaken, and that thou art in the right ? 

what an undertaking is that ! Why either he or you is 
mistaken, when he is for your conversion, and you are 
against it. He calls upon you to turn, and you will not : he 
bids you do it presently, even to-day, while it is called to- 
day, and you delay, and think it time enough hereafter. He 
saith, it must be a total change, and you must be holy and 
new creatures, and born again ; and you think that less may 
serve the turn, and that it is enough to patch up the old 
man, without becoming new. Who is in the right now, God 
or you ? God calleth on you to turn, and to live a holy life, 
and you will not ; by your disobedient lives it appears you 
will not. If you will, why do you not ? Why have you not 
done it all this while ? And why do you not fall upon it 
yetj? Your wills have the command of your lives. We may 
certainly conclude, that you are unwilling to turn, when you 
do not turn. And why will you not ? Can you give any 
reason for it, that is worthy to be called a reason ? 

I that am but a worm, your fellow-creature, of a shallow 
capacity, dare challenge the wisest of you all to reason the 
case with me, while I plead my Maker's cause, and I need 
not be discouraged, when I know I plead but the cause that 
God pleadeth, and contend for him that will have the best 
at last. Had I but these two general grounds against you, 

1 am sure that you have no good reason on your side. 

1. I am sure it can be no good reason, which is against 
the God of truth and reason ; it cannot be light that is con- 
trary to the sun. There is no knowledge in any creature, 
but what it had from God ; and therefore none can be wiser 
than God. It were damnable presumption for the highest 
angel to compare with his Creator, what is it then for a 
lump of dirt, an ignorant sot, that knoweth not himself, nor 
his own soul ; that knoweth but little of the things which 
he seeth, yea, that is more ignorant than many of his neigh- 
bours, to set himself against the wisdom of the Lord ? It is 
one of the fullest discoveries of the horrible wickedness of 
carnal men, and the stark madness of such who sin, that so 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 411 

silly a mole dare contradict his Maker, and call in question 
the word of God : yea, that those people in our parishes, 
that are so beastly ignorant, that they cannot give us a rea- 
sonable answer, concerning the very principles of religion, 
and yet so wise in their own conceit, that they dare question 
the plainest truths of God, yea, contradict them, and cavil 
against them, when they can scarce speak sense, and will be- 
lieve them no farther than agreeth with their foolish wisdom. 
2. And as I know that God must needs be in the right, 
so I know the case is so palpable and gross which he plead- 
eth against, that no man can have reason for it. Is it pos- 
sible that a man can have any good reason to break his mas- 
ter's laws, and reason to dishonour the Lord of glory, and 
reason to abuse the Lord that bought him ? Is it possible 
that a man can have any good reason to damn his own im- 
mortal soul ? Mark the Lord's question, " Turn ye, turn 
ye. Why will ye die ? Is eternal death a thing to be desired ? 
Are you in love with hell ? What reason have you wilfully 
to perish ? If you think you have some reason to sin, should 
you not remember that *' death is the wages ofsin*^ ?" And 
think whether you have any reason to undo yourselves, body 
and soul for ever ? You should not only ask whether you 
love the adder, but whether you love the sting. It is such 
a thing for a man to cast away his everlasting happiness, 
and to sin against God, that no good reason can be given 
for it ; but the more any one pleads for it, the more mad he 
sheweth himself to be. Had you a lordship or a kingdom 
offered to you, for every sin that you commit, it were not 
reason but madness to accept it. Could you by every sin 
obtain the highest thing on earth that flesh desireth, it were 
of no considerable value to persuade you in reason to com- 
mit it. If it were to please your greatest and dearest friends, 
or obey the greatest prince on earth, or to save your lives, 
or to escape the greatest earthly misery, all these are of no 
consideration to draw a man in reason to the committing of 
one sin. If it were a right hand, or a right eye that would 
hinder your salvation, it would be the most gainful way to 
cast it away, rather than go to hell to save it. For there is 
no saving a part, when you lose the whole. So exceedingly 
great are the matters of eternity, that notliing in this world 

«* Roni. vi. iS. 



412 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

deserveth once to be named in comparison with them, nor 
can any earthly thing, though it were life, and crowns, and 
kingdoms, be a reasonable excuse for matters of so high and 
everlasting consequence. A man can have no reason to 
cross his ultimate end. Heaven is such a thing, that if you 
lose it, nothing can supply the want, or make up the loss. 
And hell is such a thing, that if you suffer it, nothing can re- 
move your misery, or give you ease and comfort. And 
therefore nothing can be a valuable consideration to excuse 
you for neglecting your own salvation. For saith our 
Saviour, " What shall it profit a man to win all the world 
and lose his own soul*." 

O, sirs ! did you but know what matters they are, we are 
now speaking to you of! The saints in heaven have other 
kind of thoughts of these things. If the devil could come 
to them that live in the sight and love of God, and should 
offer them a cup of ale, or a whore, or merry company, or 
sport to entice them away from God, and glory, I pray you 
tell me, how do you think they would entertain the motion. 
Nay, if he should offer them to be kings on the earth, do 
you think this would entice them down from heaven ? O, 
with what hatred, and holy scorn would they disdain, and 
reject the motion ; and why should not you do so that havp 
heaven opened to your faith, if you had but faith to see it ? 
There is never a soul in hell, but knows by this time, that it 
was a mad exchange to let go heaven for fleshly pleasure : 
and that it is not a little mirth, or pleasure, or worldly riches 
or honour, or the good will, or the word of men that will 
quench hell-fire, or make him a saver that loseth his soul. 
O if you had heard what I believe, if you had seen what I 
believe, and that on the credit of the word of God, you 
would say, there can be no reason to warrant a man to damn 
his soul ; you durst not sleep quietly another night, before 
you had resolved to Turn and Live. 

If you see a man put his hand into the fire till it burn off, 
you marvel at it ; but this is a thing that a man may have 
reason for, as Bishop Cranmer had when he burnt off his 
hand for subscribing to Popery. If you see a man cut off 
a leg, or an arm, it is a sad sight ; but this is a thing a man 
may have good reason for ; as many a man doth to save his 

• Mark viii. 36. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 413 

life. |f you see a man give his body to be burnt to ashes, 
and to be tormented with strappadoes and racks, and refuse 
deliverance when it is offered ; this is a hard case to flesh 
and blood. But this a man hath good reason for ; as you 
may see in Heb. xi. 33 — 36. And as many a hundred mar- 
tyrs have done. But for a man to forsake the Lord that 
made him, and for a man to run into the fire of hell, when he 
is told of it, and entreated to turn, that he may be saved; 
this is a thing that can have no reason in the world, that is 
reason indeed, to justify, or excuse it. For heaven will pay 
for the loss of any thing that we can lose to get it, or for 
any labour which we bestow for it. But nothing can pay 
for the loss of heaven. 

I beseech you now, let his word come nearer to your 
hearts. As you are convinced you have no reason to des- 
troy yourselves, so tell me what reason you have to refuse 
to turn, and live to God ; what reason hath the veriest world- 
ling, or drunkard, or ignorant, careless sinner of you all, why 
you should not be as holy as any you know, and be as care- 
ful for your souls as any other ? Will not hell be as hot to 
you as to others ? Should not your own souls be as dear to 
you, as theirs to them ? Hath not God as much authority 
over you? Why then will ye not become a sanctified peo- 
ple, as well as they ? 

O sirs, when God bringeth down the matter to the very 
principles of nature, and shews you that you have no more 
reason to be ungodly, than you have to damn your own 
souls : if yet you will not understand and Turn, it seems a 
desperate case that you are in. 

And now either you have reason for what you do, or you 
have not. If not, will you go on against reason itself? Will 
you do that which you have no reason for? But if you 
think you have, produce them, and make the best of your 
matter, reason the case a little while with your fellow-crea- 
ture, which is far easier than to reason the case with God. 
Tell me, man, here, before the Lord, as if thou wert to die 
this hour, why shouldst thou not resolve to turn this day, 
before thou stir from the place thou standest in? What 
reason hast thou to deny, or to delay ? Hast thou any rea- 
son that satisfieth thine own conscience for it? Or any 
that thou darest own and plead at the bar of God ? If thou 



414 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

hast, let us hear them, bring them forth, and make them 
good. But alas ! what poor stuff, what nonsense, instead of 
reasons, do we daily hear from ungodly men ? But for their 
necessity, I should be ashamed to name them. 

ii; One saith, ' If none shall be saved but such convert- 
ed and sanctified ones as you talk of, heaven would be but 
empty ; then God help a great many.' 

Answ. What, it seems you think God doth not know, or 
else that he is not to be believed : measure not all by your- 
self; God hath thousands and millions of his sanctified 
ones ; but yet they are few in comparison of the world, as 
Christ himself hath told us in Matt. vii. 13, 14. and Luke 
xii. 32. It better beseems you to make that use of this 
truth which Christ teacheth you ; " Strive to enter in at the 
straight gate ; for straight is the gate, and narrow is the 
way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it : but 
wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to des- 
truction, and many there be that go in thereat h" " And 
fear not little flock, (saith Christ to his sanctified ones,) for 
k is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom ^** 

Object. 2. * I am sure if such as I go to hell, we shall 
have store of company.' 

Answ, And will that be any ease or comfort to you ? Or 
do you think you may not have company enough in heaven? 
Will you be undone for company ? Or will you not believe 
that God will execute his threatenings, because there are so 
many that are guilty ? All these are silly, unreasonable 
conceits. 

Object. 3. ' But all men are sinners, even the best of 
you all.' ; n 5/j.ai «io/ .iii9 ' 

Amw. But all are not unconverted sinners. The godly 
live not in gross sins ; and their very infirmities are their 
grief and burden, which they daily long, and pray, and strive 
to be rid of. Sin hath not dominion over them. 

Object, 4. * I do not see that professors are any better 
than other men : they will overreach and oppress, and are 
as covetous as any.* 

Answ. Whatever hypocrites are, it is not so with those 
that are sanctified. God hath thousands and ten thousands 
that are otherwise. Though the malicious world doth ac- 

' Luke xiu. 2?— 24. « Luke xii. 23. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 415 

cuse them of what they can never prove, and of that which 
never entered into their hearts. And commonly they charge 
them with heart-sins, which none can see but God ; be- 
cause they can charge them with no such wickedness in their 
lives, as they are guilty of themselves. ' i-^vfh lAno> 

Object, 5. * But I am no whoremonger, nor drunkard, nor 
oppressor ; and therefore why should you call upon me to 
be converted ?* ^itiouB uiio o 

Ansio. As if you were not born after the flesh, and had 
not lived after the flesh, as well as others. Is it not as great 
a sin, as any of these, for a man to have an earthly mind, 
and to love the world above God, and to have a faithless, 
unhumbled heart ? Nay, let me tell you more, that many 
persons that avoid disgraceful sins, are fast glued to the 
world, -and as much slaves to the flesh, and as strange to 
God, and averse to heaven in their more civil course, as 
others are in their more shameful, notorious sins. i' 

Object. 6. * But I mean nobody any harm, or do no harm ; 
and why then should God condemn me V ii .i.'' '^h/y^u^ 

Amw, Is it no haim to neglect the Lord that made thee, 
and the work for which thou camest into the world, and prefer 
the creature before the Creator, and neglect grace that is 
daily offered thee ? It is the depth of thy sinfulness, to be 
insensible of it. The dead feel not that they are dead. If 
once thou wert made alive, thou wouldst see more amiss in 
thyself, and marvel at thyself for making so light of it. 

Object. 7. ' I think you will make men mad under a pre- 
tence of converting them : it is enough to rack the brains of 
simple people, to muse so much on matters too high forthem.* 
^:^Answ, 1. Can you be madder than you are already? Or 
at least, can there be a more dangerous madness, than to 
neglect your everlasting welfare, and wilfully- uado youv^ 
selves? ' f}(t: • irtioJ !)s»irat'a« ov 

-' 2. A man is never well in his wits till he be converted ; 
he neither knows God, nor sin, nor Christ, nor the world, 
nor himself, nor what his business is on the earth, so as to 
set himself about it, till he be converted. The Scripture 
saith that the wicked are unreasonable men ^\ and *' that the 
wisdom of the world is foolishness with God V' and Lukt 
XV. 17. it is said of the prodigal, " that when he came to 

»» % Th«». iii. «. » i Cor. \. 20. ^ 



416 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

himself," he resolved to Return. It is a wise world when 
men will disobey God, and run to hell for fear of being out 
of their wits. 

3. What is there in the work that Christ calls you to, 
that should drive a man out of his wits i Is it the loving of 
God, and calling upon him, and comfortable thinking of the 
glory to come, and the forsaking of our sins, and the loving 
of one another, and delighting ourselves in the service of 
God ? Are these such things as should make men mad? 

4. And whereas you say, that these matters are too high 
for us, you accuse God himself for making this our work, 
and giving us his word, and commanding all that will be 
blessed, to meditate in it day and night. Are the matters 
which we are made for, and which we live for, too high for 
us to meddle with ? This is plainly to unman us, and to 
make beasts of us, as if we were like to them that must 
meddle with no higher matters than what belongeth to flesh 
and earth, if heaven be too high for you to think on, and to 
provide for, it will be too high for you ever to possess. . 

5. If God should sometimes suffer any weak-headed 
person to be distracted by thinking of eternal things ; this 
is because they misunderstand them, and run without a 
guide. And of the two, I had rather be in the case of such 
an one, than of the mad, unconverted world, that take their 
distraction to be their wisdom. 

Object. 8. * I do not think that God doth care so much 
what men think, or speak, or do, as to make so great a mat- 
ter of it.' 

Answ» It seems then, you take the word of God to be 
false, and then what will you believe? But your own rea- 
son might teach you better, if you believe not the Scriptures : 
for you see God doth not set so light by us, but that he 
vouchsafed to make us, and still preserveth us, and daily 
upholdeth us, and provideth for us ; and will any wise man 
make a curious frame for nothing ? Will you make, or Buy 
a clock, or a watch, and daily look to it, and not care whe- 
ther it go true or false ? Surely if you believe not a parti- 
cular eye of Providence observing your hearts and lives, 
you cannot believe or expect any particular Providence to 
observe your wants and troubles, to relieve you. And if 
God had so little cared for you, as you imagine, you would 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 417 

never have lived till now : a hundred diseases would have 
striven which should first destroy you. Yea, the devil 
would have haunted you, and fetched you away alive, as the 
great fishes devour the less ; and as ravenous beasts and 
birds devour others. You cannot think that God made 
man for no end or use : and if he made him for any, it was 
sure for himself. And can you think he cares not whether 
his end be accomplished, and whether we do the work that 
we are made for ? 

Yea, by this atheistical objection, you make God to 
have made, and upheld all the world, in vain. For what are 
all other lower creatures for, but for man ? What doth the 
earth but bear us, and nourish us ? And the beasts do serve 
us with their labours aud lives : and so of the rest. And 
hath God made so glorious an habitation, and set man to 
dwell in it, and made all his servants ; and now doth he 
look for nothing at his hands ? Nor care how he thinks, 
or speaks, or lives ? This is most unreasonable. 

Object, 9. ' It was a better world when men did not make 
so much ado in religion.' 

Answ, It hath ever been the custom to praise the time 
past. That world that you speak of, was wont to say. It 
was a better world in our forefathers' days, and so did they 
of their forefathers. This is but an old custom, because we 
all feel the evil of our own times, but we see not that which 
was before us. 

2. Perhaps you speak as you think : worldlings think 
the world is at the best, when it is agreeable to their minds ; 
and when they have most mirth and worldly pleasure. And 
I doubt not but the devil, as well as you, would say, that 
then it was a better world ; for then he had more service, 
and less disturbance ; but the world is best, when God is 
most loved, regarded and obeyed. And how else will you 
know when the world is good or bad, but by this ? 

Object. 10. ' There are so many ways and religions, that 
we know not which to be of; and therefore we will be even 
as we are.' 

Answ. Because there are many, will you be of that way 
that you may be sure is wrong ? None are farther out of 
the way, than worldly, fleshly, unconverted sinners. For 
they do not err in this or that opinion, as many sects do; 

VOL. VII. E E 



418 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

but in the very scope and drift of their lives. If you were 
going a journey that your life lay on, would you stop or 
turn again, because you meet some cross-ways, or because 
you see some travellers go the horse-way, and some the 
foot-way, and some perhaps break over the hedge, yea, and 
some miss the way? Or would you not rather be more 
careful to inquire the way ? If you have some servants that 
know not how to do your work right, and some that are un- 
faithful, would you take it well at any of the rest, that 
would therefore be idle and do you no service, because 
they see the rest so bad ? 

Object. 11. * I do not see that it goes any better with 
those that are so godly, than with other men. They are as 
poor, and in as much trouble as others. 

Amw, And perhaps in much more, when God sees it 
meet. They take not an earthly prosperity for their wages. 
They have laid up their treasure and hopes in another 
world, or else they are not Christians indeed. The less 
they have, the more is behind : and they are content to 
wait till then. 

Object. 12. * When you have said all that you can, I am 
resolved to hope well, and trust in God, and do as well as 
I can, and not make so much ado.' 

Answ, 1. Is that doing as well as you can, when you will 
not turn to God, but your heart is against his holy and di- 
ligent service ? It is as well as you will, indeed : but that 
is your misery. 

2. My desire is that you should hope and trust in God. 
But for wh9,t is it that you will hope ? Is it to be saved, if 
you turn and be sanctified ? For this you have God's pro- 
mise ; and therefore hope for it, and spare not ; but if you- 
hope to be saved without conversion and a holy life, this 
is not to hope in God, but in satan, or yourselves; for God 
hath given you no such promise, but told you the contrary ; 
but it is satan and self-love that made you such promises, 
and raised you to such hopes. 

Well, if these, and such as these, be all you have to say 
against conversion, and a holy life, your all is nothing, and 
worse than nothing ; and if these, and such as these, seem 
reasons sufficient to persuade you to forsake God, and cast 
yourselves into hell, the Lord deliver you from such reasons. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 419 

and from such blind understandings, and from such sense- 
less, hardened hearts. Dare you stand to every one of 
these reasons at the bar of God ? Do you think it will then 
serve your turn, to say, * Lord I did not turn, because I had 
so much to do in the world, or, because I did not like the 
lives of some professors, or, because I saw men of so many 
minds V O how easily will the light of that day confound 
and shame such reasons as these ! Had you the world to 
look after? Let the world which you served, now pay you 
your wages, and save you if it can ! Had you not a better 
world to look after first ? And were ye not commanded to 
seek first God's kingdom and righteousness, and promised, 
that other things should be added to you''? And were you 
not told, " that godliness was profitable to all things, having 
the promise of this life, and of that which is to come ^ ? Did 
the sins of professors hinder you ? You should rather have 
been the more heedful, and learned by their falls to beware ; 
and have been the more careful, and not the more careless ; 
it was the Scripture and not their lives, that was your rule. 
Did the many opinions of the world hinder you ? Why, the 
Scripture that was your rule, did teach you but one way, and 
that was the right way ; if you had followed that, even in so 
much as was plain and easy, you would never have miscar- 
ried. Will not such answers as these confound and silence 
you ? If these will not, God hath those that will. When 
he asketh the man, Matt. xxii. 12. "Friend how earnest 
thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment?" That 
is, what dost thou in my church amongst professed Chris- 
tians, without a holy heart and life ? What answer did he 
make ? Why, the text saith, '* He was speechless," he had 
nothing to say. The clearness of the case, and the majesty 
of God, will then easily stop the mouths of the most confi- 
dent of you, though you will not be put down by any thing 
that we can say to you now, but will make good your cause, 
be it never so bad. I know already, that never a reason 
that now you can give me, will do you any good at last, when 
your case must be opened before the Lord and all the world. 
Nay, I scarce think that your own consciences are well 
satisfied with your reasons. For if they are, it seems then 
you have not so much as a purpose to repent : but if you do 

*»■ Matt. Ti. S3. » 1 Tim. !▼. 8. 



420 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

but purpose to repent, it seems you do not put much confi- 
dence in your reasons which you bring against it. 

What say you, unconverted sinners? Have you any 
good reason to give, why you should not Turn, and present- 
ly Turn with all your hearts ? Or, will you go to hell in des- 
pite of reason itself? Bethink you what you do, in time, 
for it will shortly be too late to bethink you. Can you find 
any fault with God, or his work, or wages ? Is he a bad 
master? Is the devil whom you serve a better? Or is the 
flesh a better ? Is there any harm in a holy life? Is a life 
of worldliness and ungodliness better? Do you think in 
your conscience, that it would do you any harm to be con- 
verted, and live a holy life? What harm can it do you? 
Is it harm to you to have the Spirit of Christ within you ? 
And to have a cleansed, purified heart? If it be bad to be 
holy, why doth God say, " Be ye holy, for I am holy ^ V* 
Is it evil to be like God ? Is it not said, that " God made 
man in his own image ?" Why, this holiness is his image : 
this Adam lost, and this Christ by his word and Spirit would 
restore to you, as he doth to all that he will save. Why were 
you baptized into the Holy Ghost ; and why do you baptize 
your children into the Holy Ghost, as your Sanctifier, if ye 
will not be sanctified by him, but think it a hurt to be sanc- 
tified ? Tell me truly, as before the Lord, though you are 
loath to live a holy life, had you not rather die in the case 
of those that do so, than of others ? If you were to die this 
day, had you not rather die in the case of a converted man, 
than of the unconverted ? Of a holy and heavenly man, 
than of a carnal, earthly man ? And would you not say as 
Balaam, ** Let me die the death of the righteous, and let 
my last end be like his° ?" And why will you not now be 
of the mind that you will be of then ? First or last you 
must come to this ; either to be converted, or to wish you 
had been, when it is too late. 

But what is it you are afraid of losing if you Turn ? Is 
it your friends ? You will but change them : God will be 
your friend, and Christ and the Spirit will be your friend, 
and every Christian will be your friend. You will get one 
friend that will stand in more stead than all the friends in 
the world could have done. The friends you lose would 

« 1 Pet. i. 15, 16. Lev. XX. 7. « Numb, xxiii. 10. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 42 J 

have but enticed you to hell, but could not have delivered 
you ; but the friend you get will save you from hell, and 
bring you to his own eternal rest. 

Is it your pleasures that you are afraid of losing? You 
think you shall never have a merry day again, if once you be 
converted. Alas ! that you should think it a greater plea- 
sure to live in foolish sports and merriments, and please 
your flesh, than live in the believing thoughts of glory, and 
in the love of God, and in righteousness, and peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost, in which the state of grace consisteth. 
If it be a greater pleasure to you to think of your lands and 
inheritance, (if you were lord of all the country,) than it is 
to a child to play with pins ; why should it not be a greater 
joy to you to think of the kingdom of heaven being yours, 
than all the riches or pleasures of the world ? As it is but 
foolish childishness that makes children so delight in gawds, 
that they would not leave them for all your lands ; so it is 
but foolish worldliness, and fleshliness, and wickedness, 
that makes you so much delight in your houses, and lands, 
and meat, and drink, and ease, and honour, as that you would 
not part with them for heavenly delights. But what will 
you do for pleasure when these are gone ? Do you not think 
of that? When your pleasures end in horror, and go out 
with a stinking snuff, the pleasures of the saints are then 
at the best. I have had myself but a little taste of the hea- 
venly pleasures, in the forethoughts of the blessed approach- 
ing day, and in the present persuasions of the love of God in 
Christ ; but I have taken too deep a draught of earthly plea- 
sures, (so that you may see, if I be partial, it is on your side,) 
and yet I must profess from that little experience, that there 
is no comparison. There is more joy to be had in a day (if 
the sun of life shine clear upon us), in the state of holiness, 
than in a whole life of sinful pleasure ; I had " rather be a 
door-keeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents 
of wickedness. A day in his courts is better than a thou- 
sand" any where else »*. The mirth of the wicked is like the 
laughter of a madman, that knows not his own misery : and 
therefore Solomon saith of such laughter, " it is mad, and of 
mirth, what doth it? — It is better to go to the house of 
mourning, than to go to the house of feasting ; for that is 

V Psal. Ixxxiv. 10. 



422 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart. 
Sorrow is better than laughter ; for by the sadness of the 
countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the 
wise is in the house of mourning, "but the heart of fools is 
in the house of mirth. It is better to hear the rebuke of the 
wise, than to hear the song of fools ; for as the crackling of 
thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool*^." All the 
pleasure of fleshly things, is but like the scratching of a 
man that hath the itch ; it is his disease that makes him 
desire it : and a wise man had rather be without his plea- 
sure, than be troubled with his itch. Your loudest laugh- 
ter is but like that of a man that is tickled, he laughs when 
he hath no cause of joy. And it is a wiser thing for a 
man to give all his estate and his life, to be tickled to make 
him laugh, than for you to part with the love of God, and the 
comforts of holiness, and the hopes of heaven, and to cast 
yourselves into damnation, that you may have your flesh 
tickled with the pleasure of sin for a little while. Judge as 
you are men whether this be a wise man's part. It is your 
carnal, unsanctified nature that makes a holy life seem grie- 
vous to you, and a course of sensuality seem more delight- 
ful. If you will but Turn, the Holy Ghost will give you ano- 
ther nature and inclination, and then it will be more plea- 
sant to you to to be rid of your sin, than now it is to keep 
it ; and you will then say that you knew not what a comfor- 
table life was till now, and that it was never well with you, 
till God and holiness were your delight. 

Quest. * But how cometh it to pass, that men should be 
so unreasonable in the matters of salvation ? They have wit 
enough in other matters ; what makes them so loath to be 
converted, that there should need so many words in so plain 
a case 5 and all will not do, but the most will live and die 
unconverted V 

Answ. To name them only in few words, the causes are 
these. 

1. Men are naturally in love with earth and flesh, they 
are born sinners, and their nature hath an enmity to God 
and godliness, as the nature of a serpent hath to a man. And 
when all that we can say, goes against the habitual inclina- 
tions of their natures, no marvel if it little prevail. 

"i Eccl. ii. 2. vii. 2. 6. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED, 423 

2. They are in darkness and know not the very things 
that they hear. Like a man that was born blind, and hears 
a high commendation of the light : but what will hearing do, 
unless he sees it? They know not what God is, nor what is 
the power of the cross of Christ, nor what the Spirit of ho- 
liness is, nor what it is to live in love by faith. They know 
not the certainty, and suitableness, and excellency of the 
heavenly inheritance. They know not what conversion, and 
a holy mind and conversation are, even when they hear of 
them. They are in a mist of ignorance, they are lost and 
bewildered in sin, like a man that hath lost himself in the 
night, and knows not where he is, nor how to come to him- 
self again, till the daylight do recover him. 

3. They are wilfully confident that they need no conver- 
sion, but some partial amendment; and that they are in the 
way to heaven already, and are converted, when they are 
not. And if you meet a man that is quite out of his way, 
you may long enough call on him to turn back again, if he 
will not believe you that he is out of the way. 

4. They are become slaves to their flesh, and drowned in 
the world to make provision for it. Their lusts, and pas- 
sions, and appetites have distracted them, and got such a 
hand over them, that they cannot tell how to deny them, or 
how to mind any thing else. So that the drunkard saith, 
* I love a cup of good drink and cannot forbear it.' The 
glutton saith, * I love good cheer, and I cannot forbear/ The 
fornicator saith, ' I love to have my lusts fulfilled, and I can- 
not forbear.' And the gamester loveth to have his sports, 
and he cannot forbear. So that they are even become cap- 
tivated slaves to their flesh, and their very wilfulness is be- 
come an impotency, and what they would not do, they say 
they cannot. And the worldling is so taken up with earthly 
things, that he hath neither heart, nor mind, nor time for hea- 
venly ; but as in Pharaoh's dream, the lean kine did eat 
up the fat ones ; so this lean and barren earth do eat up all 
the thoughts of heaven. 

5. Some are so carried away by the stream of evil com- 
pany, that they are possessed with hard thoughts of a godly 
life, by hearing them speak against it : or at least they think 
they may venture to do as they see most do; and so they 
hold on in their sinful ways. And when one is cut ofl^ and 

' Gen. ili. 4. 



424 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

cast into hell, and another snatched away from among them, 
to the same condemnation, it doth not much daunt them, 
because they see not whither they are gone. Poor wretches ! 
They hold on in their ungodliness for all this ; for they little 
know that their companions are now lamenting it in torments. 
In Luke xvi. the rich man in hell would fain have had one to 
warn his five brethren, lest they should come to that place 
of torment. It is like he knew their minds and lives, and 
knew that they were hasting thither, and little dreamed that 
he was there ; yea, and little would have believed one that 
should have told them so. I remember a passage a gentle- 
man told me he saw upon a bridge over the Severn ', A man 
was driving a flock of fat lambs, and something meeting 
them and hindering their passage^ one of the lambs leaped 
upon the wall of the bridge, and his legs slipping from under 
him, he fell into the stream, and the rest seeing him, did 
one after another leap over the bridge into the stream, and 
were all, or almost all, drowned. Those that were behind, 
did little know what was become of them that were gone be- 
fore, but thought that they might venture to follow their 
companions. But as soon as ever they were over the wall 
and falling headlong, the case was altered. Even so it is 
with unconverted, carnal men. One dieth by them, and 
drops into hell, and another follows the same way ; and yet 
they will go after them, because they think not whither they 
are going. Oh ! but when death has once opened their eyes, 
and they see what is on the other side of the wall, even in ano- 
ther world, then what would they give to be where they were? 
6. Moreover, they have a subtle, malicious enemy, that 
is unseen of them, and plays his game in the dark ; and it is 
his principal business to hinder their conversion; and there- 
fore to keep them where they are, by persuading them not to 
believe the Scriptures, or not to trouble their minds with 
these matters ; or by persuading them to think ill of a godly 
life, or to think that it is more ado than needs, and that they 
may be saved without conversion, and without all this stir ; 
and that God is so merciful, that he will not damn any such 
as they, or, at least, that they may stay a little longer, and 
take their pleasure, and follow the world a little longer yet, 
and then let it go, and repent hereafter ; and by such jug- 

•■ Mr, R. Rowley, of Shrewsbury, upon Acliam bridge. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 425 

gling, deluding cheats as these, the devil keeps most in his 
captivity, and leadeth them to his misery. 

These, and such like impediments as these, do keep so 
many thousands unconverted, when God hath done so much, 
and Christ hath suffered so much, and ministers have said so 
much, for their conversion ; when their reasons are silenced, 
and they are not able to answer the Lord that calls after 
them, '* Turn ye, turn ye, why] will ye die ?" yet all comes 
to nothing with the greatest part of them ; and they leave 
us no more to do after all, but to sit down and lament their 
wilful misery. 

I have now shewed you the reasonableness of God's com- 
mands, and the unreasonableness of wicked men's disobe- 
dience. If nothing will serve turn, but men will yet refuse 
to Turn, we are next to consider who it is long of if they be 
damned. And this brings me to the last Doctrine ; which is, 
Doct. VII. That if, after all this, men will not turn, it is 
not long of God that they are condemned but of themselves, 
even their own wilfulness. They die because they will die, 
that is, because they will not Turn. 

If you will go to hell, what remedy ? God here acquits 
himself of your blood ; it shall not lie on him if you be lost. 
A negligent minister may draw it upon him ; and those that 
encourage you, or hinder you not, in sin, may draw it upon 
them ; but be sure of it, it shall not lie upon God. Saith 
the Lord concerning his unprofitable vineyard, " Judge I 
pray you, between me and my vineyard, what could have 
been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done to it?" 
When he had " planted it in a fruitful soil, and fenced it, 
and gathered out the stones, and planted it with the choic- 
est vines*." What should he have done more to it? He 
hath made you men, and endued you with reason ; he hath 
furnished you with external necessaries, all creatures are at 
your service; he hath given you a righteous, perfect law; 
when you had broke it, and undone yourselves, he had pity 
on you, and sent his Son by a miracle of condescending 
mercy to die for you, and be a sacrifice for your sins, and he 
" was in Christ reconciling the world to himself." The 
Lord Jesus hath made you a deed of gift of himself, and 
eternal life with him, on the condition you will but accept it, 

• 1m. v. 1—4. 



426 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

and return. He hath on this reasonable condition, offered 
you the free pardon of all your sins : he hath written this in 
his word, and sealed it by his Spirit, and sent it you by his 
ministers ; they have made the offer to you a hundred and 
a hundred times, and called you to accept it, and turn to 
God. They have in his name entreated you, and reasoned 
the case with you, and answered all your frivolous objec- 
tions. He hath long waited on you, and staid your leisure ; 
and suffered you to abuse him to his face. He hath mer- 
cifully sustained you in the midst of your sins : he hath 
compassed you about with all sorts of mercies : he hath 
also intermixed afflictions, to mind you of your folly, and 
call you to your wits : and his Spirit hath been often striv- 
ing with your hearts, and saying there, ' Turn sinner, turn 
to him that calleth thee : whither art thou going ? What 
art thou doing ? Dost thou know what will be the end ? 
How long wilt thou hate thy friends, and love thine ene- 
mies? When wilt thou let go all, and Turn, and deliver up 
thyself to God, and give thy Redeemer the possession of thy 
soul? When shall it once be?' These pleadings have 
been used with thee ; and when thou hast delayed, thou hast 
been urged to make haste, and God hath called to thee. 
*' To-day, while it is called to-day, harden not your heart ? 
Why not now without any more delay V Life hath been set 
before you ; the joys of heaven have been opened to you in 
the Gospel : the certainty of them hath been manifested ; 
the certainty of the everlasting torments of the damned 
hath been declared to you, unless you would have had a 
sight of heaven and hell, what could you desire more ? 
Christ hath been, as it were, set forth crucified before your 
eyes. Gal. iii. 1. You have been a hundred times told, that 
you are but lost men, till you come unto him ; as oft as you 
have been told of the evil of sin, and of the vanity of sin, 
the world, and all the pleasures and wealth it can afford ; of 
the shortness and uncertainty of your lives, and the endless 
duration of the joy or torment of the life to come. All this 
and more than this, have you been told, and told again, 
even till you were weary of hearing it, and till you could 
make the lighter of it, because you had so often heard it ; 
like the smith's dog, that is brought, by custom, to sleep 
under the noise of the hammers, when the sparks do fly about 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 427 

his ears ; and though all this have not converted you, yet 
you are alive, and might have mercy, to this day, if you had 
but hearts to entertain it. And now let reason itself be 
judge, whether it be long of God or you, if after all this you 
will be unconverted, and be damned ? If you die now it is 
because you will die. What should be said more to you ? 
Or what course should be taken, that is more like to prevail? 
Are you able to say and make it good, ' We would fain have 
been converted and become new creatures, but we could 
not ; we would have changed our company, and our thoughts, 
and our discourse, but we could not.* Why could you not 
if you would ? What hindered you, but the wickedness of 
your hearts? Who forced you to sin? Or who did hold 
you back from duty ? Had you not the same teaching, and 
time, and liberty to be godly as your godly neighbours had ? 
Why then could you not have been godly as well as they? 
Were the church doors shut against you, or did you not 
keep away yourselves? Or sit and sleep, or hear as if you 
did not hear ? Did God put in any exceptions against you 
in his word, when he invited sinners to return, and when he 
promised mercy to those that do return ? Did he say, ' I will 
pardon all that repent, except thee V Did Jie shut you out 
from the liberty of his holy worship ? Did he forbid you to 
pray to him any more than others ? You know he did not. 
God did not drive you away from him, but you forsook him, 
and run away yourselves. And when he called you to him, 
you would not come. If God had excepted you out of the 
general promise and offer of mercy, or had said to you, ' Stand 
off, I will have nothing to do with such as you ; pray not to 
me, for I will not hear you. If you repent never so much, 
and cry for mercy never so much, I will not regard you.' If 
God had left you nothing to trust to but desperation, then 
you had had a fair excuse. You might have said, ' To what 
end should I repent and turn, when it will do no good V 
But this was not your case. You might have had Christ to 
be your Lord and Saviour, your Head and Husband, as well 
as others, and you would not ; because that ye felt not 
yourselves sick enough for the physician ; and because you 
could not spare your disease ; in your hearts ye said as those 
rebels, Luke xix. 14. *' We will not have this man to reign 
over us." Christ would have gathered you under the wings 



428 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

of his salvation, and you would not*. What desires of your 
welfare did the Lord express in his holy word? With what 
compassion did he stand over you and say, *' O that my 
people had hearkened unto me, and that they had walked in 
my way "." " O that there were such a heart in this people, 
that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments 
always, that it might be well with them, and with their chil- 
dren for ever ''." " O that they were wise, that they under- 
stood this ; and that they would consider their latter end y." 
He would have been your God, and done all for you that 
your souls could well desire : but you loved the world and 
your flesh above him ; and, therefore, you would not hear- 
ken to him ; though you complimented with him, and gave 
him high titles, yet when he came to the closing, you would 
have none of him. No marvel then, if " he gave you up to 
your own heart's lusts, and you walked in your own coun- 
sels ^." He condescends to reason, and pleads the case with 
you, and asks you, ** What is there in me, or my service, that 
you should be so much against me ? What harm have I done 
thee, sinner? Have I deserved this unkind dealing at thy 
hands ? Many mercies have I shewed thee ; for which of 
them dost thou despise me? Is it I, or is it satan, that is 
thy enemy ? Is it I, or is it thy carnal self that would un- 
do thee ? Is it a holy life, or a life of sin, that thou hast 
cause to fly from? If thou be undone, thou procurest this 
to thyself, by forsaking me the Lord, that would have saved 
thee *." " Doth not thine own wickedness correct thee, and 
thy sin reprove thee. Thou mayst see that it is an evil and 
bitter thing, that thou hast forsaken me ^." " What iniquity 
have ye found in me, that you have followed after vanity, 
and forsaken me ^.*' He <jalleth out, as it were, to the brutes 
to hear the controversy that he hath against you. " Hear 
O mountains, the Lord's controversy, and ye strong foun- 
dations of the earth ; for the Lord hath a controversy with 
his people, and he will plead with Israel. O my people, 
what have I done to thee, and wherein have I wearied thee, 
testify against me ; for I brought thee out of Egypt, and re- 
deemed thee ^" " Hear, O heavens, and give ear O earth, 

* Matt, xxiii. 27. " Psal. Ixixl 13. " Deut. v. 29. 

y Deut. xxxii. 29. ^ Psal. Ixxxi. 11, 12. » Jer. ii. 17. 

b Jer. ii. 19. c jgr. ii. 5, 6. a Mic. vi. 2— ,> 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED 429 

for the Lord hath spoken. I have nourished and brought 
up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox 
knovi^eth his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but Israel 
doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah, sinful 
nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers*!" 
&c. " Do you thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and 
unwise ? Is not he thy father that bought thee, and estab- 
lished thee^?" When he saw that you forsook him even for 
nothing, and turned away from your Lord and life, to hunt 
after the chaff and feathers of the world, he told you of your 
folly, and called you to a more profitable employment. 
" Wherefore do you spend your money for that which is not 
bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not ? Hear- 
ken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and 
let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and 
come unto me ; hear, and your soul shall live, and I will 
make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mer- 
cies of David. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, 
call ye upon him, while he is near. Let the wicked forsake 
his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him 
return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and 
to our God, for he will abundantly pardon s." And so Isa. 
i. 16 — 18. And when you would not hear, what complaints 
have you put him to, charging it on you as your wilfulness, 
and stubbornness? " Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and 
be horribly afraid ; for my people have committed two evils ; 
they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters ; and 
hewed them out cisteims, broken cisterns, that can hold no 
water ^.'* Many a time hath Christ proclaimed that free in- 
vitation to you, ** Let him that is athirst come : and whoso- 
ever will, let him take the water of life freely '." But you 
put him to complain after all his offers ; " They will not 
come to me that they may have life ''." He hath invited you 
to feast with him in the kingdom of his grace ; and you have 
had excuses from your grounds, and your cattle, and your 
worldly business, and when you would not come, you have 
said you could not, and provoked him to resolve that you 
should never taste of his supper '. And who is it long of 

* Isa. i. ie--4. ' Deuf. xxxU. 6. r ba. Ir. 1-.^. 6, 7. 

•* Jer. ii. If, 15. • Rev. xxYu 17 ^ John v. 40. 

^ Luke xiv. 15— «3. 



430 CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

now but yourselves ? And what can you say is the chief 
cause of your damnation, but your own wills ? You would 
be damned. The whole case is laid open by Christ himself, 
Prov. i. 20. to the end : " Wisdom crieth without, she utter- 
eth her voice in the streets : she crieth in the chief place of 
concourse. How long, ye simple ones, will ye love sim- 
plicity, and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools 
hate knowledge ? Turn you at my reproof; behold, I will 
pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words 
unto you. Because I have called and ye refused, I have 
stretched out my hand, and no man regarded ; but ye have 
set at naught all my counsel, and would have none of my re- 
proof : I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when 
your fear cometh ; when your fear cometh as desolation, and 
your destruction cometh as a whirlwind ; when distress and 
anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they callupon me, but 
I will not answer ; they shall seek me early, but they shall 
not find me ; for that they hated knowledge, and did not 
choose the fear of the Lord. They would none of my coun- 
sel; they despised all my reproof: therefore shall they eat 
of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own 
devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, 
and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso 
hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from 
the fear of evil.'* I thought best to recite the whole text at 
large to you, because it doth so fully shew the cause of the 
destruction of the wicked. It is not because God would not 
teach them but because they would not learn. It is not be- 
cause God would not call them, but because they would not 
turn at his reproof. Their wilfulness is their undoing. 

USE. From what hath been said, you may further learn 
these following things : 

1. From hence you may see, not only what blasphemy 
and impiety it is, to lay the blame of men's destruction upon 
God : but also how unfit these wicked wretches are, to bring 
in such a charge against their Maker. They cry out upon 
God, and say, he gives them no grace, and his threatenings 
are severe, and God forbid that all should be damned that be 
not converted and sanctified, and they think it hard mea- 
sure, that a short sin should have an endless suffering ; and 
if they be damned, they say, they cannot help it. When in 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 431 

the meantime they are busy about their own destruction, 
even cutting the throat of their own souls, and will not be 
persuaded to hold their hand. They think God were cruel 
if he should damn them, and yet they are cruel to themselves, 
and they will run into the fire of hell, when God hath told 
them it is a little before them ; and neither entreaties nor 
threatenings, nor any thing that can be said, will stop them. 
We see them almost undone ; their careless, worldly, fleshly, 
lives do tell us, that they are in the power of the devil ; we 
know, if they die before they are converted, all the world 
cannot save them; and knowing the uncertainty of their 
lives, we are afraid every day lest they drop into the fire. 
And, therefore, we entreat them to pity their own souls, and 
not to undo themselves when mercy is at