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city of getting to heaven, but we are all invited thither, and that by God himself, for he would have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." Yea, he hath sworn by himself, saying, 'As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live;' and therefore calls upon us all, Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die, O house of Israel?' Hence it is that he sent his prophets to invite us, Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.' Yea, he came down in his own person to earth, on purpose to invite us to heaven, and to direct us the way thither: Come to me,' saith he, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Whence we may observe, that there is no exception made against any person whatsoever, nor by consequence against any of us. It is the will, yea, and command of God too, that we all turn from our evil way and live, and that every soul amongst us walk in that narrow way that leads to eternal bliss; and therefore if any of us do perish, 'Our blood will be upon our own heads, our destruction is from ourselves.' For it is nothing but the perverseness of our own hearts, that can keep any soul of us out of heaven, however difficult it is to come thither. For God hath shown how desirous he is to have our company


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1 Tim. ii. 4.

3 Isaiah, lv. 1.
5 John, iii. 16.

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2 Ezek. xxxiii. 11.

4 Matt. xi. 29.

6 Hos. xiii. 9.

there, in that he is still pleased to grant us both the space and means of repentance. If he had no mind to have us saved, he could have shut us up long ago in hell; but he is so far from that, that he doth not only as yet continue our abode on earth, and lengthen our tranquillity here, but he still vouchsafes unto us whatsoever is necessary, yea, whatsoever can any ways conduce to our eternal happiness; we have his Scriptures, we have his sabbaths, we have his ordinances, we have his sacraments, we have his ministers, we have the promise of his Spirit, we have the overtures of Christ, and of all the merits of his death and passion made unto us; and what can be desired more to make men happy? and yet, as if all this had not been enough, he still continues calling upon us, exhorting, commanding, yea, and beseeching us most affectionately to turn, that our souls may live; for we his ministers are ambassadors to mankind for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: We pray you in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God." And he hath sent me unto you that read this, in a particular manner at this time, to call you back out of the broad way that leads to death, into the narrow way that leads to life and happiness; 'in his name, therefore, I exhort, yea, and beseech you by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.' Strive to enter in at the strait gate,' and never leave till you have got possession of eternal glory.


Nor let us be discouraged at any difficulties that we meet with in the way, for they will soon be

1 2 Cor. v. 20.

2 Rom. xii. 1.



over; howsoever hard and difficult any duty may seem at first, by use and custom it will soon grow easy. The worst is at our first setting out; when once we have been used awhile to walk in this narrow way, we shall find it to be both easy and pleasant: for as the wise man tells us, the ways of wisdom or true piety are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." Though it be rough at first, by treading it will soon grow plain; we shall soon find the words of Christ to be true, that his yoke is easy, and his burden light.'' All is but to be willing and obedient, and resolved upon it, to press through all difficulties whatsoever to get to heaven, and then by the merits of Christ's passion, and the assistance of his grace, we need not fear but we shall come thither.


And verily, although the way to heaven should prove not only narrow, but hedged in with briars and thorns, so that we should meet with nothing but crosses and troubles in our going to it, yet heaven will make amends for all. For we may well reckon with the apostle, that the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.'3 So that whatsoever pains we are at, whatsoever trouble we suffer in order to our attaining everlasting happiness, bears no proportion at all to the happiness we attain by it; which is so great, so exceeding great, that our tongues can neither express, nor our minds as yet conceive it; consisting not only in the freedom from all evil, but also in the enjoyment of what is really and truly good; even whatsoever can any way conduce to the making us perfectly

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3 Rom. viii. 18.


and completely happy: so that no duty can be too great to undertake, no trouble too heavy to undergo for it. Wherefore, that I may use the words of the apostle to my readers, My beloved brethren, be ye steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord."


By this time I hope we are all resolved within ourselves to follow our Saviour's counsel and advice, even to strive to enter in at the strait gate,' and ' walk in that narrow way that leads to life.' If we be not, we have just cause to suspect ourselves to be in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity; but if we be but resolved in good earnest, we cannot but be very solicitous to know what we must do in order to it, or how every one of us may

enter in at the strait gate,' so as to be happy for ever? A question of the highest importance imaginable; so that it is absolutely necessary for every soul amongst us to be thoroughly resolved in it, for it concerns our life, our immortal and eternal life; and therefore I shall endeavour to resolve it in as few and perspicuous terms as possibly I can, that the meanest capacity may understand it. But I must take leave to say beforehand, that our knowing of it will signify nothing, unless we practise it, neither will you be ever the nearer heaven, because you know the way to it, unless you also walk in it.

And therefore the first thing I shall propound, in order to our eternal salvation, is, that we would resolve immediately in the presence of almighty God, that we will for the future make it our great care, study and business in this world, to seek the


1 1 Cor. xv. 58.

kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof,' in the first place, according to our Saviour's advice and command;' that we would not halt any longer between two opinions, and think to seek heaven and earth together, things diametrically opposite to one another. If we really think earth to be better than heaven, what need we trouble ourselves any further, than to heap up the riches, and to enjoy the pleasures of this world? but if we really think heaven to be better than earth, as all wise men must needs do, then let us mind that, and concern not ourselves about this. We know what our Saviour told us long ago, 'No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold with the one, and despise the other: ye cannot serve God and mammon;' that is, in plain English, we cannot mind heaven and earth both together; for we can have but one grand and principal design in the world; and therefore if our principal design be to get wealth or any earthly enjoyment, we deceive ourselves, if we think that we mind heaven at all. For that we can never properly be said to do, until we mind it before all things whatsoever in the world besides; and let us not say, or think within ourselves, that it is an hard saying,' for we may assure ourselves it is no more than what we shall find to be really true; and that never a soul of us shall ever know what heaven is, that doth not first prefer it before all things here below, and by consequence make it his principal, if not only design to get thither.

Supposing us therefore to be thus resolved within ourselves, my next advice is, that we break off our

1 Matt. vi. 33.

2 Matt. vii. 14.

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