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him, if they reek unto him in earnest. Opray daily co God, to bless you, to give you an interest in Chrift, co pardon the fins of your youth, to keep you from fin, to give you an heart to know God, to believe in him, to love and serve him. If you thus seek God while young, you will never repent of your fo doing. This will make your after-life more fweet and comfortable to you. Whereas, if you neglect to seek God while young, you will bitcerly bewail it hereafter. If God give you an heart to repent, you will now be filled wich grief and forrow for the fins of your youth : but if you die in impenitency, you will mourn at the last, in that place, where is weeping and wailing for ever and eyer, without remedy.
2. The time of the Spirit's striving with finners; is a special feafon wherein they may find God, if they seek him. The holy Spirit does frequently act and move upon the hearts of linners, elder, as well as younger, under the gofpel. It is his work to convince of fin. Joh. xvi. 8. And how often are finners brought onder convictions by the holy Spirit ? They are many times convinced in their consciences, that they should no longer restrain prayer before God, but should seek to hiin for pardon, grace and falvacion. Such fins of omiffion their consciences do check and condemn them for. Now, by such convictions, the Spirit of God is knocking at the door of their hearts. And when they are under such convictions as these, it is then a special season to feek God. When the Spirit is thus ftrieing
God is ia a particular manner near to us, and chen is a suitable opportunity to call upon God. And if we do cherish such holy awakenings, and are thereby carried unto God, we may then hope that God will be found of us. Had Felix and Agrippa fought God when under such convictions, it might have been well with them. God is never more likely to be found of us, than when we comply with the gracious calls of his Spirit, . to seek his face. The holy Spirit is a messenger from God and Christ, to acquaint us, that
God would have us to seek him, and that he is ready to be found of us; and if we hearken to the voice of this divine messenger, God will hearken to the voice of our prayer.
Wé read of fome, who, upon the convictions of the Spirit, wrought by the word, did forth with seek after falvation, and saving grace was bestowed on them. Att. ii, 37, 41..... Take heed then of resisting the motions of the holy Spirit on your fouls, lest he should cease striving with you, and God thould go far away from you. Whatever the means be, whether the word, ordinances, or providences, when convictions are begun, take care you don't ftifle an awakened conscience. 1 Thell. v. 19. Quench not the Spirit.... Thus for our second Propofition.
PROP. III. Sinners should be concerned,to seek God in ibis time wherein he may be found. This is intimate ed in the text as a matter of the greatest importance. And therefore it is urged and presled upon lioners by an ingemination or doubling of the expressions ; seek bim, ---call upon bim ; while be is near,---- wbile be may be found. And certainly, if there be any thing that requires our greatest care and concern, it is that of seeking God so as that we may find him..... Two or three reafons say here be mentioned, why sinners should be concerned to seek God while he may be found.
Reaf. 1. The first reason may be taken from the great blessedness of finding God. To find and enjoy God, is the only true happiness of the reasonable creature. The fruition of him makes us complearly and eternally blessed. Heis an infinite good, a full fountain of goodnels. If we have God for ours, we are most happy persons. (Pfal. cxliv. 15) If we find him, we find every good thing, that can be imagined, or desired. Nothing can be wanting to us, if we have him who poflefles all things. Now does it not infioicely concern us, to secure co ourselves this infinitely blessed God for our porrion? What can be worth our minding in comparison A a 2
of this ? As ever then we desire to be happr; it highly concerns us to seek God, while he may be found.
Reas. 2. The second reason may be taken from the great unhappiness of losing God. If we lose God, we lose our all. We lose every thing that is good. We lose heaven, earth, our souls, and every manner of comfort in the issue. Dives when separated from God, in hell, had not so much as a drop of water, co minister the least refreshment to him. Luk. xvi. 24. We have nothing left us, when God has left us. If God be far from us, we are most unhappy creatures. Though we find wealth, and pleasures, and prefermenis, in this world ; yer, if we find not God, we are miserable. All the world won't make up the loss of God. If we lack the world, God can make it up, over and above in himfelf: but if we lack God, the creature cannot possibly compensate it. Our own souls are of far greater worth than the whole world : and of how much more worth than the world, is God? All created enjoyments cannot balance the loss of God, nor in any measure make ic up. In. deed, while fioners are surrounded with creature-comforts, they, little apprehend any want of God, and think they do well enough without him : but when they Thall be stripe of all these things, then they will be fully convinced, that the want and loss of God is an inconceivable misery. It is then a duty of the greatest mo, ment, to seek God, while he may be found, that so we may not sustain fuch an infinite lors, as that of God.
Real. 3. A third reason may be taken from the shoreness and uncertainty of the time, for seeking God, fo aš that he may be found. It is moft certain, that lifetime at most, is the only finding time. It will be too late to find God, after death. God will then be out of call, and out of hearing. Death will set the finner at an eternal and irrecoverable distance from God, as a God
grace. There is no question to be made, , but chat finners in the other world will seek God, and ery mightily to him for mercy. Though they did not
çare to seek God and call upon him in this world, yet they will in the world to come. The depths of distress and misery which they will be supk inco, will extors from them (trong cries to God. They will try whe. ther God cannot be found of them : but the experie ment will be too late, and in vain. The fcriptures intimate to lis, thac in the day of judgment sinners will plead and beg for mercy, and for an admission into the kingdom of heaven : but all will be to no purpose. Matth. xxv. II, 12. They said, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered, and said, Verily, I say unto you,
I know you not. God will in that day set upon a throne of inexorable juftice. He will then come, not to thew mercy to impenitent finners, but to take vengeance on them. (2. Thel. i. 8, 9.) .... After the judgment also, when finners thall be turned into hell, they will yet continue to call on God for mercy, for a release from their torments, at least a mitigation of them : but all will avail nothing. (Luk. xvi. 23, 24.) Ic is then most certain, that when life is at an end, God finding time is åt an end. The day of grace is then past, to return no more at all. And who can tell, how soon death may overtake him ? Be fure it is not far from any of us, and may be nearer to us than we are aware of. There is then great reason to be careful to improve the present time of seeking and finding God; left it thould be quickly too late. This work should be done while the day-lasts, before the night come wherein no such work can be done. (Joh. ix. 4.)
USE 1. Of Repronf, co such as are careless about feek ing God in the season wherein he may be found. Though many do enjoy such a gracious season, yer there are but few that are concerned to improve it.
Particularly, 1. Some do not seek God at all. The hearts of men are naturally alienated and estranged from God,
A a 3.
and therefore seek not after God; as the apostle says, in Rom. iii. 11. There is none that seeketh after God, Thus it is usually with young persons, they make no enquiry after God. They live many times in the toçal neglect of prayer to God. Young persons seem orç dinarily to live prayerless lives. They do not pray to God in secret, buc live in the omiffion of this duty. *Tis but here and there one, of whom it may be said, Behold, be prayer b. Yea, there are many up-grown persons who call not upon God, who seek not God in the way of prayer. One day passes away after another, with out any prayer to God. They live as without God in the world, never seeking his face and favour by serious prayer. They are under no concern at all about seek. ing and finding God. Though they have many loud calls hereto, they regard them not ;' but rise up and lie down, without going to the throne of grace by prayer. Ohow justly reprovable are fuch prayerless perfons, that do not mind God at all! Though this should be made their greatest concern, to seek and find God, yet it is no part of their concern at all. O che
O che contempt which such cast upon God, as if he were not worth the seek. ing and finding !
2. Some seek God, but with a spirit of coldness and indifferency. They do not seek him diligently, principally, and constantly. They do but seldom pray to God. Now and chen they seek him, but soon grow. weary of so doing, and give it over ; casting off fear, and restraining prayer
, before God. And when they do seek God, their hearts are not engaged in it, they are not earnest and importunate in seeking God, with fervent desires of finding him. They pray as if they prayed not ; beiog indifferent whether God hear them, or not ; whether they find God, or not. They conient themselves with faying over a few words, in a careless, liteless, formal way. Ohow reprovable are fuch perfons, who thus trifle in a thing of infipite confequence, as that of finding God is ! What unaccountable ftupidicy is it, to be so negligent in a matter,