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are exhorting to a duty, urge for a promise to set selves been ravished with heavenly delights; how upon it presently. If you would draw men to then should they draw others so earnestly to seek Christ, leave not till you have made them confess them? They have not felt their own lost conthe misery of their present unregenerated state, dition, nor their need of Christ, nor the renewand the necessity of Christ, and of a change, and ing work of the Spirit ; how then can they dishave promised you to fall close to the use of cover these to others ? They are guilty of the means. O that all Christians would take this course sins they should reprove, and this makes them with all their neighbours that are enslaved to sin, ashamed to reprove.-Another is, a secret infiand strangers to Christ!-Once more, be sure delity prevailing in men's hearts. Did we verily your example exhort as well as your words. Let believe, that all the unregenerated and unboly them see you constant in all the duties you per- should be eternally tormented, how could we suade them to. Let them see in your lives that hold our tongues, or avoid bursting into tears, superiority to the world which your lips recom- when we look them in the face, especially when mend. Let them see, by your constant labours they are our near and dear friends ? Thus doth for heaven, that you indeed believe what you secret unbelief consume the vigour of each grace would have them believe. A holy and heavenly and duty. O Christians, if you did verily be. life is a continual pain to the consciences of lieve that your ungodly neighbours, wife, hussinners around you, and continually solicits them band, or child, should certainly lie for ever in to change their course.
hell, except they be thoroughly changed before 7. (3.) Besides the duty of private admonition, death shall snatch them away, would not this you must endeavour to help men to profit by the make you address them day and night till they public ordinances. In order to that—endeavour were persuaded ? Were it not for this cursed to procure for them faithful ministers, where unbelief, our own and our neighbours' souls they are wanting. • How shall they hear without would gain more by us than they do.— These a preacher ? Improve your interest and dili- attempts are also much hindered by our want of gence to this end, till you prevail. Extend your charity and compassion for men's souls. We purses to the utmost. How
souls may be look on miserable souls, and pass by, as the saved by the ministry you have procured! It priest and levite by the wounded man. What is a higher and nobler charity than relieving though the sinner, wounded by sin, and captitheir bodies. What abundance of good might vated by Satan, do not desire thy help himself ; great men do, if they would support, in aca- yet his misery cries aloud. If God had not demical education, such youth as they have first heard the cry of our miseries, before he heard carefully chosen for their integrity and piety, the cry of our prayers, and be moved by his own till they should be fit for the ministry! And pity before he was moved by our importunity, when a faithful ministry is obtained, help poor we might long have continued the slaves of sasouls to receive the fruit of it. Draw them con- tan. You will pray to God for them to open stantly to attend it. Remind them often what their eyes, and turn their hearts ; and why not they have heard ; and, if it be possible, let them endeavour their conversion, if you desire it ? hear it repeated in their families, or elsewhere. And if you do not desire it, why do you ask it? Promote their frequent meeting together, besides Why do you not pray them to consider and republicly in the congregation ; not as a separate turn, as well as pray to God to convert and turn church, but as a part of the church, more dili- them? If you should see your neighbour fallen gent than the rest in redeeming time, and helping into a pit, and should pray to God to help him the souls of each other heaven-ward. Labour out, but neither put forth your hand to help him, also to keep the ordinances and ministry in oor once direct him to help himself, would not
No man will be much wrought on by any man censure you for your cruelty and hythat which he despiseth. An apostle says, “ We pocrisy ? It is as true of the soul as of the body. beseech you, brethren, to know them wbo labour If any man seeth his brother have need, and among you, and are over you in the Lord, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, admonish you; and to esteem them very highly how dwelleth the love of God in him ?' Or what in love for their work's sake.'
love hath he to his brother's soul ?- We are also 8. (11.) Let us now a little inquire, what may | hindered by a base, man.pleasing disposition. be the causes of the gross neglect of this duty; We are so desirous to keep in credit and favour that the binderances being discovered, may the with men, that it makes us most unconscionably more easily be overcome.-One hinderance is, neglect our own duty. He is a foolish and unmen's own sin and guilt. They have not them- | faithful physician that will let a sick man die for
fear of troubling him. If our friends are dis- 9. Do not object to this duty, that you are tracted, we please them in nothing that tends to unable to manage an exhortation : but either set their hurt. And yet, when they are beside those on the work who are more able, or faiththemselves in point of salvation, and in their fully and humbly use the small ability you have, madness, posting on to damnation, we will not and tell them, as a weak man may do, what God stop them, for fear of displeasing them. How says in his word.—Decline not the duty, because can we be Christians, that love the praise of it is your superior who needs advice and exhor. men more than the praise of God? For, if we tation. Order must be dispensed with, in cases
seek to please men, we shall not be the servants of necessity. Though it be a husband, a parent, of Christ.'—It is common to be hindered by sin- a minister, you must teach him in such a case. ful bashfulness. When we should shame men If parents are in want, children must relieve out of their sins, we are ourselves ashamed of them. If a husband be sick, the wife must fill our duties. May not these sinners condemn us, up his place in family affairs. If the rich are when they blush not to swear, be drunk, or neg- reduced to beggary, they must receive charity. lect the worship of God; and we blush to tell If the physician be sick, somebody must look to them of it, and persuade them from it ? Bash him. So the meanest servant must admonish fulness is unseemly, in cases of necessity. It is his master, and the child his parent, and the wife not a work to be ashamed of, to obey God in her husband, and the people their minister; so persuading men from their sins to Christ. Reader, that it be done when there is real need, and with hath not thy conscience told thee of thy duty all possible humility, modesty, and meekness.many a time, and put thee on to speak to poor Do not say, “This will make us all preachers ;' sinners ; and yet thou hast been ashamed to open for every good Christian is a teacher, and has a thy mouth, and so let them alone to sink or charge of his neighbour's soul. Every man is a swim ? O read and tremble, · Whosoever shall physician, when a regular physician cannot be be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this had, and when the hurt is so small that any man adulterous and sinful generation, of him also may relieve it; and in the same cases every man shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes must be a teacher !_Do not despair of success. in the glory of his Father, with his holy angels.' Cannot God give it? And must it not be by An idle and impatient spirit hinders us. It is means ? Do not plead, it will only be casting an ungrateful work, and sometimes makes men pearls before swine. When you are in danger our enemies. Besides, it seldom succeeds at the to be torn in pieces, Christ would have you for first, except it be followed on. You must be long bear ; but what is that to you that are in no such teaching the ignorant, and persuading the obsti- danger ? As long as they will hear, you have nate. We consider not what patience God used encouragement to speak, and may not cast them towards us when we were in our sins. Woe to off as contemptible swine.–Say not it is a friend us if God had been as impatient with us as we on whom I much depend, and by telling him his are with others !-Another hinderance is, self sin and misery, I may lose his love, and be unseeking. “All seek their own, not the things done. Is his love more to be valued than his which are Jesus Christ's' and their brethren's. safety ? or thy own benefit by hiin, than the salWith many, pride is a great impediment. If it vation of his soul? or wilt thou connive at his were to speak to a great man, and it would not damnation, because he is thy friend? Is that displease him, they would do it; but to go among thy best requital of his friendship ? Hadst thou the poor, and take pains with them in their cot rather he should burn in hell for ever, than thou tages, where is the person that will do it? Many shouldst lose his favour, or the maintenance thou will rejoice in being instrumental to convert a hast from him. gentleman, and they have good reason ; but over- 10. (III.) But that all who fear God may be look the multitude, as if the souls of all were not excited to do their utmost to help others to this alike to God. Alas, these men little consider blessed rest, let me entreat you to consider the how low Christ stooped to us! Few rich, and following motives. As, for instance, not only noble, and wise, are called. It is the poor that nature, but especially grace, disposes the soul to receive the glad tidings of the gospel.--And be communicative of good. Therefore, to negwith some, their ignorance of the duty hindereth lect this work is a sin both against nature and them from performing it. Either they know it not grace. Would you not think him unnatural that to be a duty, or, at least, not to be their duty. If I would suffer his children or neighbours to starve this be thy case, Reader, I am in hope thou art now in the streets, while he has provision at hand ? acquainted with thy duty, and will set upon it. And is not he more unnatural, that will let them
eternally perish, and not open his mouth to save | Consider what a joy it will be in heaven, to meet them ? An unmerciful, cruel man, is a monster those there whom you have been the means to to be abhorred of all. If God had bid you give bring thither. To see their faces, and join with them all your estates, or lay down your lives to them for ever in the praises of God, whom you save them, you would surely have refused, when were the happy instruments of bringing to the you will not bestow a little breath to save them. knowledge and obedience of Jesus Christ ?Is not the soul of a husband, or wife, or child, Consider how many souls you may have drawn or neighbour, worth a few words ? Cruelty to into the way of damnation, or hardened in it. men's bodies is a most damnable sin ; but to their We have had, in the days of our ignorance, our souls much more, as the soul is of greater worth companions in sin, whom we incited, or encourthan the body, and eternity than time. Little aged. And doth it not become us to do as much know you what many a soul may now be feeling to save men, as we have done to destroy them ? in hell, who died in their sins, for want of your Consider how diligent are all the enemies of faithful admonition.-Consider what Christ did these poor souls to draw them to hell. The devil towards the saving of souls. He thought them is tempting them day and night: their inward worth his blood ; and shall we not think them lusts are still working for their ruin : the flesh is worth our breath ? Will you not do a little still pleading for its delights: their old companwhere Christ hath done so much ?_Consider ions are increasing their dislike of holiness. And what fit objects of pity ungodly people are. They if nobody be diligent in helping them to heaven, are dead in trespasses and sins, have not hearts what is like to become of them ? to feel their miseries, nor to pity themselves. If 12. Consider how deep the neglect of this others do not pity them, they will have no pity; duty will wound, when conscience is awakened. for it is the nature of their disease to make them When a man comes to die, conscience will ask pitiless to themselves, yea, their own most cruel him, " What good hast thou done in thy lifetime? destroyers.—Consider it was once thy own case. The saving of souls is the greatest good work; It was God's argument to the Israelites, to be what hast thou done towards it? How many kind to strangers, because themselves had been hast thou dealt faithfully with ?" I have often *strangers in the land of Egypt.' So should you observed that the consciences of dying men very pity them that are strangers to Christ, and to the much wounded them for this omission. For my hopes and comforts of the saints, because you own part, when I have been near death, my conwere once strangers to them yourselves. Con- science hath accused me more for this than for sider your relation to them. It is thy neigh- any sin. It would bring every ignorant profane bour, thy brother, whom thou art bound to love neighbour to my remembrance, to whom I never as thyself: • He that loveth not his brother whom made known their danger. It would tell me, he seeth daily, doth not love God whom he never • Thou shouldst have gone to them in private, saw. And doth he love his brother that will and told them plainly of their desperate danger, see him go to hell, and never hinder him ? though it had been when thou shouldst have eaten
11. Consider what a load of guilt this neglect or slept, if thou hadst no other time.' Conscience lays upon thy own soul. Thou art guilty of the would remind me how, at such or such a time, I morder and damnation of all those souls whom was in company with the ignorant, or was riding thou dost thus neglect; and of every sin they by the way with a wilful sinner, and had a fit now commit, and of all the dishonour done to opportunity to have dealt with him, but did not ; God thereby; and of all those judgments which or at least did it to little purpose. The Lord their sins bring upon the town or country where grant I may better obey conscience while I have they live.-Consider what it will be to look upon time, that it may have less to accuse me of at your poor friends in eternal flames, and to think death !-- Consider what a seasonable time you that your neglect was a great cause of it. If now have for this work. There are times in which you should there perish with them, it would be it is not safe to speak ; it may cost you your no small aggravation of your torment. If you liberties, or your lives. Besides, your neighbours be in heaven, it would surely be a sad thought, will shortly die, and so will you. Speak to them, were it possible that any sorrow could dwell therefore, while you may.- Consider, though this there, to hear a multitude of poor souls cry out is a work of the greatest charity, yet every one of for ever, · O, if you would but have told me you inay perform it; the poorest as well as the plainly of my sin and danger, and set it home, rich. Every one hath a tongue to speak to a I might have escaped all this torment, and been sinner.—Once more, consider the happy consebow in rest! What a sad voice will this be !--- quences of this work, where it is faithfully done.
You may be instrumental in saving souls, for the blind. God looketh for this faithful improvewhich Christ came down and died, and in which ment of your parts and gifts, which, if you the angels of God rejoice. Such souls will bless neglect, it were better you had never received you here and hereafter. God will have much them; for they will but aggravate your condemglory by it. The church will be multiplied and nation, and be as useless to your own salvation edified by it. Your own souls will enjoy more as they were to others. improvement and vigour in a divine life, more 15. All those that are particularly acquainted peace of conscience, more rejoicing in spirit. Of with some ungodly men, and that have particular all the personal mercies that I ever received, interest in them, God looks for this duty at your next to the love of God in Christ to my own soul, hands. Christ himself did eat and drink with I must most joyfully bless him for the plentiful publicans and sinners ; but it was only to be their success of my endeavours upon others. O what physician, and not their companion. Who knows fruits then might I have seen if I had been more but God gave you interest in them to this end, faithful! I know we need be very jealous of that you might be the means of their recovery? our deceitful hearts in this point, lest our rejoic- They that will not regard the words of a straning should come from our pride. Naturally we ger, may regard a brother, or sister, or husband, would have the praise of every good work or wife, or near friend; besides that, the bond ascribed to ourselves: yet to imitate our Father of friendship engages you to more kindness and in goodness and mercy, and to rejoice in the compassion than ordinary. degree of them we attain to, is the duty of 16. Physicians that are much about dying every child of God. I therefore tell you my men should, in a special manner, inake conown experience, to persuade you, that if you science of this duty. It is their peculiar advandid but know what a joyful thing it is, you would tage, that they are at hand; that they are with follow it night and day through the greatest dis- men in sickness and dangers, when the ear is couragements.
more open, and the heart less stubborn than in 13. Up, then, every man that hath a tongue, time of health : and that men look upon their and is a servant of Christ, and do something of physician as a person in whose hands is their your Master's work. Why hath he given you life; or, at least, who may do much to save a tongue, but to speak in his service ? And how them; and, therefore, they will the more regard can you serve him more eminently, than in sav- his advice. You that are of this honourable proing souls ? He that will pronounce you blessed fession, do not think this a work beside your at the last day, and invite you to the kingdom calling, as if it belonged to none but ministers ; prepared for you,' because you .fed him, and except you think it beside your calling to be clothed him, and visited him,' in his poor mem- compassionate, or to be Christians. O help, bers, will surely pronounce you blessed for so therefore, to fit your patients for heaven? And great a work as bringing souls to his kingdom. whether you see they are for life or death, teach He that saith, 'the poor you have always with them both how to live and die, and give them you,' hath left the ungodly always with you, that some physic for their souls, as you do for their you might still have matter to exercise
bodies. Blessed be God, that very many of the charity upon. If you have the hearts of Chris-chief physicians of this age have, by their emitians or of men, let them yearn towards your ig- nent piety, vindicated their profession from the norant, ungodly neighbour. Say as the lepers common imputation of atheism and profaneness. of Samaria, “We do not well ; this day is a day 17. Men of wealth and authority, and that of good tidings, and we hold our peace.' Hath have many dependants, have excellent advanGod had so much mercy on you, and will you tages for this duty. O what a world of good have no mercy on your poor neighbours ? But might lords and gentlemen do, if they had but as this duty belongs to all Christians, so espe- hearts to improve their influence over others ? cially to some, according as God hath called Have you not all your honour and riches from them to it, or qualified them for it. To them, God? Doth not Christ say, · Unto whomsoever therefore, I will more particularly address the much is given, of him much shall be required ? exhortation.
If you speak to your dependants for God and 14. God especially expects this duty at your their souls, you may be regarded, when even a hands to whom he hath given more learning and minister shall be despised. As you value the knowledge, and endued with better utterance, honour of God, your own comfort, and the salthan your neighbours. The strong are made to vation of souls, improve your influence over your help the weak; and those that see must direct tenants and neighbours ; visit their houses; see whether they worship God in their families ; and both. Study and pray, and pray and study, till take all opportunities to press them to their duty. you are become workmen that need not be Despise them not. Remember God is no res- ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth ;' pecter of persons. Let men see that you excel that your people may not be ashamed, nor weary others in piety, compassion, and diligence in in hearing you.—Let your conversation be teachGod's work, as you do in the riches and honours ing, as well as your doctrine. Be as forward in of the world. I confess you will by this means a holy and heavenly life, as you are in pressing be singular, but then you will be singular in others to it. Let your discourse be edifying glory; for few of the 'mighty and noble are, and spiritual. Suffer any thing, rather than that called.
the gospel and men's souls should suffer. Let 18. As for the ministers of the gospel, it is men see that you use not the ministry only for the very work of their calling, to help others to a trade to live by ; but that your hearts are set heaven-Be sure to make it the main end of upon the welfare of souls. Whatsoever meekyour studies and preaching. He is the able, ness, humility, condescension, or self-denial you skilful minister, that is best skilled in the art of teach thein from the gospel, teach it them also instructing, convincing, persuading, and conse- by your undissembled example. Study and strive quently of winning souls : and that is the best after unity and peace. If ever you would prosermon that is best in these. When you seek mote the kingdom of Christ, and your people's not God, but yourselves, God will make you the salvation, do it in a way of peace and love. It most contemptible of men. It is true of your is as hard a thing to maintain in your people reputation, what Christ says of your life, 'He a sound understanding, a tender conscience, a that loveth it shall lose it.' Let the vigour of lively, gracious, heavenly frame of spirit, and an your persuasions show, that you are sensible on upright life, amidst contention, as to keep your how weighty a business you are sent. Preach candle lighted in the greatest storms. • Blessed with that seriousness and fervour, as men that is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, believe their own doctrine, and that know their shall find so doing.' hearers must be prevailed with, or be damned. 19. All you whom God hath intrusted with -Think not that all your work is in your studies the care of children and servants, I would also and pulpit. You are shepherds, and must know persuade to this great work of helping others to every sheep, and what is their disease, and mark the heavenly rest.–Consider what plain and their strayings, and help to cure them, and fetch pressing commands of God require this at your them home. Learn of Paul, not only to teach hands: These words thou shalt teach diligently your people publicly, but from house to house.' unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when Inquire how they grow in knowledge and holi- thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest ness, and on what grounds they build their hopes by the way, and when thou liest down, and when of salvation, and whether they walk uprightly, thou risest up.'—* Train up a child in the way he and perform the duties of their several relations. should go ; and when he is old he will not depart See whether they worship God in their families, from it. — Bring up your children in the nurture and teach them how to do it. Be familiar with and admonition of the Lord.' Joshua resolved, them, that you may maintain your interest in that he and his house would serve the Lord.' them, and improve it all for God. Know of And God himself says of Abraham, “I know them how they profit by public teaching. If any him, that he will command his children, and his too little savour the things of the Spirit,' let household after him, and they shall keep the way them be pitied, but not neglected. If any walk of the Lord.'—Consider it is a duty you owe disorderly, recover them with diligence and pa- your children in point of justice. From you tience. If they be ignorant, it may be your fault they received the defilement and misery of their as much as theirs. Be not asleep while the wolf natures ; and, therefore, you owe them all posis waking-Deal not slightly with any. Some sible help for their recovery.—Consider, how will not tell their people plainly of their sins, near your children are to you. They are parts because they are great men ; and some, because of yourselves. If they prosper when you are they are godly; as if none but the poor and the dead, you take it as if you lived and prospered wicked should be dealt plainly with. Yet labour in them; and should you not be of the same to be skilful and discreet, that the manner may mind for their everlasting rest ? Otherwise answer to the excellency of the matter. Every you will be witnesses against your own souls. reasonable soul hath both judgment and affection; Your care, and pains, and cost for their bodies, and every rational, spiritual sermon, must have will condemn you for your neglect of their