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Jelity for in these few states and co
medicines which he offers, and are called to for- deemer, on terms of grace, and to make intercessake all, and follow him to God and glory. sion for us, that the benefits of his death may be
I pray you, read over this leaf again, and communicated, and to send the Holy Ghost, mark it; for in these few words you have a true which the Father also doth by the Son. description of our natural state; and consequent. The works of the Holy Ghost for us are these: ly of a wicked man. For every man that is in to indite the holy scriptures, by inspiring and this state of corrupted nature, is a wicked man, guiding the prophets and apostles ; sealing the and in a state of death.
word, by his miraculous gifts and works : illumiBy this also you are prepared to understand nating and exciting the ordinary ininisters of the what it is to be converted, to which end you gospel ; so enabling them, and helping them to must further know, that the mercy of God, not publish that word, and by the same word illumiwilling that man should perish in his sin, provided nating and converting the souls of men. So that a remedy, by causing his Son to take our nature, as you could not have been reasonable creatures, and being in one person God and man, to be- if the Father had not created you ; not have come a Mediator between God and man; and had any access to God, if the Son had not reby dying for our sins on the cross, to ransom us deemed you ; so neither can you have a part in from the curse of God and the power of the Christ, or be saved, except the Holy Ghost do devil: he having thus redeemed us, the Father sanctify you. hath delivered us into his hands, as his own. So that by this time you may see the several Hereupon the Father and Mediator do make a causes of this work. The Father sends the Son; new law and covenant for man. Not like the the Son redeems us, and makes the promise of first, which gave life to none but the perfectly grace; the Holy Ghost indites and seals this obedient, and condemned man for every sin: gospel : the apostles are the secretaries of the but Christ hath made a law of grace, * or a pro- Spirit, to write it: the preachers of the gospel mise of pardon and everlasting life to all, that to proclaim it, and persuade men to obey it ; by true repentance, and by faith in Christ, are and the Holy Ghost doth make their preaching converted unto God. Like an act of oblivion, effectual, by opening the hearts of men to inwhich is made by a prince, to a company of re- tertain it. All this is to repair the image of bels, on condition they will lay down their arms, God upon the soul, and to set the heart upon come in, and be loyal subjects for the time to God again, and take it off the creature, and car. come.
nal self, to which it is revolted, and so turn the But because the Lord knows that the heart of current of this life into an heavenly course, man is grown so wicked that, for all this, men which before was earthly ; and all this by the · will not accept of the remedy if they be left to entertainment of Christ by faith, who is the
themselves; therefore the Holy Ghost hath un- physician of the soul. dertaken it as his office, to inspire the apostles, By this which I have said, you may see what and seal up the scripture by miracles and won- it is to be wicked, and what it is to be unconders, and to illuminate and convert the souls of verted. Which I think, will be yet plainer to you, the elect.
if I describe them, as consisting of their several So that by this much you see, that as there parts: thus a wicked man may be known by are three persons in the Trinity, the Father, the these three things: Son, and the Holy Ghost; so each of these per First, He is one that places his chief happiness sons have their several works, which are eminent on earth ; loves the creature more than God, ly ascribed to them.
and his fleshly prosperity above the heavenly The Father's works were, to create us, to rule felicity: he savours the things of the flesh, but us as his rational creatures, by the law of nature, neither discerns nor savours the things of the and judge us thereby : in mercy to provide us a Spirit: though he will say, that heaven is better Redeemer when we were lost ; and to send his than earth, yet doth he not really so esteem it Son, and accept his ransom.
himself. If he might be sure of earth, he The works of the Son for us were these : to would let go heaven ; and had rather stay here, ransom and redeem us by his sufferings and than be removed thither. A life of perfect holirighteousness, to give out the promise or law of ness, in the sight of God, and in his love, and grace, and rule and judge the world as their Re- praises for ever in heaven, doth not find such
liking with his heart as a life of health, wealth, • Our Author here does not mean what some call 'a remedial and honour here upon earth. Though he falsely feet obedience. Baxter 'had not so learned Christ.
profess that he loves God above all, yet indeed
law, in which God accepts what they call 'man's sincerity in per
he never felt the power of divine love within Thirdly, The soul of a wicked man did never him, but his mind is more set on the world, or truly discern and relish the mystery of redempfleshly pleasures, than on God. In a word, who tion, nor thankfully entertain an offered Saviour, ever loves earth above heaven, and fleshly pros- nor is he taken up with the love of the Redeemer, perity more than God, is a wicked, unconverted nor willing to be ruled by him as the physician man.
of his soul, that he may be saved from the guilt On the other side, a converted man is illumi- and power of his sins, and recovered unto God; nated to discern the loveliness of God; and so but his heart is insensible of this unspeakable far believes the glory that is to be had with benefit, and is quite against the healing means God, that his heart is taken up to it, and set by which he should be recovered. Though he more upon it than on any thing in this world. may be willing to be carnally religious, yet he He had rather see the face of God, and live in never resigned up his soul to Christ, and to the his everlasting love and praises, than have all the motions and conduct of his word and Spirit. wealth or pleasure of the world. He sees that. On the contrary, the converted soul having all things else are vanity, and nothing but God | felt himself undone by sin; perceiving that can fill the soul : and therefore let the world go he hath lost his peace with God, hopes of hea. which way it will, he lays up his treasures and ven, and is in danger of everlasting misery, hopes in heaven; and for that he is resolved to doth thankfully entertain the tidings of redemplet go all. As the fire doth mount upward, and tion, and believing in the Lord Jesus as his only the needle that is touched with the load-stone, Saviour, resigns up himself to him for wisdom, still turns to the north, so the converted soul is righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. inclined unto God. Nothing else can satisfy He takes Christ as the life of his soul, lives him : nor can he find any content and rest but | by him, and uses him as a salve for every sore, in his love. In a word, all that are converted admiring the wisdom and love of God in his esteem and love God better than all the world, wonderful work of man's redemption. In a word, and the heavenly felicity is dearer to them than Christ doth even dwell in his heart by the faith, their fleshly prosperity. The proof of what and the life that he now liveth is by faith of the I have said, you may find in many places of Son of God, that hath loved him, and gave himscripture.
self for him.' Yea, it is not so much he that Secondly. A wicked man is one that makes lives, as Christ in him. . it the principal business of his life to prosper in You see now, in plain terms, from the word of the world, and attain his fleshly ends. And God, who are the wicked and who are the conthough he may read and hear, do much in | verted. Ignorant people think, that if a man the outward duties of religion, and forbear dis- be no swearer, curser, railer, drunkard, fornica. graceful sins; yet this is all but mere form, and tor, extortioner, nor wrong any body in their he never makes it the principal business of his life dealings, and if they come to church, and say to please God, and attain everlasting glory, but their prayers, these cannot be wicked men. Or puts off God with the dregs of the world, and if a man that hath been guilty of drunkenness, gives him no more service than the flesh can spare ; swearing, gaming, or the like vices, do but for. for he will not part with all for heaven. bear them for the time to come, they think that
On the contrary, a converted man is one that this is a converted man. Others think, if a man makes it the principal care and business of his that hath been an enemy, and a scorner of god. life to please God, and to be saved; takes liness, do but approve it, join himself with all the blessings of this life but as accommoda- | those that are godly, and be hated for it by the tions in his journey towards another life, and wicked, as the godly are, that this needs must uses the creature in subordination unto God; he be a converted man. Some are so foolish as to loves an holy life, and longs to be more holy; think they are converted, by taking up some he hath no sin but what he hates, longs, prays, new and false opinion. Some think, if they and strives to be rid of. The bent of his life have but been affrighted by the fears of hell, is for God: and if he sin, it is contrary to the and had convictions of conscience, and therevery bent of his heart and life, and therefore upon have purposed, promised amendment, taken he rises again, and laments it, and dare not wil. up a life of civil behaviour, and outward relifully live in any known sin. There is nothing gion, that this must needs be true conversion. in this world so dear to him but he can give it These are the poor deluded souls that are like up to God, and forsake it for him and the hopes to lose the benefit of all our persuasions. When of glory.
they hear that the wicked must turn or die, they think that this is not spoken of them ; for they now appear to be a real misery, that is not to are not wicked, but are turned already. There- be ventured on or jested with. The works of fore it is, that Christ told some of the rulers of holiness, which before he was weary of, and the Jews, who were more grave and civil than seemed to be more ado than needs, are now both the common people, that “publicans and harlots his recreation, his business, and the trade he do go into the kingdom of God before them.' lives upon. Not that an harlot or gross sinner can be saved The Bible, which was before to him but alwithout conversion, but because it was easier to most as a common book, is now as the law of
cause it was easier to most as a common book, is now as the law of make those gross sinners perceive their sin and God, as a letter written to him from heaven, misery, and the necessity of a change, when the and subscribed with the name of the eternal more civil sort do delude themselves by thinking majesty ; it is the rule of his thoughts, words, that they are converted already when they be not. and deeds; the commands are binding, the threats
Conversion is another kind of work than most are dreadful, and the promises of it speak life are aware of. It is not a small matter to bring to the soul. The godly, that seemed to him but an earthly mind to heaven, and to show man the like other men, are now the most excellent and amiable excellencies of God, till he be taken up happiest on earth. The wicked, that were his in such love to him, that can never be quenched, play-fellows, are now his grief; and he that to break the heart for sin, and make him fly for could laugh at their sins is readier now to weep refuge unto Christ, and thankfully embrace hiin for their sin and misery. In short, he hath a as the life of his soul; to have the very drift new end in his thoughts, and a new way in and bent of the heart and life to be changed; so his endeavours, and therefore his heart and that a man renounces that which he took for life are new. Before, his carnal self was his bis felicity, places his felicity where he never end? His pleasure and worldly profits and credid before, lives not to the same end, and dits were his way: now God and everlasting drives not on the same design in the world as glory is his end; Christ, the Spirit, word, and formerly he did: in a word, he that is in Christ, ordinances, holiness to God righteousness and is “a new creature: old things are passed away, mercy to men, these are his way. Before, self behold all things are become new. He hath a was the chief ruler, to which the matters of new understanding, a new will and resolution, God and conscience must stoop and give new sorrows, desires, love and delight; new and now God, in Christ, by the Spirit, word and thoughts, new speeches, new company, if possi ministry, is the chief ruler, to whom both self, and ble, and a new conversation. Sin, that before was all the matters of self, must give place: so that this a jesting matter with him, is now so odious and is not a change in one, or two, or twenty points : terrible to him, that he flies from it as from death. but in the whole soul; and the very end, and The world that was so lovely in his eyes, doth bent of the conversation. A man may step out now appear but as vanity and vexation; God, of one path into another, and yet have his face that was before neglected, is now the only hap- still the same way, and be still going towards piness of his soul; before he was forgotten and the same place, but it is another matter to turn every lust preferred before him, but now he is quite back again, and take his journey the conset next the heart, and all things must give place trary way to a contrary place. So is it here ; a to him ; the heart is taken up in the attendance man may turn from drunkenness to soberness, and observance of him, is grieved when he hides and forsake his good fellowship, and other gross, bis face, and never thinks itself well without disgraceful sins, and set upon some duties of re. him. Christ himself, that was wont to be slightly ligion, and yet be going still to the same end thought of, is now his only hope and refuge, as before, intending his carnal self above all, he lives upon him, as on his daily bread, he can- and giving it still the government of his soul. not pray without him, nor rejoice without him, But when he is converted, this self is denied, nor think, nor speak, nor live without him. Hea taken down, God is set up, and his face is ven itself, that before was looked upon but as a turned the contrary way, and he that before tolerable reserve, which he hoped might serve was addicted to himself, and lived to himself, is better than hell, when he could not stay any now, by sanctification, devoted to God and lives longer in the world, is now taken for his home, unto God: before he asked himself what he the place of his only hope and rest, where he should do with his time, his parts, and his estate, shall see, love, and praise that God which hath and for himself he used them ; but now he asks his heart already. Hell, that did seem before God what he shall do with them and uses them but as a bugbear to frighten men from sin, doth I for him; before he would please God so far as
might stand with the pleasure of his flesh, and with those tongues, but a little longer, till the carnal self, but not to any great displeasure of resurrection day; and can you make shift to them ; but now he will please God, let flesh and forget this ? What a place will you be shortly self be never so much displeased. This is the in of joy or torment! What a sight will you great change that God will make upon all that shortly see in heaven or hell! What thoughts shall be saved.
will shortly fill your hearts with unspeakable deYou can say that the Holy Ghost is our sanc- light or horror! What work will you be emtifier; but do you know what sanctification is ? ployed in ? To praise the Lord with saints and Why, this is it that I have now opened to you: angels, or to cry out in fire unquenchable with and every man and woman in the world must devils : and should all this be forgotten ? And have this, or be condemned to everlasting misery. all this is to be endless, and sealed up by an They must turn or die.
unchangeable degree. Eternity, eternity will be Do you believe all this, or do you not ? the measure of your joys or sorrows, and can Surely you dare not say you do not : for it is this be forgotten ? And all this is true, most past all doubt or denial ; these are not contro- certainly true : when you have gone up and versies, where one learned, pious man is of one down a little longer, and slept and awaked but a mind, and another of another ; where one party few times more, you will be dead and gone, and saith this, and the other saith that ; every sect find all true that now I tell you ; and yet can among us, that deserves to be called Christians, you now so much forget it? You shall then reare all agreed in this that I have said, and if member you heard this sermon, and that this you will not believe the God of truth, and that day, in this place, you were remembered of these in a case where every sect and party doth believe things, and perceive them matters a thousand him, you are utterly inexcusable.
times greater than either you or I could here But if you do believe this, how comes it to conceive, and yet shall they be now so much forpass that you are so quiet in an unconverted
converted gotten. state? Do you think you are converted; and Beloved friends, if the Lord had not awakened can you find this wonderful change upon your me to believe and lay to heart these things mysouls ? Have you been thus born again, and made self, I should have remained in the dark and anew; are not these strange matters to many of selfish state, and have perished for ever : but if you, and such as you never felt upon yourselves ? he have truly made me sensible of them, it will If you cannot tell the day or week of your constrain me to compassionate you, as well as change, or the very sermon that converted you, myself. If your eyes were so far open as to see yet do you find that the work is done, and such hell, and you saw your neighbours that were a change indeed there is, and that you have unconverted, dragged thither with hideous such hearts as are before described ? Alas, the cries; though they were such as you accountmost follow their worldly business, and little ed honest people on earth, and feared no such trouble their minds with such thoughts. If they matter by themselves, such a sight would make be but restrained from scandalous sins, and can you go home and think of it, and think again, say, I am no whoremonger, nor thief, nor curser, and make you warn all about you as Dives nor swearer, nor tippler, nor extortioner, I go would have had his brethren warned, lest they to the church and say my prayers ; they think come to that place of torment. Why, faith is that this is true conversion, and they shall be a kind of sight, it is the eye of the soul, the saved as well as any. Alas, this is foolish de- evidence of things not seen: if I believe God, ceiving of yourselves ; this is too much contempt it is next to seeing: therefore I beseech you to of an endless glory, and too gross neglect of your excuse me, if I be half as earnest with you immortal souls. Can you make so light of hea- about these matters, as if I had seen them. If ven and hell; your corpse will shortly be in the I must die to-morrow, and it were in my power dust, and angels or devils will presently seize to come again from another world, and tell you upon your souls. Every man or woman of you what I had seen, would you not be willing to all will shortly be among other company, and hear me; would you not believe, and regard in another case than now you are: you will / what I should tell you? If I might preach one dwell in these houses but a little longer; you sermon to you after I am dead, and have seen will work in your shops and fields but a little what is done in the world to come, would you longer, you will sit in these seats, and dwell on not have me plainly speak the truth ; would you this earth but a little longer; you will see with not crowd to hear me ; would you not lay it to those eyes, hear with those ears, and speak | heart? But this must not be: God hath his ap'pointed way of teaching you by scripture and the refuse of flesh. Is my heart now turned anministers ; and he will not humour unbelievers other way; have I a new design, a new end, and so far, as to send men from the dead to them, a new train of holy affections ; have I set my and alter his established way ; if any man quarrel hope and heart in heaven ; is it the scope, dewith the sun, God will not humour him so far sign, and bent of my heart and life, to get as to set up a clearer light. Friends, I beseech well to heaven, to see the glorious face of God, you regard me now, as you would do if I should and live in his everlasting love and praise ; when come from the dead to you : for I can give you I sin, is it against the habitual bent and design the full assurance of the truth of what I say to of my heart; do I conquer all gross sins, and you, as if I had been there and seen it with my am I weary and willing to be rid of my infirmieyes ; for it is possible for one from the dead to ties? This is the state of a converted soul. deceive you : but Jesus Christ can never deceive Thus must it be with me, or I must perish. Is you; the word of God, delivered in scripture, it thus with me indeed, or is it not? It is time and sealed up by the miracles and holy workings to get this doubt resolved, before the dreadful of the Spirit, can never deceive you. Believe Judge resolve it. I am not such a stranger to this, or believe nothing. Believe, and obey this, my own heart and life, but I may somewhat peror you are undone. Now, as ever you believe ceive whether I am thus converted or not: if I be the word of God, and as ever you care for the not, it will do me no good to flatter my soul with salvation of your souls, let me beg of you this false conceits and hopes. I am resolved no more reasonable request, and I beseech you deny me to deceive myself, but endeavour to know truly, not, that you would without any more delay off or on, whether I be converted, yea or no; when you are gone from hence, reinember what that if I be, I may rejoice in it, and glorify my you heard, and enter into an earnest search of gracious Lord, and comfortably go on till I your hearts, and say unto yourselves,
reach the crown: and if I am not, I may set • Is it so indeed ; must I turn or die ; must I myself to beg and seek after the grace that be converted or condemned? It is time for me should convert me and may turn without any then to look about me, before it be too late. O more delay : for, if I find in time that I am out why did not I look after this till now; why did of the way, by the help of Christ I may turn and I venturously put off or skim over so great a be received ; but if I stay till either my heart business; was I awake, or in my senses? O be forsaken of God in blindness and hardness, or blessed God, what a mercy is it that thou didst till I be snatched away by death, it is then too not cut off my life all this while, before I had any late. There is no place for repentance and concertain hope of eternal life. Well, God forbid version then; I know it must be now or never.' that I should neglect this work any longer. This is my request of you, that you will but What state is my soul in; am I converted, or am take your hearts to task, and thus examine them, I not? Was ever such a change or work done till you see, if it may be, whether you are conupon my soul; have I been illuminated by the verted or not; and if you cannot find it out by word and Spirit of the Lord, to see the odiousness your own endeavours, go to your ministers, if of sin, the need of a Saviour, the love of Christ, they be faithful and experienced men, and de. and the excellencies of God and glory; is my heart sire their assistance. The matter is great, let not broken, or humbled within me for my former bashfulness nor carelessness hinder you. They life ; have I thankfully entertained my Saviour are set over you, to advise you for the saving and Lord, that offered himself with pardon and of your souls, as physicians advise you for the life to my soul; do I hate my former sinful life, curing of your bodies. It undoes many thouand the remnant of every sin that is in me ; do sands, that they think they are in the way to salI fly from them as my deadly enemies ; do Ivation when they are not; and think that they give up myself to a life of holiness, and obedience are converted, when it is no such thing. When to God? Do I love it, and delight in it? Can we call to them daily to turn, they go away as I truly say that I am dead to the world and they came, and think that this concerns not them; carnal self; that I live for God, and the glory for they are turned already, and hope they shall do which he hath promised. Hath heaven more of well enough in the way that they are in, at least estimation and resolution than earth ; is God if they pick the fairest path, and avoid some of the dearest and highest in my soul? Once, I am the foulest steps; when alas, all this while they sure, I lived principally to the world and flesh, live but to the world, the flesh, are strangers to and God had nothing but some heartless services God, and eternal life, and are quite out of the way which the world could spare, and which were to heaven. All this is much, because we cannot