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and live, that God hath so long waited on live; that he may leave man no pretence to questhee.
tion the truth of it. Fifth, It is further proved by the sufferings of his If you dare question his word, I hope you dare Son, that God takes no pleasure in the death of not question his oath. As Christ hath solemnly the wicked. Would he have ransomed them from protested, that the unregenerated and unconverted death at so dear a rate ? Would he have aston- cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, so God ished angels and men by his condescension; hath sworn that his pleasure is not in their death, would God have dwelt in flesh, and have come but in their conversion and life: and as the in the form of a servant, and have assumed hu- apostle saith, · because he can swear by no greater manity into one person with the Godhead ? than himself, he saith, As I live,' &c. ; for men Would Christ have lived a life of suffering, and verily swear by the greater, and an oath for condied a cursed death for sinners, if he had rather formation is to them an end of strife, wherein taken pleasure in their death ? Suppose you saw God willing more abundantly to show unto the him but so busy in preaching and healing of them, heirs of promise the immutability of his council, or so long in fasting, or all night in prayer, or confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable praying with the drops of blood trickling from things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, him instead of sweat, or suffering a cursed death we might have a strong consolation, who had upon the cross, and pouring out his soul as a fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before sacrifice for our sins,—would you have thought us, which we have as an anchor of the soul, both these the signs of one that delights in the death sure and stedfast. If there be any man that of the wicked ?
cannot reconcile this truth with the doctrine of Think not to extenuate it by saying, that it predestination, or the actual damnation of the was only for his elect. For it was thy sin, and wicked, that is his own ignorance ; he hath no the sin of all the world, that lay upon our re- pretence left to deny or question therefore the deemer ; and his sacrifice and satisfaction is suf- truth of the point in hand; for this is confirmed ficient for all, and the fruits of it are offered to by the oath of God, and therefore must not be one as well as to another; but it is true, that it distorted, to reduce it to other points, but doubtwas never the intent of his mind, to pardon and ful points must rather be reduced to it, and cersave any that would not by faith and repentance tain truths must be believed to agree with it, be converted. If you had seen and heard him though our shallow understandings do hardly weeping and bemoaning the state of disobedience discern the agreement. in impenitent people, or complaining of their I earnestly intreat thee, if thou be an unconstubbornness, • Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how verted sinner that hearest these words, that thou oft would I have gathered thy children together, wouldest ponder a little upon the forementioned even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her doctrines, and bethink thyself a while, who it is wings, and ye would not !' Or if you had seen that takes no pleasure in thy sin and damnation. and heard him on the cross, praying for his per- Certainly, it is not God: he hath sworn for his secutors, · Father, forgive them, for they know part, that he takes no pleasure in it. I know it not what they do ;' would you have suspected is not the pleasing of him that you intend in it. that he had delighted in the death of the wicked, You dare not say that you drink and swear, and even of those that perish by their wilful unbe- neglect holy duties, and quench the motions of lief? • When God hath so loved (not only loved, the Spirit, to please God. That were as if you but so loved) the world as to give his only be should reproach the prince, break his laws, gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, (by seek his death, and say, you did all this to an effectual faith) should not perish, but have please him. everlasting life,' I think he hath hereby proved, Who is it then that takes pleasure in your sin against the malice of men and devils, that he and death? Not any that bear the image of takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but God, for they must be like minded to him. God had rather that they would turn and live. knows it is small pleasure to your faithful
Lastly, If all this will not yet satisfy you, teachers, to see you serve your deadly enemy, take his own word, that knows best his own mind, and madly venture your eternal state, and wilor at least believe his oath : but this leads me to fully run into the flames of hell. It is small the fourth doctrine.
pleasure to them, to see upon your souls (in the Doct. IV. The Lord hath confirmed it to sad effects,) such blindness, hard-heartedness, us by his oath, that he hath no pleasure in the carelessness, and presumption ; such wilfuldeath of the wicked, but rather that he turn and I ness in evil, such uncharitableness, and stiffness, against the ways of life and peace; they | lieve him, but will venture their souls, come on know these are marks of death, and of the wrath it what will. We tell them how ready the Lord of God, and they know from the word of God is to receive them; and this does but make them what is like to be the end of them; and there- delay their repentance, and be bolder in their fore it is no more pleasure to them, than to a sin. Some of them say they purpose to repent, tender physician to see the plague marks break but they are still the same; and some say they out upon his patient. Alas, to foresee your ever- repent already, while yet they are not conlasting torments, and know not how to prevent verted from their sins. We exhort them, we them! To see how near you are to hell, and we intreat them, we offer them our help, but we cannot make you believe it, and consider it! To cannot prevail with them; but they that were see how easily, how certainly you might escape, drunkards are drunkards still, and they that were if we knew but how to make you willing! How voluptuous flesh-pleasing sinners are such still, fair you are for everlasting salvation, if you and they that were worldlings are worldlings would but turn, and make it the care and business still; and they that were ignorant, proud, and of your lives to obey the gospel! But you will self-conceited, are so still. Few of them will see not do it; if our lives lay on it, we cannot per- and confess their sins, and fewer will forsake them, suade you to do it. We study day and night but comfort themselves that all men are sinners, what to say to you, that may convince you and as if there were no difference between a converted persuade you, and yet it is undone: we lay be- sinner and an unconverted. Some of them will fore you the word of God, and show you the very not come near us when we are willing to instruct chapter and verse where it is written, that you them, but think they know enough already, and cannot be saved except you be converted; and need not our instruction: and some of them will yet we leave the most of you as we find you: give us the hearing, and do what they list;
and we hope ye will believe the word of God, though most of them are like dead men that cannot feel; you believe not us, and that you will regard it so that when we tell them of the matters of everwhen we show you plain scripture for it: but we lasting consequence, we cannot get a word of it hope in vain, and labour in vain, as to any saving to their hearts. If we do not obey them, and change upon your hearts. Do you think that humour them in baptizing children of the most this is a pleasant thing to us? Many a time in obstinately wicked, and giving them the Lord's secret prayers we are constrained to complain to Supper, and doing all that they would have us, God with sad hearts,
though never so much against the word of God, * Alas, Lord, we have spoken it to them, in thy they will hate us, and rail at us; but if we bename, but they little regard us? We have told seech them to confess and forsake their sins, and them what thou bidst us tell them, concerning save their souls, they will not do it. We tell the danger of an unconverted state, but they do them if they will but turn, we will deny them not believe us; we have told them that thou hast none of the ordinances of God, neither baptism protested that there is no peace to the wicked; to their children, nor the Lord's Supper to thembut the worst of them all will scarcely believe selves; but they will not hear us: they would that they are wicked. We have showed them the have us to disobey God, damn our souls to word, where thou hast said, that if they live after please them, and yet they will not turn, and save the flesh they shall die ; but they say, they will their own souls to please God. They are wiser believe in thee, when they will not believe thee; in their own eyes than all their teachers; they and that they will trust in thee, when they give rage, and are confident in their own way; and no credit to thy word, and when they hope that if we would never so willingly, we cannot change the threatenings of thy word are false, they will them. Lord, this is the case of our miserable vet call this a hoping in God, and though we neighbours, and we cannot help it; we see them show them where thou hast said, that when a ready to drop into hell, and we cannot help it: wicked man dies all his hopes perish, yet cannot we know if they would unfeignedly turn, they we persuade them from their deceitful hopes. might be saved; but we cannot persuade them : We tell them what a base unprofitable thing sin If we would beg it of them on our knees, we is, but they love it, and therefore will not leave cannot persuade them to it; if we would beg it it. We tell them how dear they buy their of them with tears, we cannot persuade them : pleasure, and what they must pay for it in ever- and what more can we do?' lasting torment, and they bless themselves and These are the secret complaints that many a will not believe it, but will do as the most do ; poor minister pours out before God, and do you and because God is merciful, they will not be think that he hath any pleasure in this? Is it a
for 3. But is not your flesh preparing
for its own
pleasure to him to see you go on in sin, and can- within you, tell you sometimes that all is not well, not stop you? To see you so miserable, and and that your case is not so safe as you think cannot so much as make you sensible of it? To it to be? Should not your souls and consciences see you merry, when you are not sure to be an be pleased before that corruptible flesh ? hour out of hell ? To think what you must for ever suffer because you will not turn? And to displeasure also? It loves the bait, but doth it think what an everlasting life of glory you wil- love the hook ? It loves the strong drink and fully despise and cast away ? What sadder sweet morsels ; it loves its ease, sport and merrithings can you bring to their hearts, and how ment; it loves to be rich, well spoken of by men, can you devise to grieve them more?
and to be somebody in the world, but doth it Who is it then that you please by your sin love the curse of God? Doth it love to stand and death? It is none of your sensible, godly trembling before his bar, and to be judged to friends. Alas, it is the grief of their souls to everlasting fire? Doth it love to be tormented see your misery, and they lament you many with the devils for ever? Take all together; a time, when you give them little thanks for for there is no separating sin and hell, but only it, and when you have not hearts to lament your by faith and true conversion ; if you will keep selves.
one, you must have the other. If death and Who is it then that takes pleasure in your hell be pleasant to thee, no wonder then if thou sin? It is none but the three great enemies of go on in sin; but if they be not (as I am sure God, whom you renounced in your baptism, and they are not) then what if sin be ever so pleanow are turned falsely to serve.
sant, is it worth the loss of life eternal ? Is 1. The devil indeed takes pleasure in your sin a little drink, meat, ease, the good word of and death; for this is the very end of all his sinners, or the riches of this world, to be temptations: for this he watches night and day: valued above the joys of heaven? Or are they you cannot devise to please him better, than to worth the sufferings of eternal fire? These go on in sin : how glad is he when he sees thee questions should be considered before you go going to the alehouse, or other sin ; when he hears any farther by every any man that hath reason to thee curse or swear, or rail? How glad is he consider, and that believes he hath a soul to save when he hears thee revile the minister that would or lose. draw thee from thy sin, and help to save thee? Well, the Lord here swears that he hath no These are his delight.
pleasure in your death, but rather that you would 2. The wicked are also delighted in it, for it turn and live: if yet you will go on and die, rather is agreeable to their nature.
than turn, remember it was not to please God that 3. But I know, for all this, that it is not the you did it; it was to please the world, and to please pleasure of the devil that you intend, even when yourself
. If men will damn themselves to please you please him ; but it is your own flesh, the great themselves, run into endless torments for delight, est and most dangerous enemy, that you intend and have not the heart, the grace, to hearken to God to please. It is the flesh that would be pamper-or man that would reclaim them, what remedy? ed, that would be pleased in meat and drink, and But they must take what they get by it, and reclothing, that would be pleased in your company, pent in another manner, when it is too late. Bepleased in applause and credit with the world, fore I proceed any farther in the application, I pleased in sports and lusts, and idleness; this is shall come to the next doctrine; which gives a the gulph that devours all. This is the very fuller ground for it. God that you serve, for the scripture saith of Doct. V. So earnest is God for the conversuch, that their bellies are their God.'
sion of sinners, that he doubles his commands But I beseech you stay a little and consider and exhortations with vehemency; • Turn ye, the business.
turn ye, why will ye die ?" 1. Should your flesh be pleased before your This doctrine is the application of the former, Maker ? Will you displease the Lord, displease as by a use of exhortation, and accordingly I your teacher, and your godly friends, and all shall handle it. Is there an unconverted sinner, to please your sensual desires ? Is not God that hears these vehement words of God; is worthy to be a ruler of your flesh; if he shall there a man or woman in this assembly, that not rule it, he will not save it: you cannot in is yet a stranger to the renewing, sanctifyreason expect that he should.
ing works of the Holy Ghost ? It is a happy as2. Your flesh is pleased with your sin; but is sembly if it be not so with the most : hearken then your conscience pleased ? Doth not it grudge to the voice of your Maker, and turn to him by Christ without delay. Would you know the of heaven; you that are religious but a little, will of God? Why this is his will, that you and give God no more than your flesh can presently turn. Shall the living God send so spare; that have not denied your carnal selves, earnest a message to his creatures, and should and forsaken all that you have for Christ, in they not obey ? Hearken then all you that live the estimation and grounded resolution of your after the flesh, the Lord that gave thee thy breath souls, but have some one thing in the world so and being, hath sent a message to thee from dear to you, that you cannot spare it for Christ, heaven, and this is his message, • Turn ye, turn if he requires it, but will rather even venture on ye, why will you die? He that hath ears to his displeasure, than forsake it ; turn ye, turn hear let him hear. Shall the voice of the eter- ye, why will you die? nal Majesty be neglected ? If he but terri- If you never heard it, or observed it before ; bly thunder, thou art afraid. O but this voice remember that ye were told it from the word of doth more nearly concern thee ; if he but tell | God this day, that if you will but turn, you may thee that thou shalt die to-morrow, thou wouldst live; and if you will not turn 'you shall surely not make light of it, but this word concerns die.' thy life or death everlasting. It is both a com- What now will you do: what is your resolamand and an exhortation. As if he had said to tion ; will you turn or will you not? Halt not thee, I charge thee, upon the allegiance thou any longer between two opinions : if the Lord owest to me thy Creator and Redeemer, that be God, follow him: if your flesh be God, then thou renounce the flesh, the world and the devil, serve it still. If heaven be better than earth and turn to me, that thou mayest live. I con- and fleshly pleasures, come away then and seek descend to intreat thee, as thou lovest or fear- a better country, and lay up your treasure where est him that made thee; as thou lovest thine rust and moths do not corrupt, and thieves canown life, even thine everlasting life, turn and not break through and steal, and be awakened live; as ever thou wouldst escape eternal misery, at last with all your might to seek the kingdom turn, turn, for why wilt thou die? And is there that cannot be moved. Employ your lives a heart in man, in a reasonable creature, that on a higher design, and turn the stream of your can once refuse such a message, such a command, cares and labours another way than formerly such an exhortion as this? O what a thing then you have done : but if earth be better than is the heart of man !
heaven, or will do more for you, or last you Hearken then, all that love yourselves, and longer, then keep it and make your best of it, all that regard your own salvation. Here is the and follow it still. Are you resolved what to most joyful message that ever was sent to the do? If you be not, I will set a few more moving ears of man, “Turn ye, turn ye, why will you die?' considerations before you, to see if reason will You are not yet shut up under desperation. make you resolve. Here is mercy offered you, turn and you shall 1. Consider what preparations mercy hath made have it. O sirs, with what glad and joyful hearts for your salvation : and what pity it is that any should
receive these tidings! I know that man should be damned after all this. The time this is not the first time that you have heard it; was when the flaming sword was in the way, but how have you regarded it, or how do you and the curse of God's law would have kept thee regard it now? Hear, all you ignorant, careless back, if thou hadst been ever so willing to turn sinners, the word of the Lord. Hear, all you to God: the time was when thyself, and all the worldlings, you sensual flesh-pleasers, you glut- friends that thou hadst in the world, could never tons, drunkards, whoremongers, and swearers; have procured thee the pardon of thy sins past, you railers, backbiters, slanderers, and liars ; though thou hadst never so much lamented, and * turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?'
reformed them. But Christ hath removed this Hear, all you cold and formal professors, and impediment, by the ransom of his blood. The all that are strangers to the life of Christ, who time was, that God was wholly unreconciled, as never knew the power of his cross and resurrec-being not satisfied for the violation of his law: tion, who never felt your hearts warmed with his but now he is so far satistied and reconciled, as love, and live not on him as the strength of your that he hath made thee a free act of oblivion, souls ; turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ?' and a free deed of the gift of Christ and life, and
Hear, all that are void of the love of God, offers it to thee, and intreats thee to accept it, whose hearts are not toward him, nor taken up and it may be thine if thou wilt. For, “ he was with the hopes of glory, but set more by your in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and earthly prosperity and delights, than by the joys bath committed to us the word of actual recon
ciliation.' Siuners, we are commanded to do this to receive thee, and yet art thou not ready to message to you all, as from the Lord. Come, for come in ? all things are ready. Are all things ready,' and Yea, heaven itself is ready: the Lord will reare you unready? God is ready to entertain ceive thee into the glory of the saints, vile as you and pardon all that you have done against thou hast been ; if thou wilt but be cleansed thou him, if
will but come. As long as you have mayest have a place before his throne: his angels sinned, as wilfully as you have sinned, as hein- will be ready to guard thy soul to the place of ously as you have sinned, he is ready to cast all joy, if thou but unfeignedly come in. And behind his back, if you will but come. Though is God ready, the sacrifice of Christ ready, the you have been prodigals, and run away from promise ready, and pardon ready? Are minisGod, and have staid so long, he is ready eventers ready, the people of God ready, heaven itto meet you, and embrace you in his arms, and self ready, and angels ready, and all these but rejoice in your conversion, if you will but turn. waiting for thy conversion ; and yet art thou not Even the earthly worldling and debauched drunk- ready? What! not ready to live, when thou ard may find God ready to bid him welcome, hast been dead so long ? Not ready to come to if they will but come. Doth not this turn thy thy right understanding; as the prodigal is said heart within thee? O sinner, if thou hast a to come to himself, when thou hast been beside heart of flesh, and not of stone in thee, methinks thyself so long? Not ready to be saved, when this should melt it; shall the dreadful infinite thou art even ready to be condemned ? Art Majesty of heaven, even wait for thy returning, thou not ready to lay hold on Christ that would and be ready to receive thee who hast abused deliver thee, when thou art even ready to drown, him, and forgotten him so long ? Shall he de- and sink into damnation ? Art thou not ready light in thy conversion, that might at any time to be saved from hell, when thou art even ready glorify his justice in thy damnation ; and doth to be cast remediless into it; alas, man! dost it not yet melt thy heart within thee, and art thou thou know what thou dost? If thou die unconnot yet ready to come in ? Hast thou not as verted, there is no doubt to be made of thy dammuch reason to be ready to come, as God hath nation : thou art not sure to live an hour: and to invite thee and bid thee welcome ?
yet art thou not ready to turn, and to come in ? But that is not all ; Christ hath done his part O miserable wretch! hast thou not served the on the cross, and made such a way for thee to flesh and the devil long enough! Yet hast thou the Father that on his account thou mayest be not enough of sin. Is it so good to thee, or so welcome, if thou wilt come. And yet art thou profitable for thee? Dost thou know what it is, not ready?
that thou wouldest yet have more of it ? Hast A pardon is already expressly granted, and thou had so many calls, so many mercies, so offered thee in the gospel. And yet art thou many blows and so many examples ? Hast not ready ?
thou seen so many laid in the grave, and yet art The ministers of the gospel are ready to assist thou not ready to let go thy sins, and come to thee, to instruct thee, and pronounce the absolv. Christ ? What ! after so many convictions and ing words of peace to thy soul ; they are ready misgivings of conscience, after so many purposes to pray for thee, and to seal up thy pardon by and promises, art thou not yet ready to turn and the administration of the holy sacrament; and live ? O that thy eyes, thy heart were opened, yet art thou not ready?
to know how fair an offer is now made to thee! All that fear God about thee, are ready to re- What a joyful message it is that we are sent on, joice in thy conversion, and to receive thee into to bid thee come, for all things are ready. the communion of saints, and to give thee the 2. Consider also what calls thou hast to turn right hand of fellowship, yea, though thou hadst and live. How many, how loud, how earnest, been one that had been cast out of their society : how dreadful, and yet what encouraging, joyful they dare not but forgive, where God forgives, calls. when it is manifest to them by thy confession For the principal invitor it is God himself. He and amendment: they dare not so much as re- that commands heaven and earth, commands thee proach thee with thy former sins, because they to turn : and presently, without delay, to turn ; know that God will not upbraid thee with them. he commands the sun to run its course, and to If thou hadst been never so scandalous, if thou rise upon thee every morning ; though it be so wouldst but heartily be converted and come in, glorious a creature, and many times bigger than they would not refuse thee, let the world say all the earth, yet it obeys him, and fails not one what they would against it. Are all these ready minute of its appointed time. He commands