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all the planets, and orbs of heaven, and they | with me, and he shall make peace with me. It obey: he commands the sea to ebb and flow, is an unequal combat for the briars and stubble and the whole creation to keep its course, and to make war with the fire. they all obey him : the angels of heaven obey Thus you see who it is that calls you, that his will, when he sends them to minister to such should move you to hear this call, and turn : so silly worms as we on earth. And yet if he com- consider also, by what instruments, how often, mand but a sinner to turn, he will not obey him: and how earnestly he doth it. he only thinks himself wiser than God, he cavils Every leaf of the blessed book of God hath, and pleads the cause of sin, and will not obey. as it were, a voice, and calls out unto thee, Turn If the Lord Almighty says the word, the heavens and live, turn or thou wilt die. How canst thou and all therein obey him ; but if he call a drunk- open it, and read a leaf, or hear a chapter, and ard out of an ale-house he will not obey; or if not perceive God bids thee turn? he call a worldly, fleshly sinner to deny himself, It is the voice of every sermon thou hearest ; mortify the flesh, and set his heart on a better for what else is the scope of all, but to call, perinheritance, he will not obey.
suade, and intreat thee to turn. If thou hadst any love in thee, thou wouldst It is the voice of many a motion of the Spirit, know the voice, and say, O this is my Father's that secretly speaks over these words again, and call! How can I find in my heart to disobey ? urges thee to turn. For the sheep of Christ know and hear his It is likely sometimes, it is the voice of thy voice, and they follow him, and he giveth them own conscience. Art thou not sometimes coneternal life. If thou hast any spiritual life and vinced, that all is not well with thee; doth not sense in thee, at least thou wouldst say, This thy conscience tell thee, that thou must be a new call is the dreadful voice of God, and who dare man, take a new course, and often call upon thee disobey ? For saith the prophet, “ The lion hath to return ? roared, who will not fear?' God is not a man, It is the voice of the gracious examples of the that thou shouldst trifle and play with him. Re- godly. When thou seest them live an heavenly member what he said to Paul at his conversion, life, and Ay from the sin which is thy delight, it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.' this really calls upon thee to turn. Wilt thou yet go on and despise his word, re- It is the voice of all the works of God. For sist his Spirit, and stop thine ears against his they also are God's books that teach thee this call? Who is it that will have the worst of lesson, by showing thee his greatness, wisdom, this? Dost thou know whom thou disobeyest and goodness, and calling thee to observe them, and contendest with, and what thou art doing ? and admire the Creator. The heavens declare It were a far wiser and easier task for thee, to the glory of God, and the firmament showeth contend with the thorns, and spurn them with his handy work; day unto day uttereth speech, thy bare feet, and beat them with thy bare hands, night unto night showeth knowledge: every or put thy head into the burning fire. "Be not time the sun rises upon thee, it really calls deceived, God will not be mocked.' Whosoever thee to turn, as if it should say, · What do I traelse be mocked God will not; you had better vel and compass the world for, but to declare to play with the fire among gunpowder than with men the glory of their Maker, and to light them the fire of his burning wrath. • For our God is to do his work ? And do I still find thee doing a consuming fire.' O how unmeet a match art the work of sin and sleeping out thy life in neg. thou for God; it is a fearful thing to fall into ligence? Awake thou that sleepest, and arise his hands. Therefore it is a fearful thing to from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. contend with him, or resist him. As you love The night is spent, the day is at hand. It is your own souls, take heed what you do. What now high time to awake out of sleep, let us will you say, if he begin in wrath to plead with therefore cast off the works of darkness, and you? What will you do if he take you once in let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk hand ? Will you then strive against his judg- honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkment, as now you do against his grace? Saith enness, not in chambering and wantonness, not the Lord, · Fury is not in me,' that is, I delight in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord not to destroy : I do it as it were unwillingly; Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the but yet, “who wonld set the briars and thorns flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. This text was against me in battle? I would go through them, the means of Augustine's conversion. I would burn them together. Or let him take It is the voice of every mercy thou dost poshold of my strength, that he may make peace sess. If thou couldst but hear, and understand them, they all cry out unto thee, Turn: why son, but to rule thy flesh, and serve thy Lord? doth the earth bear thee, but to seek and serve Why hast thou an understanding soul, but to the Lord ? Why doth it afford thee fruit, but learn and know his will, and do it? Why hast to serve him? Why doth the air afford thee thou an heart within thee that can love, fear and breath, to serve him? Why do all the creatures desire, but that thou shouldest fear him, love him, serve thee with their labours, and their lives, but and desire after him? that thou mightest serve the Lord of them and
Yea, thine own engagements by promise to the thee? Why doth be give thee time, health, Lord, call upon thee to turn and serve him. Thou and strength, but to serve him? Why hast thou hast bound thyself to him by a baptismal covenmeat, drink and clothes, but for his service ? ant, and renounced the world, the flesh, and the Hast thou any thing which thou hast not re- devil; this thou hast confirmed by the profession ceived ? If thou didst receive them, it is rea- of Christianity, and renewed it at sacraments, son thou shouldest bethink thee from whom, and and in times of affliction : wilt thou promise and to what end and use thou didst receive them. vow, but never perform, and turn to God? Didst thou never cry to him for help in thy dis- Lay all these together now, and see what tress? And didst thou not then understand that should be the issue. The holy scriptures call it was thy part to turn and serve him, if he would upon thee to turn : the ministers of Christ call deliver thee? He hath done his part, and spared upon thee to turn : the Spirit, thy conscience, thee yet longer, and tried thee another and ano- and the godly, by persuasions and examples, ther year, yet thou dost not turn. You know the cry turn: the whole world and all the creatures parable of the unfruitful fig-tree; when the therein that are presented to thy consideration, Lord had said, 'Cut it down, why cumbereth it cry turn: the patient forbearance of God, all the ground ? he was intreated to try it one the mercies which thou receivest, the rod of year longer, and then if it proved not fruitful, God's chastisement cry turn : thy reason, and to cut it down. Christ himself there makes the the frame of thy nature bespeaks thy turning : application twice over, “Except ye repent, ye and so do all thy promises to God, and yet art shall all likewise perish. How many years hath thou not resolved to turn ? God looked for the fruits of love and holiness 3. Moreover, poor hard-hearted sinner, didst from thee, and hath found none? And yet hath thou ever consider upon what terms thou standspared thee. How many times by thy wilful est all this while with him that calleth on thee ignorance, carelessness, and disobedience, hast to turn ? Thou art his own, and owest him thythou provoked justice to say, Cut him down, self, and all thou hast; and may he not comwhy cumbereth he the ground ? Yet mercy hath mand his own ? Thou art his absolute servant, prevailed, and patience hath forborne the killing, and shouldest serve no other master, thou standdamning blow to this day. If thou hadst the est at his mercy, and thy life is in his hand; understanding of a man within thee, thou wouldst and he is resolved to save thee upon no other know that all this calls thee to turn. "Dost thou terms: thou hast many malicious spiritual enethink thou shalt still escape the judgment of mies, that would be glad if God would but for. God? Or despisest thou the riches of his good- sake thee ; and let them alone with thee, and ness, forbearance, and long suffering, not know- leave thee to their will; how quickly would they ing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to re- deal with thee in another manner? Thou canst pentance ? But after thy hardness and impeni- not be delivered from them, but by turning unto tent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath God. Thou art fallen under his wrath by thy against the day of wrath, and revelation of the sin already; and thou knowest not how long his righteous God, who will render to every one ac- patience will yet wait. Perhaps this is the last cording to his deeds.'
year; perhaps the last day : his sword is even Moreover, it is the voice of every affliction, at thy heart, while the word is in thine ear; if to call thee to make haste and turn. Sickness thou turn not, thou art a dead and undone man. and pain cry turn: poverty, the loss of friends, Were thy eyes but open to see where thou and every twig of the chastising rod cry turn; standest, even upon the brink of hell, and to see yet wilt thou not hearken to the call ? These how many thousands are there already that did have come near thee, and made thee feel: they not turn, thou wouldst see that it is time to have made thee groan, and can they not make look about thee. thee turn.
Look inwards now, and tell me, how are your The very frame of thy nature and being it- hearts affected with these offers of the Lord : self bespeaks thy return. Why hast thou rea- 1 you hear what is his mind; he delights not in
your death : he calls to you, Turn, turn; it is a not a soul in heaven that is sorry that they were fearful sign if all this move thee not, or if it converted. but half move thee, and much more if it make Are you yet resolved, or are you not ; do I thee more careless in thy misery, because thou need to say no more to you; what will you do; hearest of the mercy of God. The working of will you turn or not? Speak in thy heart to the medicine will partly tell us, whether there God, though thou speak not out to me: speak, be any hope of the cure. O what glad tidings lest he take thy silence for a denial ; speak quickwould it be to those that are now in hell, if ly, lest he never make thee like offer more. they had but such a message from God! What Speak resolvedly, and not waveringly; for he a joyful word would it be to hear this, Turn and will have no indifferent persons to be his followlive! Yea, what a welcome word would it be ers. Say in thy heart now, without any more to thyself, when thou hast felt that wrath of God delay, even before thou stir hence, • By the but an hour: or, if after a thousand, and ten grace of God, I am resolved presently to turn. thousand years' torment, thou couldst but hear Because I know mine own insufficiency, I am such a word from God, Turn and live ; and yet resolved to wait on God for his grace, follow wilt thou neglect it, and suffer us to return with him in his
former courses and out our errand ?
companions, and give up myself to the guidance Behold, sinners, we are set here as the mes of the Lord.' sengers of the Lord, to set before you life and You are not shut up in the darkness of hea. death ; what say you, which of them will you thenism, nor in the desperation of the damned. choose ? Christ stands as it were by thee, with Life is before you, and you may have it on reaheaven in one hand, and hell in the other, and sonable terms if vou will ; vea, on free cost, if offers thee thy choice, which wilt thou choose ? you will accept it. The way of God lies plain • The voice of the Lord makes the rocks to trem- before you, the church is open to you, and you ble.' And is it nothing to hear him threaten may have Christ, pardon and holiness, if you thee, if thou wilt not turn ? Dost thou not un
will. What say you; will you or will you not? derstand and feel this voice, turn ye, turn If you say nay, or say nothing, and still go on, ye, why will ye die ? Why, it is the voice of God is witness, this congregation is witness, love, of infinite love, of thy best and kindest he who now announces to you these awful friend, as thou mightest easily perceive by the truths is witness, and your own consciences motion, and yet canst thou neglect it? It is are witness, how fair an offer you
had this day. the voice of pity and compassion. The Lord Remember you might have had Christ, and you sees whither thou art going, better than thou would not; remember, when you have lost it, dost, which makes himn call after thee, Turn, that you might have had eternal life, as well as • turn: he sees what will become of thee, if thou others, and would not: and all this because you turn not: he thinks with himself, Ah this
would not turn!
poor sinner will cast himself into endless torment, if
But let us come to the next doctrine, and he do not turn : I must in justice deal with him near your reasons. according to my righteous law; and therefore Doct. VI. The Lord condescends to reason he calls after thee, Turn, turn. O sinner! If the case with unconverted sinners, and to ask thou didst but know the thousandth part as well them why they will die. as God doth, the danger that is near you, and A strange disputation it is, both as to the conthe misery that you are running into, we should troversy, and as to the disputants. have no more need to call after you to turn. The controversy or question propounded to
Moreover, this voice that calls to thee, is the dispute of is, why wicked men will damn themsame that hath prevailed with thousands already, selves? Or, whether they will rather die than and called all to heaven that are now there : turn? Whether they have any sufficient reason they would not now for a thousand worlds that for so doing? they nad neglected it, and not turned to God. The disputants are God and man: the most Now what are they possessing that turned at holy God, and wicked unconverted sinners. God's call ? Now they perceive indeed that it Is it not a strange thing which God doth was the voice of love, that meant them no more seem here to suppose, that any man should be harm than their salvation. And if thou wilt willing to die, and be damned; yea, that this obey the same call thou shalt come to the same should be the case of all the wicked ; that is, happiness. There are millions that must for of the greatest part of the world? But you ever lament that they turned not, but there is I will say, this cannot be; for nature desires the
preservation and felicity of itself, and the lead unto the end; and that God hath, by his wicked are more selfish than others, not less ; righteous law, concluded, that ye must repent and therefore how can any man be willing to be or perish ? He that will take poison may as damned?
well say, I will kill myself, for it will prove no To which I answer, First, It is a certain truth, better in the end: though perhaps he loved it that no man can be willing of any evil, as evil, for the sweetness of the sugar that was mixed but only as it hath some appearance of good; with it, and would not be persuaded it was poimuch less can any man be willing to be eternally son, but that he might take it and do well tormented. Misery, as such, is desired by none. enough? But it is not his conceits and confiSecond, But yet for all that, it is most true, dence that will save his life: so if you will be which God here teaches us, that the cause why drunkards, fornicators, worldlings, or live after the wicked die and are damned, is, because they the flesh, you may as well say plainly, we will be will die and be damned. This is true in several damned; for so you shall be unless you turn. respects.
Would you not rebuke the folly of a thief or 1. Because they will go the way that leads to murderer that would say, I will steal or kill, but hell, though they are told by God and man whe- I will not be hanged; when he knows, that if ther it goes, and where it ends. Though God he do the one, the judge in justice will see that hath so often professed in his word, that if they the other be done : if he says, I will steal and hold on in that way they shall be condemned ; murder, he may as well say plainly, I will be that they shall not be saved unless they turn. hanged; so if you will go on in a carnal life, • There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the you may as well say plainly, we will go to hell. wicked.—The way of peace they know not ; 2. Moreover, the wicked will not use those there is no judgment in their going ; they have means without which there is no hope of their made them crooked paths, whosoever goeth there- salvation : he that will not eat, may as well say in shall not know peace. They have the word plainly he will not live, unless he can tell how to and the oath of the living God for it, that if they live without meat. He that will not go his will not turn, they shall not enter into his rest. journey, may as well say plainly, he will not Yet wicked they are, and wicked they will be, come to the end. He that falls into the water, let God and man say what they will: fleshly and will not come out, nor suffer another to help they are, and fleshly they will be; worldlings him out, may as well say plainly, he will be they are, and worldlings they will be; though drowned. So if you be carnal and ungodly, God hath told them that the love of the world and will not be converted, nor use the means by is enmity to God; and that if any man love the which you should be converted, but think it more world (in that measure) the love of the Father ado than needs, you may as well say plainly, you is not in him.' So that consequently these men will be damned. For if you have found out a are willing to be damned, though not directly : way to be saved without conversion, you have they are willing of the way to hell, and love done that which was never done before. the certain cause of their torment, though they 3. Yea this is not all, but the wicked are unbe not willing of hell itself, and do not love the willing, even of salvation itself. Though they pain which they must endure.
may desire somewhat which they call by the Is not this the truth of your case ? You
name of heaven, yet heaven itself, considered would not burn in hell, but you will kindle the in the true nature of the felicity, they desire fire by your sins, and cast yourselves into it; not: yea, their hearts are quite against it. Heayou would not be tormented with devils in hell, ven is a state of perfect holiness, and of conbut you will do that which will certainly procure tinual love and praise to God, and the wicked it in despite of all that can be said against it. have no heart to this. The imperfect love, It is just as if you would say, 'I will drink poi- praise, and holiness which is here to be obtained, son, but yet I will not die. I will cast myself they have no mind of; much less of that which headlong from the top of a steeple, but yet I is so much greater; the joys of heaven are of will not kill myself. I will thrust my knife into so pure and spiritual a nature, that the heart of my heart, but yet I will not take away my life. the wicked cannot truly desire them. I will put this fire into my bosom, but yet I will So that by this time you may
see on what not be burned by it. Just so it is with wicked ground it is that God supposes that the wicked men ; they will be wicked, and live after the are willing of their own destruction: they will flesh and the world, yet they would not be not turn, though they must turn or die : they will damned. But do you not know, that the means rather venture on certain misery, than be converted ; and then to quiet themselves in their Look up your best and strongest reason, sins, they will make themselves believe, that they sinners, if you will make good your way: you shall nevertheless escape.
see now with whom you have to deal. What As the controversy is matter of wonder, sayest thou, O unconverted, sensual sinner? that ever men should be such enemies to them- Darest thou venture upon a dispute with God: selves, as wilfully to cast away their souls, so are art thou able to confute him? Art thou ready the disputants too. That God should stoop so to enter the list? God asks thee, why wilt thou low, as thus to plead the case with man; and die ? Art thou furnished with a sufficient answer? that man should be so strangely blind and obsti-Wilt thou undertake to prove that God is misnate as to need all this in so plain a case, yea, taken, and that thou art in the right? O what and to resist all this, when their own salvation an undertaking is that! Why, either he or you lies upon the issue.
is mistaken, when he is for your conversion, and No wonder, if they will not hear us that are you are against it: he calls upon you to turn, men, when they will not hear the Lord himself : and you will not : he bids you do it presently, as God saith, when he sent the prophet to the even to-day, while it is called to-day, but you Israelites, “ the house of Israel will not hearken delay, and think it time enough hereafter. He unto thee : for they will not hearken unto me: saith it must be a total change, that you must for all the house of Israel are impudent, and hard-be holy and new creatures, and born again ; but hearted. No wonder, if they can plead against you think that less may serve the turn, and that a minister, or a godly neighbour, when they will it is enough to patch up the old man, without plead against the Lord himself, even against the becoming new. Who is in the right now, God plainest passages of his word, and think they or you; God calls on you to turn and to live an have reason on their side: when they 'weary holy life, and you will not; by your disobedient the Lord with their words ;' they say, 'wherein lives, it appears you will not. If you will, why have we wearied him ?' The priests that de- do you not? Why have you not done it all this spised his name, durst ask, wherein have we while ? And why do you not fall upon it yet? despised thy name.' And when they "polluted Your wills have the command of your lives, we his altar, and made the tables of the Lord con- may certainly conclude, that you are unwilling temptible,' they durst say, wherein have we to turn, when you do not turn. Why will you polluted thee;' but woe unto him,' saith the not? Can you give any reason for it, that is Lord, that striveth with his Maker! Let the worthy to be called a reason ? potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth; I that am but a worm, your fellow creature, shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, what of a shallow capacity, dare challenge the wisest makest thou ?
of you all to reason the case with me, while I But why is it that God will reason the case plead my Maker's cause, and I need not be diswith man?
couraged, when I know I plead but the cause that Because that man, being a reasonable creature, God pleads, and contend for him that will have is accordingly to be dealt with ; and by reason the best at last. Had I but these two general to be persuaded and overcome. God hath there- grounds against you, I am sure that you have no fore endowed them with reason, that they might good reason on your
side. use it for him. One would think a reasonable 1. I am sure
can be no good reason which creature should not go against the clearest and is against the God of truth and reason; it cannot greatest reason in the world, when it is set be- be light, that is contrary to the sun. There is fore him.
no knowledge in any creature, but what it had At least men shall see that God did require from God, and therefore none can be wiser than nothing of them that was unreasonable, but that God; it were reckless presumption for the highwhatever he commands them, and whatever he est angel to compare with his Creator. It is one forbids them, he hath all the right reason in the of the fullest discoveries of the horrible wickedworld on his side, and they have good reason to ness of carnal men, and the madness of such obey him, but none to disobey. And thus even who sin, that so silly a worm dare contradict the damned shall be forced to justify God, and his Maker, and call in question the word of confess that it was but reason that they should God: yea, that those people in your parishes, have turned to him, and they shall be forced to that are so beastly ignorant, that they cancondemn themselves, and confess that they have not give us a reasonable answer concerning little reason to cast away themselves by the ne- the very principles of religion, and yet so wise glecting of his grace in the day of their visitation in their own conceit, that they dare question the