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liberties or lives, be sure you look to life eter- | delay, laugh, play, and dream away their time,
in the addition of mere abilities; and that there-
and you will find there was much more asleep 7. Can I do no more, that know not now but in you than you. used.
I ain doing my last ; that see how fast
time I shall therefore next endeavour to awaken makes haste, and know I must be quickly gone; your abilities, or tell you how you should awaken that know it must be now or never; and that them.
this is all the time I shall have, on which an end. When your souls are drowsy, and you are for- less life depends ? getting your God, and your latter end, and matters 8. Can I do no better, when I know beforeof eternity have little force and savour with you; hand, what different aspects diligence and negliwhen you grow lazy and superficial, or religion gence will have, to the awakened soul in the reseems a lifeless thing and you do your duty as view, and what a comfort it will be at death and if it were in vain, or against your wills; when judgment, to be able to say, I did my best, or you can lose your time, and delay repentance, loitered not away the time I had ? And what and friends, profit, reputation, and pleasure can a vexatious and heart-disquieting thing it will be heard against the word of God, and take you then be to look back on time as irrecoverably off; when you do all by halves, and languish in lost, and on a life of trial, as cast away apon imyour Christian course, as near to death ; stir up pertinencies, while the work that we lived for your souls with the urgency of such questions lay undone? Shall I now, by trifling, prepare as these.
such tormenting thoughts for my awakened conQuest. 1. Can I do no more than this for God; science ? who gave me all ; who deserves all ; who sees 9. Can I do no more, when I am sure I canme in my duties and my sins; when he puts me not do too much, and am sure there is nothing purposely on the trial, what I can do for his else to be preferred ? And that it is this I live sake and service, can I do no more ; can I love for: and that life is for action; and disposes him no more; obey, watch, and work no more ? thereunto; and holy life for holy action, and that
2. Can I do no more than this for Christ ; for it is better not live, than not attain the ends of him that did so much for me; that lived so ex- living; when I have so many and unwearied actly; obeyed so perfectly ; walked so inoffen- enemies ; when sloth is my danger, and the adsively and meekly ; despising all the baits, hon- vantage of my enemy, when I know that resoluours, and riches of the world ? That loved me to tion and vigorous diligence is so necessary, that the death, and offers me freely all his benefits, all is lost without it. Will temptations be reand would bring me to eternal glory; are these sisted and self-denied, concupiscence mortified, careless, cold and dull endeavours my best re- and Aleshly desires tamed and subdued, sin cast turn for all this mercy ?
out, and a holy communion with heaven main3. Can I do no more when my salvation is tained with idleness and sloth ; will families be the prize; when heaven or hell depend much on well ordered, and church, or city, or country it? When I know this beforehand, and may well governed; will the careless sinners that I see in the glass of the holy scriptures what is ain bound to help, be converted and saved, with prepared for the diligent and the negligent, and sitting still, and with some heartless cold endeawhat work there is and will be for ever in heaven (vours ? and hell on these accounts; could I not do more, 10. Can I do no inore that have so much help; if my house were on fire, or my estate or life, that have mercies of all sorts encouraging me, or friend in danger, than I do for my salvation? and creatures attending me; that have health to
4. Can I do no more for the souls of men ; enable me, or affliction to remember and excite when they are undone for ever, if they be not me, that have such a master, such a work, such speedily delivered; is this my love and compas- a reward, as better cannot be desired ; who is sion to my neighbour, my servant, friend or less excusable for neglect than I? child ?
11. Could I do no more, if I were sure that 5. Can I do no more for the church of God; my salvation lay on this one duty; that accordfor the public good; for the peace and welfare ing to this prayer, it should go with me for ever ; of the nation and our posterity ; in suppressing or if the soul of my child, or servant, or neighsin; in praying for deliverance; or in promoting bour must speed for ever, as my endeavours works of public benefit ?
speed with them now for their conversion ; for 6. Can I do no more, that have loitered so ought I know it may be thus. long ; and go no faster, that have slept till the 12. Would I have God to come with the spur evening of my days, when diligence must be the and rod; how do I complain when affliction is discovery of my repentance ?
upon me; and will I neither endure it, nor be
quickened without it; is it not better to mend original sin, and the necessity of a Redeemer, my pace and work on easier terms ?
and of renewing grace. I would not have distressed souls use these Distracted, miserable souls ! Is it not enough considerations merely to disquiet themselves for for you to refuse your own salvation, but you their infirmities, and so live in heaviness and must be angry with all that will not imitate you! self-vexation, because they cannot be as good as Is it not mad enough, and bad enough to choose they desire, or do as much and as well as they | damnation, but you must be offended with all should do : It is not despair that will mend the that are not of your mind. If you will not bematter, but make it worse. But I would wish lieve God, that without regeneration, conversion, the lazy slothful soul to plead these questions holiness, and a heavenly, spiritual life, there is no with itself, and try whether they have no quick- salvation to be hoped for, must we all be unbeening power, if closely urged, and seriously con- lievers with you? If you will laugh at hell till sidered.
you are in it, must we do so too ? If God and Believe it, it is the deceitfulness of prosperity glory seem less worth to you than your fleshly that keeps up the reputation of a slothful life, pleasures for a time, must we renounce and makes holy diligence seem unnecessary. Christianity and our reason for fear of differing When affliction comes, awakened reason is from you? If you dare differ from your Maker, ashamed of this, and sees it as an odious thing. the Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost, from all the
By this time you may see what difference prophets, apostles, and evangelists, and all that there is between the judgment of God, and of ever came to heaven, might not we be bold to the world, and what to think of the understand differ from you? If you will needs be ungodly, ings of those men, be they high or low, learned and choose your everlasting woe, be patient with or unlearned, that hate or oppose this holy dili- them that have more understanding, and dare gence. God bids us love, seek, and serve him, not be so hardy as to leap after you into the with all our heart, soul, and might: and these unquenchable fire: Mock not at holiness if you men call them zealots, enthusiasts, and puritans, have no mind of it. Hinder not them that that endeavour it; though alas, they fall exceed- strive to enter in at the strait gate, if you reingly short, when they have done their best. It frain yourselves. Be not so desirous of comis one of the most wonderful monstrosities and pany in hell. It will prove no comfort to you, deformities that ever befell the nature of man, or abatement of your pain. that men, that learned men, that men that in But because you have the faces to contradict other things are wise, should seriously think that the God of truth, and to reproach that work the utmost diligence to obey the Lord and save which he commands, and to say, What needs so our souls, is needless, that ever they should take much ado? when he bids us do it with all our it for a crime, and make it a matter of reproach : might; I will briefly tell you what you are doing, that the serious, diligent obeying of God's laws, and show you the deformed face of the scorner, should be the matter of the common disdain and and the filthy hearts of the enemies of holiness, hatred of the world ; that no men are more gen- that if it may be, you may lothe yourselves. erally abhorred, and tossed up and down by im
- 1. These enemies of holy diligence deny God patient men; that great and small, the rulers and with their works and lives, and are practical vulgar rabble, in most places of the earth cannot atheists; and it seems are so near of kin to endure them. To think how the first man that “that wicked one,' that they would have all others ever was born into the world, did hate his own to do so too. And then how soon would earth brother till he had proceeded to murder him, be- be turned into hell ! The case is plain: if God cause he served God better than himself, be- deserve not to be loved and served with all thy cause his own works were evil, and his brother's heart, soul and might, he is not God. And if righteous ;' and how constantly this horrid un- thy wealth, or honour, or flesh, or friend deserve natural madness hath succeeded and raged in more of thy love, care, and diligence than God, the world from Cain until this day. It is not in then that is thy God that deserves best. See vain that the Holy Ghost adds in the next words, now what these deriders of purity and obedience • Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.' think of God, and of the world. Implying that we are apt to marvel at it
, as 1 2. These Cainites blaspheme the Governor of confess I have often and greatly done. Methinks, the world: when he hath given laws to the creait is so wonderful a plague and stain in nature, tures that he made of nothing, these sinners dethat it doth very much to confirm me of the truth ride and hate men for obeying them. If God of scripture ; of the doctrine of man's fall and I have not commanded that which you oppose, contradict it, and spare not: I would you were judge, he implies that you may despise a conmuch more against that pretended religion which stable. No king is so great in comparison of he commands not. But if he have commanded God, as the meanest insect to that king. He it, and yet you dare revile them as too pure and therefore that would relax the laws of God, and precise that would obey it, what do you but make it seem a needless thing to obey him dilicharge the King of saints with making laws that gently and exactly, implies that obedience to any are not to be obeyed ; which must needs imply of the sons of men is much more needless. that they are foolish, or bad, though made by And you that are children or servants, take the most wise and good.
heed of the doctrine of these men: masters, ad3. These enemies of holiness oppose the prac- mit it not into your families. If he be worthy tice of the very first principles of all religion. to be scorned as a puritan, who is careful to For • he that cometh to God, must believe that please and obey the Lord, what scorn do your God is, and that he is the rewarder of them that children and servants deserve, if they will be diligently seek him. It is diligent seeking him obedient and pleasing to such as you? that they hate and set themselves against.
9. All you that are poor tradesmen, take heed 4. Do not they judge heaven to be less worth of the consequences of the Cainites' scorns, lest than earth ; when they will do less for it, and it make you give over the labours of your callwould have others to do so too?
ing, and turn yourselves and families into beg. 5. They would have us all unchristian and gary. For if heaven be not worth your greatest unman ourselves, as if there were no life to labour, your bodies are not worth the least. come ; as if our reason and all our faculties were 10. These Cainites speak against the awakened given us in vain. For if they are not given us consciences, and the confessions of all the world. for greater matters than all the honours and Whatsoever they may say in the dream of their pleasures of the world, they are in vain, or blind presumption and security, at last, when worse; and the life of man is but a dream' and death hath opened their eyes, they all cry, O misery. Were not an irrational animal less mi- that we had been saints! O that we might die serable, if this were all ?'
the death of the righteous, and that our last end 6. How base a price do these Cainites set on might be as his! O that we had spent that time, the immortal soul of man, that think it not worth care, and labour for our souls, which we spent so much ado, as the careful obedience of the on that which now is gall to our remembrance! laws of Christ; nor worth so much as they And yet these men will take no warning, but now do themselves for their filthy sins and perishing oppose and deride that course that all the world flesh ? But would have us so mad as to sell do wish at last they had been as zealous for as heaven and our souls for a little sinful sloth and
11. The enemy himself hath a conscience 7. These enemies of holiness would have men within him, that either grudges against his malitake their mercies for their hurt, and their great- cious impiety, and witnesses that he abuses them est blessings for a burden or a plague, and to that are far better than himself, or at least will run into hell to be delivered from them. Why shortly call him to a reckoning, and tell him betman, dost thou know what holiness is; and what ter what he did, make him change his views, it is to have access to God? I tell thee it is the and wish himself in the case of those that he foretaste of heaven on earth. It is the highest did oppose. glory, sweetest delight, and chief enjoyment of 12. To conclude, the Cainite is of that wicked the soul. Art thou afraid of having too much of one, of his father the devil, and is his walking, this? What, thou that hast none, which should speaking instrument on earth, saying what he make thee tremble, art thou afraid of having too himself would say: he is the open enemy of much? Thou that never fearest too much money, God. For who are his enemies, but the enemies nor too much honour, nor too much health, art of holiness, of his laws, of our obedience, of his thou afraid of too much spiritual health and holi- image, and of his saints ? How will Christ deal ness? What shall be thy desire, if thou lothe at last with his enemies? O that they knew, and fly from thy felicity ?
that, foreseeing, they might escape! This is the 8. You that are loyal subjects, take heed of true picture of a Cainite, or enemy of a holy these ungodly scorners : for by consequence they life, that reproaches serious diligence as a prewould tempt you to despise your king, and make cise and needless thing, when God commands us, a mock at the obeying of his commands and and death, the grave, and eternity admonish us laws. For if a man persuade you to despise a to do his work with all our might. Now con
sider this ye that forget God, lest he tear you in improvement of the Lord's day, or any other acpieces, and there be none to deliver you.' tions of strictness and holy industry are men
But of all the opposers of serious holiness in tioned, these ungodly ministers are ready to the world, there are none more inexcusable blame them with some open calumnies, or secret and deplorably miserable, than those that pro- reproaches, or words of suspicion, to vindicate fess themselves ministers of Christ. Would their own unholy lives, and make people believe one believe that had not known them, that there that serious piety is faction and hypocrisy. The are such men in the world? Alas, there are too black tincture of their minds, and the design and many. Though education, and the laws of the drift of their preaching may be perceived in the land engage them to preach true doctrine, yet are sneers and slanderous intimations against the they false teachers in the application. For they most diligent servants of the Lord. The connever well learned the holy and heavenly doc- troverted truths that such maintain, they repretrine which they preach, nor digested it, nor re
errors : their unavoidable errors they ceived the power and impress of it upon their represent as heresy : their duties they represent hearts ; and therefore retaining their natural cor- as faults; and their human frailties as enormous ruptions, impiety and enmity to the life, power, crimes : they feign them to be guilty of the things and practice of that doctrine, they indirectly de- that never entered into their thoughts, and if some stroy what directly they would seem to build ; that have professed godliness be guilty of greater and preach both for God, and against him, for crimes, they would make men believe that the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and against them; rest are such, and that the family of Christ is to for godliness, and against it, both in the same be judged of by a Judas, and the scope is to in
In general, they must needs speak for timate that either their profession is culpable, or the word of God, and a holy life ; but when they needless, and less commendable. Regeneration come to the particulars, they secretly reproach they would make to be but the entrance into the it, and condemn the parts, while they commend church by baptism, and any further conversion, the whole. In general they speak well of reli- than the leaving off some gross sins, and taking gious, godly, holy people ; but when they meet up some heartless forms of duty, to be but a fancy with them, they hate them, and make them en- or unnecessary thing : and they would draw poor thusiasts, a sect that is every where spoken people to believe, that if they be born again against, pestilent fellows, and movers of sedition, sacramentally of water, they may be saved, as the apostles were accused, and any thing that though they be not born again by the renewing malice can invent to make them odious. And of the Holy Spirit. Being strangers themselves what they cannot prove, they will closely inti- to the mystery of regeneration, and to the life mate, in the false application of their doctrines, de- of faith and a heavenly conversation, and to the scribing them so as may induce the hearers to be loving and serving of God with all their soul and lieve that they are a company of self-conceited might: they first endeavour to quiet themselves hypocrites, factious, proud, disobedient, turbu- with a belief that these are but fancies or unlent, peevish, affecting singularity, desiring to in- necessary, and then to deceive the people with gross the reputation of godliness to themselves, that by which they have first deceived thembut secretly as bad as others. And when they selves. have thus represented them to the ignorant sort And it is worthy of your observation, what it of people, they have made the way of godliness is in religion that these formal hypocrites are odious, and sufficiently furnished miserable souls against. There are scarcely any words so sound with prejudice and dislike ; so that because the or holy, but they can bear them, if they be but persons are thus made hateful to them, all seri. deprived of their life: nor scarcely any duty, if ous diligence for heaven, all tenderness of con- it be but mortified, but they can endure. But science, and fear of sinning, all heavenly dis- it is the spirit and life of all religion which they course, and serious preaching, reading, or pray- cannot bear. As a body differs from a carcass, ing, are also made odious for their sakes : for not by the parts, but by the life; so there is a hearing so ill of the persons, and seeing that certain life in preaching, prayer, and all other these are the things wherein they differ from acts of worship, which is perceived by several others, they reduce their judgment of their sorts of hearers. The godly perceive it to their practices to their foresettled judgment of the edification and delight. For here it is that persons.
they are quickened and encouraged. Life beWhen their diligence in their families, in gets life, as fire kindles fire. The ungodly often prayer and instructions, in reading, and fruitful | perceive it to their vexation, if not to their con