Page images

me, if

selves than me. If long speaking, or niultitude | reason, and rob them of their humanity : by the of words, were the way to prevail with you, I noise of the company of sensual sinners, that should willingly speak here while my strength harden and deaden one another, and by the just would endure, and lengthen out my exhortations judgment of God forsaking those that would not yet seven-fold. But that is not the way: a know him, leaving them to the blindness and little wearies you: you love long feasts, long hardness of their hearts. But is there no revisits, plays, and sports, much better than long medy? O thou, the fountain of mercy and relief, sermons, or books, or prayers.

But it is no vouchsafe these miserable sinners a remedy! 0 small grief to us, to leave you in a case of such thou, the Saviour of lost mankind, have mercy importance, without some considerable hopes of upon these sinners in the depth of their security, your deliverance.

presumption and misery! O thou, the illuminator The matter is now laid before you, and much and sanctifier of souls, apply the remedy so in your own hands ; it will not be so long. What dearly purchased! We are constrained often to will you now do ? Have I convinced you now, fear lest it be on account of us, that should more that God and your salvation are to be sought seriously apply the awakening truths of God unto with all your might? If I have not, it is not for men's hearts. Verily our consciences cannot but want of evidence in what is said, but for want accuse us, that when we are most lively and seriof willingness in yourselves to know the truth : ous, alas, we seem but almost to trifle, considerI have proved to you, that it is a matter out of ing on what a message we come, and of what trancontroversy, unless your lusts, passions, and car- scendent things we speak. But Satan hath got his nal interest will make a controversy of it. I be advantage upon our hearts that should be instruseech



be of any religion at all, mental to kindle theirs, as well as on theirs that why are you not strict, serious, diligent, morti- should receive the truth. O that we could thirst fied, and heavenly in that religion which you are more after their salvation! O that we could pray cof? Surely you will not so far shame your own harder for it; and intreat them more earnestly; religion, whatever it be, as to say that your re- as those that were loth to take a denial from God ligion is not for mortification, holiness, heaven- or man. I must confess to you all, with shame and liness, self-denial, or that your religion allows sorrow, that I am even amazed to think of the you to be sensual, ambitious, covetous, glutton- hardness of my own heart, that melts not more ons, drunken, to curse, swear, and rail and op- in compassion for the miserable, and is not more press the innocent: it is not religion, but diabo- earnest and importunate with sinners when I am lical serpentine malignity that is for any of this. upon such a subject as this; and am telling them

It is wonderful to think, that learned men, that it must be now or never ; when the mesgentlemen, and men that pretend to reason and senger of death within, and the fame of men's ingenuity, can quietly betray their souls to the displeasure from without, doth tell me how likely devil upon such silly grounds, do the evil that it is that my time shall be but short, and that if they have no more to say for, and neglect that I will say any thing that may reach the hearts duty which they have no more to say against, when of sinners, for ought I know, it must be now or they know they must do it now or never!


What an obstinate, what a lamentable while they confess that there is a God, and a life disease is this insensibility, and hardness of to come, a heaven and a hell, and that this life heart! If I were sure this were the last sermon is purposely given us for preparation of eternity; that ever I should preach, I find now my heart while they confess that God is most wise, holy, would show its sluggishness, and rob poor souls good, and just, that sin is the greatest evil, and of the serious fervour which is suitable to the that the word of God is true, they can yet make subject and their case, and needful to the desired shift to quiet themselves in an unholy, sensual, careless life: that while they honour the apos- But yet, poor sleepy sinners, hear us : though tles and martyrs, and saints that are dead and we speak not to you as men would do, that had • gone, they hate their successors and imitators, seen heaven and hell, and were themselves in a the lives that they lived, and are inclined to perfectly awakened frame, yet hear us while we make more martyrs by their malicious cruelty. speak to you the words of truth, with some se

Alas, all this comes from the want of a sound riousness and compassionate desire of your salbelief of the things which they never saw; and vation. O look up to your God! Look out the distance of those things, the power of pas- unto eternity: look inwardly upon your souls : sion, and sensual objects and inclinations, that look wisely upon your short and hasty time ; hurry them away after present vanities, conquer then bethink you how the little remnant of your

3 x



time should be employed ; and what it is that life ; all is too late. This case is sad: but yet most concerns you to dispatch and secure before many of these are in a safer and better case than you die. Now you have sermons, books, and they imagine, are but frightened by the tempter, warnings : it will not be so long: preachers must and it is not too late ; while they cry out, It is have done : God threatens them, death threat too late. But if you are left to cry in hel, It is ens them, men threaten them, and it is you, it too late, alas ! how long and how doleful a cry is you that are most severely threatened, and and lamentation will it be ! that are called on by God's warnings, · If any Consider, poor sinner, that God knows the man have an ear to hear, let him hear.' Now time and season of thy mercies : he gives the you have abundance of private helps, you have spring and harvest in their season, and all his abundance of understanding, gracious compa- mercies in their season, and wilt thou not know nions ; you have the Lord's days to spend in thy time and season, for love, duty, and thanks holy exercises, for the edification and solace of to him? your souls ; you have choice of sound and seri- Consider, that God who hath commanded thee ous books; and blessed be God, you have the thy work, hath also appointed thee thy time. protection of a Christian and a protestant king And this is his appointed time. To-day thereand magistracy: O what invaluable mercies are fore hearken to his voice, and see that thou all these ! O know your time, and use these harden not thy heart: he that bids thee · Repent with industry; and improve this harvest for and work out thy salvation with fear and tremyour souls ! For it wiil not be thus always : it bling,' doth also bid thee do it now: obey him must be now or never.

in the time, if thou wilt be indeed obedient; he You have yet time and leave to pray and cry best understands the fittest time. One would to God in hope : yet if you have hearts and think, to men that have lost so much already, tongues, he hath an hearing ear; the Spirit of loitered so long, are so lamentably behind-hand, grace is ready to assist you : it will not be thus and stand so near the bar of God and their everalways : the time is coming when the loudest lasting state, there should be no need to say any cries will do no good: O pray, pray, pray, poor, more, to persuade them to be up and doing. I needy, miserable sinners: for it must be now or shall add but this: you are never like to have

a better time. Take this or the work will grow You have yet health, strength, and bodies fit more difficult, more doubtful, if through the just to serve your souls: it will not be so always : judgment of God, it become not desperate. If languishing, pains, and death are coming. O all this will not serve, but still you will loiter till use your health and strength for God; for it time be gone, what can your poor friends do but must be now or never.

lament your misery! The Lord knows, if we Yet there are some stirrings of conviction in knew what words, what pains, what cost would your consciences: you find that all is not well tend to your awakening, conversion and salvawith you: and you have some thoughts or pur- tion, we should be glad to submit to it; and we poses to repent and be new creatures: there is hope we should not think our labours, or liber. some hope in this, that yet God hath not quite ties, or our lives too dear to promote so blessed forsaken you. O trifle not and stifle not the and so necessary a work.

But if when all is convictions of your consciences, but hearken to done that we can do, you will leave us nothing the witness of God within you: it must be now but our tears and groans for self-destroyers, the

sin is yours and the suffering shall be yours : Would you not be loth to be left to the des- if I can do no more, I shall leave this upon repairing case of many poor distressed souls, that cord, that we took our time to tell you most cry out, “O it is now too late! I fear my day pointedly, that serious diligence is necessary to of grace is past ; God will not hear me now if I your salvation; and that God is the rewarder should call upon him: he hath forsaken me, and of them that diligently seek him, and that this given me over to myself. It is too late to re


was your day, your only day: it must be now pent, too late to pray, too late to think of a new

or never.

or never.



« PreviousContinue »