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Antw 2. They should seek God diligently. God and the things of God, are not to be fought afier a careless and indifferent manner, as if we did not much care whether we enjoyed God, or not. Such a spirit of indifferency in this case is to be abhorred. For it is not an indifferedi' thing, whether we find God, or not : 'cis not a matter of indifferency, whether we obtain peace with God, pardon of lin, grace here, and glory hereafter. These things are of absolute and indispensable necesficy; and therefore are to be fought with greatest diligence. Only to such diligent seekers, the promise of finding is made. Heb. xi. 6. God is the rewarder of their that diligently seek bim. Jer. xxix. 13: Ye fall seek me, and shall find ine, when ye shall search for me with all your hearts. The whole soul is to be engaged in seeking God. Other things may be fought with moderation ; but no labour or pains can be too great in seeking God. Pfal. Ixiii. 3. My soul followeth hard after thee. In chis matter men cannot exceed, or over-do.
Anfw. 3. They should seek God principally. God is the best and chief good, and therefore is chiefly to be fought. It is lawful, and a duty, to seek outward good things ; but our chief search thould be after God. He is infinitels better than all the good things of this world; and therefore is infinitely more worthy to be fought, than they are. These things are only drops of comfort: God is an infinire ocean of good. These things are empiness ; God is all-fulness. Our chief care and bufamess therefore should be to seek and find God. Matth. vj. 33. Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteoufness. Before and above all things, God and the things of God, are to be fought. All other things are to be sought in a subordination to God, as they may be helps and means to bring us to the enjoyment of God. With all their gettings therefore, finners should be careful to get God, to be theirs. Nocbing Mort of God fhould content their souls. Psal. iv. 0, 7. Ibere be many that say, Who will few us any good ? Lord. life tlou nap the ligbt of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast pür gla:d.
iness in my heart, more than in the time when their con and their wine increased. Our chief desire thould be af. ter God, and our chief joy, in God; and not the good things of this world.
Answ. 4. They thould seek God penitently. Sipners have lost God, and they should seek him forrowings and be wailing their loss of him. They Thould lament after the Lord ; so the people of Ifrael did, 1 Sam. vii. 2. The loss of God is the greatest loss ; and therefore calls for the greatest lamentation. Sinners then should bemoan cheinfelves on the account of this loss; and should especially mourn before God for fin, which has procured this loss of God. 'Tis iniquity, that has separated between God and men. Ifai. lix. 2. Your iniquities have separated between you and your God. These are the meritorious and provoking causes of God's departure from them. And therefore in seeking God, finners should penitently confess to God cheir fins, which have deprived them of God. This is what God expects from them, in order to their finding of him. HF. v. 15. I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face ; in their affliction, they will seek me early. Thus the prodigal sun, that was gone far away from his father, returned to his father, seeking his favour in the way of penitent confession of his fin, and met with a gracious reception. Luk. xv. 21, 22.
Answ. 5. They should seek God throngh Jesus Christ, believingly. Sinners can have no access to God, but by the mediacor Jesus Christ. Joh. xiv. 6. No man cometb to the Father, but by me. None can enjoy.communion with God, in chis world or that which is to come, but only by the mediation of Jesus Christ. 'Tis he, that brings us to God. i Per. iii. 18. 'Tis be, chat procures for us admillion inco God's gracious presence, here on earth, and into his glorious presence hereafter in heaven. So that 'cis for his fake alone, that God will be found of us when we Jeek to him, and that he will hear us when we call upon him. God will neither be fought aor found by us, but only in, and by Jesus
Cbrist. We must therefore come to God by him, rely: ing-upon his mediation ; as ever we would expect to pareake of falvation and happiness in the fruition of God. Heb. vii. 25. He is able to save unto the utermost them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercesion for them. God, and every good thing is to be sought, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Dan. ix. 17. Now therefore, o our God, bear the prayer of thy fervant, and his fupplications, and cause thy face to shine uponi tby. Sanctuary which is defolate, for the Lord's sake. Our dependance must be upon the merit and incercellion of Jesus Christ, for all our success in feeking God. And in this way of faith in Christ, we thall speed.
Answ. 6. They should seek God constantly. They should seek God, not only for a time, buc hold on in seeking God. Pfal. cv. 4. Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face evermore. Though they do not presently find God, yet they should not give over seeking God. I should be far from them to say as he did, 2 King. vi.' 33. Why foould I wait for the Lord any longer ? God is moft worthy to be waited upon, and waited for : and if after all our waiting we at last find him, it will make us full amends for our patience and pains in seeking him. Sinners then should not give way to any discouragement; buc thould continue to seek God, in hope of fioding him. And if they do persevere in seeking God, they may be fatisfied, that God will be found of them. Hof. vi. 3. Then sball we know, if we follow on to know the Lord. By knowing, here is meant such a knowledge as is accompanied with the enjovmenc of God: so the following words do intimate, Then frall he come unto us as the rain, as the latter and the former rain upon the earth. Let us therefore patiently wait on God in the way of diligent seeking of him, and we may hope, ic will not be long before we shall find him. Psal. xxvii. 14. Wait on the Lord : be of good courage, and be shall strengthen cbine heari : wait, I say, on the Lord. Match. vii. 7. Ask, and is fall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find, kaock, and it hall be opened to you.
PROP II. There is a Time, wherein finners may find God, if they seek bim ---- Solomon says, To every thing there is a season. Eccl. iii. I. There is a fit and proper season for ihe doing of every business. This is true in reference to seeking and finding God. There is a season wherein he may be fought, so as to be found. Luk. xix. 42. This thy day; a day of gracious visitation ; ( 46 44.) a Time, wherein, the redeemer visited them, was near to them, and might be found of them..... Here it may be enquired,
Quest. When is it a time, wherein finners inay find God, if they seek him aright ?
Answ. 1. In general, The time of life, is a time wherein God may be found, if finners seek him..... After death, the time of finding God is come to a perpetual end. But, as long as life lafts, God will be found, if he indeed be fought aright. Some chat bave lived in the neglect of God, even till old age, have yet upon their humble seeking God, found him a merciful, fin.pardoning God. Yea, in the last days of life, even, on a death-bed, fome upon their penitent seeking of God, have found him. Though the repentance of such is feldom true, yet when it is fincere, they do certainly find mercy with the Lord, and their fins Mall be forgiven. Aa. iii. 19. Repent, that your. Sins may be blotted out. If God give repentance, he will give remillion of sin. A&t. v. 31. And, Whoso believeth with the beart, weiber fooner or later, he believeth unto righteousness, and so to ibe saving of the soul. (Rom. x. . 10. Heb. X. 39.) Sinners may in their very last hours be really penitene ; or else it would be in vain to pray with them, and for them ; in vain to use means for bringing them to repentance, and in vain for them to seek God: nay, it would then be no sin in chem, co despair. And if they are really penitent and believing, they Thall assuredly be saved. The penitent thief went from the cross co paradise. Luk. xxiii. 43. This day, &c. I: is horrid, to suppose, that God will damn a believing repenting sinner...Yet however, none, upon this ap
prehension, should defer their repenting and closing with Christ, till a dying, hour. This is most wicked presumption, and is likely to end in obstinate unbelief and final impenitency and ruin.
Answ. 2. More particularly, There are some special Seasons of life, wherein God may be found, if finners Jeek unto him. Such as are born and brought up onder che gospel, have some signal opportunities in their lives, which if they do improve unto the seeking God, they will be in a fair and most hopeful way to find God.
For instance, 1. The time of youth is a special season, wherein sinners may find God, if they seek him. Solomon calls upon young persons, to remember their creator in the days of their youth. Eccl. xii. Į. In their early years, they thould be mindful of their Maker, so as to seek him and call upon him, for pardoning mercy, and converting grace. Thus did fofiah ; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 3. While he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his Father. He fought God becimes : and so should all young ones do. And if they do chus in the beginning of their days, set themselves to seek after God, they have the greatest hope and prospect of finding him. So David told his son Solomon, who was a young man. I Chron. xxviii. 9. Thou Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve bim with a perfect heart and a willing mind:---if thou seek him, he will be found of thee. Yea, God has made a very gracious promise to young ones in particular. Prov. viii. 17. They that seek me early, sall find me. Early seekers of God are of all persons most likely to be successful seekers : and if they be right seekers, they shall never seek bis face in vain. If any in all the world may look for welcome entertainment with God, young penitencs may. For God is exceedingly well-pleased with their earlv' seeking of him. Surely then there is no better season wherein to seek God, than the time of youth. O that young persons would be persuaded to make the trial, and fee whether they thall not find God and obtain favour with