Page images

the flaming sword of justice pursuing him for sin, runs in under the covert of Jesus' blood, faying, This is my rest; and being willing to part with sin, but unable to master his lusts, puts himself under the protection of Christ as his King, that he may make havock of his enemies. This, sinner, is your work, your Haste, then, out of your natural state, and escape for your lise to Jesus Christ.

2. The work of sanctisication. Ezek. xviii. 31. *v Cast away from you all your transgressions whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel i"—Heb. xii. 14. " Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Sin is the great devourer and destroyer, and therefore the great salvation is from sin. Jesus saves his people from their sins. To think of being saved in sin, is a contradiction, for to be left in it is ruining. The sick man does not desire the physician to remove death, but yet spare his disease; yea, but the foolish sinner is thus unreasonable in the case of his foul l he has no will that his cloaths be burnt, yet he will needs carry sire in his bosom; he wishes not his seet to be burned, yet he will walk on coals of sire. Living lusts will devour the soul; therefore to work, sinaers, for you must either kill, or be killed. Let not the vineyard of your souls be any more like that of the fluggard. The sinner's soul is overgrown with hurtsul lusts, there is no sence about it. O! then, work; seek holiness.

3, The gospel calls you to your generation-work. Acts xiii. 36. "For David, aster he had served his own generation, by the will of God, sell on fleep." Wherefore were you sent into the world, and made members of society? Was it not to

j honour honour God, and to be usesul to your sellow-servants? Surely God sent none of us into the world to play ourselves, like the leviathan in the sea; nor to be like mice and rats, good for nothing but to cat that for which others have laboured. Far less did he send you to be agents for the devil, to advance his kingdom, and to oppose the work of the Lord in the places where you live; nor yet like the beasts, only to eat, drink, work, and fleep. To your work, then, your proper work, the service of God. Perhaps ye will fay, ye have not been idle; but what have ye done for God in your day? What have ye done for the good of any foul? What have ye done to pluck any brand out of the burning? I sear, if we reckon our days according to what we have done for God in them, most of us may reckon our days lost days. Look up to God, who placed you in the world, and fay for what good purpose you have taken up room in his earth. For what use are you in the world? God has given you a talent, what have you gained? He has placed you in such and such situationsand relations, have you done the dr'ies of each?' .> 1 am to shew,

II. Why is it that sinners will not comply with -. this work?

i. Because it is the work to which, of all works, their hearts are most averse. Rom. viii. 7. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." They would rather do any thing than go and work in God's vineyard. It is against the grain with unrenewed minds. The prodigal would lather seed swine than go back to his father, till he came to himself. Judas would rather go to a halter, than go to Christ for pardon. It is like


cutting off a right hand, and plucking out a right eye. The sinner's neck is flexible enough to the devil's yoke; but it is an iron sinew to Christ's yoke. He that has a will to any thing, he has no will to this, till a day of power make him willing, Psal. ex. 3.

2. Because of prevailing love to carnal ease. Prov. xxvi. 15. "The flothsul hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth." The man loves to fleep in a found skin, and therefore will die in his nest, if God do not m mercy set a sire to it. Sloth is so sweet a sin, that the carnal heart can never get a sill of it, Prov. vi. 10. "Yet a little fleep, a little flumber, a little folding of the hands to fleep." The man lies in die bed of floth, and would not miss heaven if it would fall down into his mouth, or if wi/ljitig and •Moulding would do it. But if these will not do, he must even want it, for he cannot leave the embrace of his dear ease. Fighting, running, praying, striving, wrestling, taking heavenly violence, and the like, he cannot away with.

3. Because Satan surnishes them with work more agreeable, and it they will do; therefore God's work they will not meddle with : John, viii. 44. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." When the call of the gospel comes to sinners, Satan does with them as Pharaoh did with the Israelites, holds them more to their talks; so they have always busy hands, and hearts sull of their work, insomuch that they cannot get the work of religion minded to purpose. And what are they doing? They are busy weaving the spider's web; very busy doing nothing, or hatching the cockatrice egg, doing worse than nothing. They have much to do, having the desires cf the flesh and mind to sulsil. They have more

to 24. " Because I have called, and ye resused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your sear cometh; when your sear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirl-wind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall notsind me; for that they hated knowledge, and did choose the sear of the Lord." Salvation-work will not work, unless men bestir themselves; but damnation-work will go on when men sit at ease, and are carried down the stream into the ocean of the wrath of God.

IV. In the last place, I am to make some practical improvement; in doing which, I shall consine myself, for the present, to an use of exhortation. I would exhort resusers of Christ and of religion to take their word again, and to comply with the Ye have had many calls to engage in the work of religion with earnestness, but the answer of the most part is, I will not; and thus one resusal comes on the back of another.

You have had many calls from the word of God to fall to your work, and what has been your answer to these messages of God by his servants, but that / 'will not? Have you not heard many exhortations which have never affected you? Have you not gone back to those very sins for which reproofs have met you in public ordinances, and yet you have held them fast? Has not duty been laid plainly before you, and you have found means to put it by? and still the answer is, / •will not.

2. Has not God pursued some of you by afflic


tions to drive you to your work, and yet no awakening to repentance and reformation, but still the language of. your practice has been, / will not. The Lord, in his holy providence, has sent you losses, crosses, and distresses of divers forts, to bring. you to your duty; but, O! may it not be written on rod aster rod, You have not yet returned to the Lord?

3. Nay, has not the Lord sometimes so met you in a sinsul course, that you could not but say, This is the singer of God ? and yet ye would be sroward, ye would go back to the sin again. What is the language of that, but I will not? Have ye not fallen under Jotham's curse again and again? Judges, ix. 15. whereby sire has flamed out of some one or other bramble, under which you have rested, on your faces to burn you, instead of that shade ye thought to sind under it to refresh you. Has not your conscience awakened on you sometimes, and the arrows of conviction fastened on you, and yet you have resused? Ye have murdered convictions, and never been at ease till conscience has been silenced. You have run away from God, even with his arrows sticking in you, saying in opposition, / will not.

Laftly, Have you not often delayed complying with the call of God, and set the time for your going to work? Yet for all that is come and gone, your eyes have never seen that time yet. What is delaying but plainly a resusal I I will not. For there is no word of God that iays, Gq work to-morrow, or the next day; it is to-day, if ye will hear his voice; son, go work to-day. So that he that will not work to-day, but pretends he will do it afterwards, plainly resuses the call, and will not.

To promote your compliance with the call, I would offer a sew weighty motives i as,.

1. Repent now, and fall to that work ye have Vol. I. F formerly

« PreviousContinue »