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stead of true conversion. But a man that is going to the bar of God, should be loath to be deceived by himself or others.
Direct. 11. * If by a due examination you find yourself unsanctified, bethink you seriously of your case, both what you have done, and what a condition you are in, till you are truly humbled, and willing of any conditions that God shall offer you for your deliverance. Consider how foolishly you have done, how rebelliously, how unthankfully, to forsake your God, and forget your souls, and lose all your time, and abuse all God's mercies, and leave undone the work that you were made, and preserved, and redeemed for! Alas, did you never know till now that you must die ? and that you
your time to make preparation for an endless life which followeth death? Were you never warned by minister or friend? Were you never told of the necessity of a holy, heavenly life; and of a regenerate, sanctified state, till now? O what could you have done more unwisely, or wickedly, than to cast away a life that eternal life so much depended on; and to refuse your Saviour, and his grace and mercies, till your last extremity? Is this the time to look after a new birth, and to begin your life, when you are at the end of it? O what have you done to delay so great a work till now! And now if you die before you are regenerate, you are lost for ever. O humble your souls before the Lord ! Lament your folly; and presently condemn yourselves before him, and make out to him for mercy while there is hope. Direct. III.
When you are humbled for your sin and misery, and willing of mercy upon any terms, believe that yet your case is not remediless, but that Jesus Christ hath given himself to God a sacrifice for your sins, and is so sure and all-sufficient a Saviour, that yet nothing can hinder you from pardon and salvation, but your own impenitence and unbelief. Come to him therefore as the Saviour of souls, that he
the will of God, and reconcile you to his father, and pardon your sins, and renew you by his Spirit, and acquaint you with his Father's love, and save you from damnation, and make you heirs of life eternal. For all this may yet possibly be done, as short as your time is like to be: and it will yet be long of you, if it be
not done. The covenant of grace doth promise pardon and salvation to every penitent believer whenever they truly turn to God, without excepting any hour, or any person in all the world. Nothing but an unbelieving, hardened heart, resisting his grace, and unwilling to be holy, can deprive you of pardon and salvation, even at the last. It was a most foolish wickedness of you to put it off till now : but yet for all that, if you are not yet saved, it shall not belong of Christ, but you: yet he doth freely offer you his mercy; and he will be your Lord and Saviour if you will not refuse him : yet the match shall not break on his part: see that it break not on your part and you shall be saved. Know therefore what he is, as God and man, and what a blessed work he hath undertaken, to redeem a sinful, miserable world, and what he hath already done for us, in his life and doctrine, in his death and sufferings, by his resurrection and his covenant of grace, and what he is now doing at his Father's right hand, in making intercession for penitent believers, and what an endless glory he is preparing for them, and how he will save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him. O yet let your heart even leap for joy, that you have an all-sufficient, willing, gracious Saviour; whose grace aboundeth more than sin aboundeth. If the devils and poor damned souls in hell were but in your case, and had your offers and your hopes, how glad do you imagine they would be? Cast yourselves therefore in faith and confidence upon this Saviour : trust your souls upon his sacrifice and merit, for the pardon of your sins, and peace with God: beg of him yet the renewing grace of his Spirit: be willing to be made holy, and a new creature, and to live a holy life if you should survive : resolve to be wholly ruled by him, and give up yourself absolutely to him as your Saviour, to be justified, and sanctified, and saved by him, and then trust in him for everlasting happiness. O happy soul, if yet you can do thus, without deceit.
Direct. iv. · Believe now, and consider what God is and will be to your soul, and what love he hath shewed to you by Christ, and what endless joy and glory you may have with him in heaven, notwithstanding all the sins that you have done: and think what the world and the flesh have done for you, in comparison of God: think of this till
you fall in love with God, and till your hearts and hopes are set on heaven, and turned from this world and flesh, and till you feel yourself in love with holiness, and till you are firmly resolved in the strength of Christ to live a holy life, if God recover you: and then you are truly sanctified, and shall be saved if you die in this condition.' Take heed that you take not a repentance and good purposes which come from nothing but fear, to be sufficient; if you recover, all this may die again, when your fear is over; you are not sanctified, nor hath God your hearts, till your love be to him: that which you do through fear alone, you had rather not do if you might be excused; and therefore your hearts are still against it. When the feeling of God's unspeakable love in Christ, doth melt and overcome your hearts; when the infinite goodness of God himself, and his mercies to your souls and bodies, do make you take him as more lovely and desirable than all the world; when you so believe the heavenly joys above, as to desire them more than earthly pleasures ; when you love God better than worldly prosperity, and when a life of such love and holiness seemeth better to you, than all the merriments of sinners, and you had rather be a saint, than the most prosperous of the ungodly, and are firmly resolved for a holy life, if God recover you,
then indeed in a state of grace, and not till then ; this must be your case, or you are undone for ever.
And therefore meditate on the love of Christ, and the goodness of God, and the joys of heaven, and the happiness of saints, and the misery of worldlings and ungodly men; meditate on these till your eyes be opened, and your hearts be touched with a holy love, and heaven and holiness be the very things that you desire above all; and then you may boldly go to God, and believe that all your sins are pardoned ; and it is not bare terror, but these believing thoughts of God, and heaven, and Christ, and love, that must change your hearts and do the work.
These four Directions truly practised, will yet set you on safe ground, as sad and dangerous as your condition is ; but it is not the hearing of them, or the bare approbation of them that will serve the turn; to find out your sinful, miserable state, and to be truly humbled for it, and to discern the remedy which you have in Christ, and penitently and
believingly to enter into his covenant, and to see that your happiness is wholly in the love and fruition of God, and to believe the glory prepared for the saints, and to prefer it before all the prosperity of the world, and love it, and set, your hearts upon it, and to resolve on a holy life if you should recover, forsaking this deceitful world and flesh; all this is a work that is not so easily done as mentioned, and requireth your more serious, fixed thoughts; and indeed had been fitter for your youthful vigour, than for a painful, weak, distempered state. But necessity is upon you ; it must needs be yet done, and thoroughly and sincerely done, or you are lost for ever. And therefore do it as well as you can, and see that your hearts do not trifle and deceive you. In some respect you have greater helps than ever you before ; you cannot now keep up your hard-heartedness and security, by looking at death as a great way off. You have now fuller experience, than ever you had before; what the flesh, and all its pleasures will come to, and what good your sinful sports, and recreations, and merriments will do you ; and what all the riches, and greatness, and gallantry, and honours of the world are worth, and what they will do for you in the day of your necessity. You stand so near another world, and must so quickly appear before the Lord, that methinks a dead and senseless heart, should no longer be able to make you slight your God, your Saviour, and your endless life: and one would think that the flesh, and world, should never be able to deceive you any more. soul, if yet at last, you are not only frightened into an unsound repentance, but can hate all sin, and love the Lord, and trust in Christ, and give up yourself entirely to him, and set your heart upon that blessed life, where you may see and love him perfectly for ever !
Quest. 'But will so late repentance serve the turn, for one that hath been so long ungodly?'
Answ. Yes, if it be sincere : but there is all the doubt; and that is it, that your salvation now dependeth on.
Quest. “But how may I know, whether it be sincere ?
Answ. 1. If you be not only frighted into it; but your very heart, and will, and love are changed. 2. If it extend both to the end, and the necessary means : so that you
love God, and the joys of heaven, above all earthly prosperity
and pleasure; and also you had rather be perfectly holy, than live in all the delights of sin. And if you hate every known sin, and love the holy ways and servants of God, and this unfeignedly: this is a true change. 3. And if this repentance and change be such as will hold, if God should recover you, and would shew itself in a new, and holy, and self-denying life; which certainly it will do, if it come not only from fear, but from love: but if you renounce the world, and the flesh, against your wills, because you know there is no remedy; and if you bid farewell to your worldly, sinful pleasures, not because you love God better, but because you cannot keep them, though you would ; and if you take not God and heaven as your best, but only for better than hell; but not as better than worldly prosperity, which yet you would choose, if you had your choice. This kind of repentance will never save you, and if
should ver, it would vanish away, and come to nothing, as soon as your fears of death are over, and you are returned to your worldly delights again. Though now in your extremity, you cry out never so confidently, 0 I had rather have beaven than earth, and I had rather have Christ and holiness, than all the pleasures and prosperity of sinners ; yet if it be not from a renewed, sanctified heart, that had rather be such indeed, but from mere necessity and fear, and against the habit of your hearts and wills. This is but such a repentance as Judas had, that is neither sincere at present, nor if you recover, will hold you to a holy life.
II. Directions to the Sanctified, for a safe Departure.
When the soul is truly converted and sanctified, the principal business is dispatched, that is necessary to a safe departure : but yet I cannot say that there is no more to be done. They were godly persons that were exhorted, “to give diligence to make their calling and election sure.” Which being (as the Greek importeth) not only to make it known or certain ; but to make it firm, doth signify more than barely to discern it. These following duties are yet further necessary.
Direct. 1. .Satisfy not yourselves that once you found yourselves sincere; but if your understandings be clear and