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that God will be your reconciled God and Father; and Christ will be your Saviour, and the Holy Spirit will be your Sanctifier and Comforter, and your sins are pardoned, and your soul shall be saved, and you shall dwell in heaven with God for ever. God did consent before
consented ; he shewed his consent in purchasing, and making, and offering you this covenant. Shew your unfeigned consent now by accepting it, and giving up yourself unreservedly to him, and you
have Christ's blood, and Spirit, and sacrament, to seal it to you. The flesh and the world have deceived you; but trust in Christ upon his covenant terms, and he will never deceive you.
And now, alas, what pity it is, that a soul that is in so miserable a case, and is lost for ever, if it have not help, and speedy help, should be deprived of all this grace
and glory, and only for want of repenting and consenting. What pity is it that a soul, that is ready to go into another world, where mercy shall never more be offered it, should rather
stupidly on to hell, than return to God, and accept his mercy. Do but truly repent and consent to this covenant, and all the mercies of it are certainly yours. God will be your God, and Christ, and the Spirit, and pardon, and heaven, and all are yours. The Lord open and persuade your heart, that you may not be undone, and lost for ever, for want of accepting the mercy that is offered you!
And now I know it would be comfortable to you, if you could be fully assured that you are forgiven, and shall be saved. In a matter of such unspeakable moment, how joyful would a well-grounded certainty be, to any man that hath the right use of his understanding? I tell you therefore from God, that there is no cause of your doubting on his part, but only on your own.
There is no doubt to be made, whether God be merciful, nor whether Christ be a sufficient Saviour, and sacrifice for your sins; nor whether the covenant be sure, and promise of pardon and salvation to all true penitent believers be true. All the doubt is, whether your faith and repentance be sincere, or not: and for that, I can but tell you how you may know it, and I shall open the truth to you, that I may neither deceive you, nor causelessly discomfort you.
If this repentance and change which you now profess,
and this covenant which you have made with God, 1. Do come only from a present fear, and not from a changed, renewed heart. 2. And if your resolutions be such as would not hold you to a holy life, if you should recover; but would die and fade away, and leave you as you were before, when the fear is past, then is it but a forced, hypocritical repentance, and will not save you, if you so die. Though a minister of Christ should absolve you of all your sins, and seal it by giving you the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ; for all this you are lost for ever, if you have no more: for absolution and the sacrament, are given you but on supposition, that your faith and repentance be sincere: and if this condition fail in you, the action of the holiest minister in the world, will never save you.
But, I. If your repentance and covenant come not only from a present fear, but from a renewed heart, which now loveth God, and Christ, and heaven, and holiness, better than all the honours, and riches, and pleasures of the flesh and world, and had rather have them, even on God's terms. 2. And if this change be such, as if you should recover, would hold you to a holy life, and not die, or dwindle into hypocritical formality, when the fright is over, then I can assure you
from the Word of God, that if you die in this repentance, you shall certainly be saved. And though late repentance have so many difficulties that it too seldom proveth true and sound, and it is an unspeakable madness to cast our salvation on so great a hazard; and to defer that till such a day as this, which should be the principal work of all our lives; and for which, the greatest care and diligence is not too much: yet for all that, when conversion is indeed sincere, it is always acceptable, how late soever: and a returning prodigal shall find better entertainment with God, than he could possibly expect; and never will Christ cast out one soul that cometh to him, in sincerity of heart. The Lord give you such a heart, and all is yours.
Amena. a Jer. xxxi. 34. Eph. i. 7. Acts v. 31. Eph. v. 26. Rev. i. 5. 2 Cor. vi. 16. Mal, iii. 17. John i. 12. iii. 16. Eph. ii. 14. Rom. viii. 1. 17. Luke iv. 18. Rom. v. 1. 5. Luke i. 74. John x. 28. Luke xxiij. 43. 1 Cor. xv. 8. Tit. ii. 3, 4. Acts iv. 4-6. I Tim. i. 13-16.
A Form of Echortation to the Godly in their Sickness.
Dear friend : Though nature teacheth us to have compassion on your flesh, which lieth in pain ; yet faith teacheth us to see the nearness of your happiness, and to rejoice with you in hope of your endless joys, which seem to be at hand. We must rejoice with you as your friends that love you, and therefore are partakers of your welfare : and we must rejoice with you as your fellow-travellers and fellow-soldiers, that are going along with you to the same felicity; and if we are left behind for a little while, yet hope ere long to overtake you, and never to be separated from you more.
This is the day for which Christ hath been so long preparing you; and which you have so long foreseen, and have been so long preparing for yourself. This is the day which you thought on in all your prayers, and patience, in all your labours and sufferings, your self-denial and mortification, since. God did bring you to yourself and him. Now you are going to see the things which you have believed; and to possess the things which you have sought and hoped for: to see the final difference between the righteous and the wicked ; between a holy, and a worldly life, between the vessels of mercy, and of wrath. Your time is hastening to an end, and endless blessedness must succeed it.
what is it to have a Christ! That you are not to encounter an unconquered death; nor to go to God without a Mediator: but that death is by Christ disarmed of its sting; and that you may boldly resign your soul into the hands of your Redeemer, and commend it to him as a member of himself. Now, what a case had your soul been in, if you had no intercessor? If you had been to answer for your sins, yourself only; and had not a Saviour to be your advocate, and answer for you? Now you may better perceive than ever you have done, what God did for you when he opened your eyes, and humbled, and changed, and renewed your heart: and how great a mercy it is to be a penitent believer. You may now see more fully than ever heretofore, what God intended for you when he converted you: when he forgave all your sins, and justified you by his grace, and adopted you for his child, and an heir of life, and sealed you with his
Spirit, and sanctified and separated you to himself. Now what a case were you in, if you were yet in your sins, and in the bondage of satan, and had not this evidence of your title to eternal life? If you had your heart to soften, and to humble, and to convert, and your faith and justification all to seek, and all your preparations for heaven to make ; if you had all this to do, with a pained body, and a distracted mind, in so short a time, with God, and eternity, and death before you, ready with terror to overwhelm your souls? If now you were to seek for an interest in Christ, and for the pardon of all your sins, and your peace with God were yet to make? If you had all your life past to look back upon, as consumed in sin; and when time is at an end, must cry out of all that is past, as lost ? this is the case that God in justice might have left you to. But what an unspeakable mercy is it, that you have already been reconciled to that God that you are going to ? and that the sins which now would have been your terror, are all forgiven through the blood of Christ? That you can look back upon your time, since the day of your conversion, as spent in faithful devotedness to God, and in a believing preparation for your endless life; and in godly sincerity, notwithstanding your manifold sinful imperfections, which Christ hath undertaken to answer for himself. Though you have nothing of your own to boast of; and no works that will justify you according to the law, at the bar of God, but you need a Saviour, and a pardon, for the failings, even of the best that ever you did; yet must you with thankfulness remember that grace which hath begun eternal life within you, and prepared and sealed you to the full possession of it. For all the mercy that is in God, and for all the glory that is in heaven, and for all the merits and satisfaction of Christ, and for all the fulness and freeness of the promise; if God had not given you a believing, penitent heart, and sanctified and sealed you by the Spirit of his Son, all this could have afforded you little comfort, but would have aggravated your misery, as it did your sin. Seeing then that many of the wicked, would be glad to die the death of the righteous; and when it is toc late, they would all be glad, if their latter end might be like bis ; how glad should you be, that God by such a life, hath prepared you for such an end? And though a humble soul
hath still an eye upon its own unworthiness, and satan is ready to aggravate our sins, in order to our discouragement and fear; yet must you remember what an honorable victory grace hath had over them; and look on them as Christ did, as the advantage of his grace; that “where sin abounded, there grace hath superabounded.” You have had something to humble you, and to shew you that you were a child of Adam; and you have had something for grace to contend with, and to conquer; and for Christ to pardon; bless him through whom you have had the victory. Had you not deserved hell, Christ could not have saved you from a deserved hell; and the song of the Lamb would not have been so sweet to you, in the everlasting remembrance, and experience of his grace. You have sinned as a man, and he hath pardoned as God; you have been weak and nothing, but his grace hath been sufficient for you, and by his strength you can do all things. He hath as dear a love to you now in his exaltation, as he had upon the cross, when he was bleeding for your sins. And will he suffer a chosen soul to perish, for whom he hath paid so dear a price? A Christ in heaven that had never been on earth, would have seemed a stranger to us, and one that never was acquainted with our miseries, nor had testified his love at so dear a rate, as might have convinced, and encouraged, and won our hearts. And a Christ on earth, that had not passed for us into heaven, would have seemed to us but an insufficient conquered friend; and were unfit to provide us a mansion with the Father, and to receive our souls, when they are separated from the flesh. But “now we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, and was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin;" and therefore
can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities : and therefore we may come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need " This is your time of need, and here is a supply for all your needs. As we may come boldly through our high priest to the throne of grace, so may we boldly pass by his conduct into the presence of God in glory. For he is purposely gone before "to prepare a place for us, that where
be also b."
O what a joy is it to our
there we may
a Heb. iv. 14–16.
b John xiv. 1-3.