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I beseech you, by the great expectation of that important “day, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven;" (2 Thess. i. 7.) by “the terrors of a dissolving world;" (2 Pet. iii. 10.) by the sound of the archangel's trumpet,” (1 Thess. iv. 16.) and of that infinitely more awful sentence, “Come, ye blessed,” and “Depart, ye cursed," with which that grand solemnity shall close. Matt. xxv. 34, 41.
6. I beseech you, finally, by your own precious and immortal soul ; by the sure prospect of a dying bed, or of a sudden surprise into the invisible state ; and as you would feel one spark of comfort in your departing spirit, when your flesh and your heart are failing. "I beseech you, by your own personal appearance before the tribunal of Christ, (for a personal appearance it must be, even to them who now sit on thrones of their own :) by all the transports of the blessed, and by all the agonies of the damned, the one or the other of which must be your everlasting portion. I affectionately entreat and beseech you, in the strength of all these united considerations, as you will answer it to me, who may in that day be summoned to testify against you ; and, which is unspeakably more, as you will answer it to your conscience, as you will answer it to the eternal Judge, that you dismiss not these thoughts, these meditations, and these cares,
have brought matters to a happy issue; till you have made a resolute choice of Christ, and his appointed way of salvation, and till you have solemnly devoted yourself to God in the bonds of an everlasting covenant. 7. And thus I leave the matter before
and before the Lord. I have told you my errand; I have discharged my embassy. Stronger arguments I cannot use, more endearing and more awful considerations I cannot suggest. Choose, therefore, whether you will go out, as it were clothed in sackcloth, to cast yourself at the feet of him who now sends you these equitable and gracious terms of peace and pardon ; or whether you will hold it out till he appears sword in hand, to reckon with
for sons and your crimes, and for this neglected embassy among the rest of them. Fain would I hope the best ; nor
can I believe that this labour of love shall be so entirely unsuccessful, that not one soul shall be brought to the foot of Christ in cordial submission and humble faith.
66 Take with you,” therefore, “words, and turn unto the Lord ;" (Hos. xiv. 2.) and, oh! that those which follow might in effect at least be the genuine language of every one that reads them!
The Sinner yielding to these Entreaties, and declaring his acceptance
of Salvation by Christ. “ Blessed Lord, it is enough! It is too much! Surely there needs not this variety of arguments, this importunity of persuasion, to court me to be happy, to prevail on me to accept of pardon, of life, of eternal glory. Compassionate Saviour, my soul is subdued ; so that I trust the language of thy grief is become that of my penitence, and I may say, my heart is melted like wax in the midst of my bowels.' Psalm xxii. 14.
“O gracious Redeemer! I have already neglected thee too long. I have too often injured thee; have crucified thee afresh by my guilt and impenitence, as if I had taken pleasure in putting thee to an open shame.' Heb. vi. 6. But my heart now bows itself before thee in humble, unfeigned submission. I desire to make no terms with thee but these—that I may be entirely thine. I cheerfully present thee with a blank, entreating thee that thou wilt do me the honour to signify upon it what is thy pleasure. Teach
me, O Lord, what thou wouldst have me to do! for I desire to learn the lesson, and to learn it that I may practise it. If it be more than my
powers can answer, thou wilt, I hope, give me more strength; and in that strength I will serve thee. O receive a soul, which thou hast made willing to be thine !
“No more, O blessed Jesus, no more is it necessary to beseech and entreat me. Permit me rather to address myself to thee, with all the importunity of a perishing sinner, that at length sees and knows there is salvation in no other ! Acts, iv. 12. Permit me now, Lord, to come and throw myself at thy feet, like a helpless outcast, that has no shelter but in thy gracious compassion! like one (pursued by the avenger of blood,' and seeking earnestly an admittance into the city of refuge! Josh. xx. 2, 3.
6. I wait for the Lord ; my soul doth wait; and in thy word do I hope,' (Psalm cxxx. 5.) that thou wilt receive me graciously.' Hos. xiv. 2. My soul confides in thy goodness, and adores it. I adore the patience which has borne with me so long; and the grace that now makes me heartily willing to be thine: to be thine on thine own terms, thine on any terms. O secure this treacherous heart to thyself! O unite me to thee in such inseparable bonds, that none of the allurements of flesh and blood, none of the vanities of an ensnaring world, none of the solicitations of sinful companions may draw me back from thee, and plunge me into new guilt and ruin! "Be surety, O Lord, for thy servant, for good,' (Psalm cxix. 122.) that I may still keep my hold on thee, and so on eternal life ; till at length I know more fully, by joyful and everlasting experience, how complete a Saviour thou art. Amen.'
A SOLEMN ADDRESS TO THOSE WHO WILL NOT BE PERSUADED
TO FALL IN WITH THE DESIGN OF THE GOSPEL.
1. Universal success not to be expected.—2–4. Yet, as unwilling ab
solutely to give up any, the author addresses those who doubt the truth of Christianity, urging an inquiry into its evidences, and directing to proper methods for that purpose.–5. Those who determine to give it up without further examination.--6. And presume to set themselves to oppose it.—7,8. Those who speculatively assent to Christianity as true, and yet will sit down without any practical regard to its most important and acknowledged truths. Such are dismissed with a representation of the absurdity of their conduct on their own principles.-9,10. With a solemn warning of its fatal consequences.–11. And a compassionate prayer, which concludes the chapter, and this part of the work.
1. I would humbly hope, that the preceding chapters will be the means of awakening some stupid and insensible sinners, the means of convincing them of their need of Gospel-salvation, and of engaging some cordially to
accept it. Yet I cannot flatter myself so far as to hope this should be the case, with regard to all into whose hands this book shall come. “What am I, alas! better than my fathers,” (1 Kings, xix. 4.) or better than my brethren, who have in all ages been repeating their complaint, with regard to multitudes, that they “ have stretched out their hand all day long to a disobedient and gainsaying people ?" Rom. x. 21. Many such may, perhaps, be found in the number of
my readers ; many, on whom neither considerations of terror, nor of love, will make any deep and lasting impression; many, who, as our Lord learned by experience to express it, “when we pipe to them, will not dance; and when we mourn unto them, will not lament.' Matt. xi. 17. I can say no more to persuade them, if they make light of what I have already said. Here, therefore, we must part: in this chapter I must take my leave of them; and O that I could do it in such a manner, as to fix, at parting, some conviction upon their hearts, that, though I seem to leave them for a little while, and send them back to review again the former chapters, as those in which alone they have any present concern, they might soon, as it were, overtake me again, and find a suitableness in the remaining part of this treatise, which at present they cannot possibly find. Unhappy creatures, I quit you as a physician quits a patient whom he loves, and is just about to give over as incurable : he returns again and again, and re-examines the several symptoms, to observe whether there be not some one of them more favourable than the rest, which may encourage a renewed application.
2. So would I once more return to you. You do not find in yourself any disposition to embrace the Gospel, to apply yourself to Christ, to give yourself up to the service of God, and to make religion the business of your
life, But if I cannot prevail upon you to do this, let me engage you, at least, to answer me, or rather to answer your own conscience, “ Why you will not do it ?” Is it owing to any secret disbelief of the great principles of religion? If it be, the case is different from what I have yet considered,
and the cure must be different. This is not a place to combat with the scruples of infidelity. Nevertheless, I would desire you seriously to inquire, “ How far those scruples extend?” Do they affect any particular doctrine of the Gospel on which my argument hath turned ; or do they affect the whole Christian revelation ? Or do they reach yet farther, and extend themselves to natural religion, as well as revealed, so that it should be a doubt with you, whether there be any God, and providence, and future state, or not? As these cases are all different, so it will be of great importance to distinguish the one from the other : that you may know on what principles to build as certain, in the examination of those concerning which you are yet in doubt. But, whatever these doubts are, I would farther ask you, “How long have they continued, and what method have you taken to get them resolved ?" Do you imagine, that, in matters of such moment, it will be an allowable case for you to trifle on, neglecting to inquire into the evidence of these things, and then plead your not being satisfied in that evidence, as an excuse for not acting according to them? Must not the principles of common sense assure you, that, if these things be true, as when you talk of doubting about them, you acknowledge it, at least, possible, they may be, they are of infinitely greater importance than any of the affairs of life, whether of business or pleasure, for the sake of which you neglect them? Why, then, do you continue indolent and unconcerned, from week to week, and from month to month, which probably conscience tells you is the case?
3. Do you ask, “What method you should take to be resolved ? It is no hard question. Open your eyes : set yourself to think : let conscience speak, and verily do I believe, that, if it be not seared in an uncommon degree, you will find shrewd forebodings of the certainty both of natural and revealed religion, and of the absolute necessity of repentance, faith and holiness, to a life of future felicity. If you are a person of any learning, you cannot but know by what writers, and in what treatises, these great truths are defended. And if you are not, you may find, in