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w that generation, and said, They are a Vol VII.people that do err in their hearts, for
they have not known my ways. And what was the issue of all this? Upon this God takes up a fixt resolution to bear no longer with them, but to cut them off from the Blessings he had promi. sed to bestow upon them ; He sware in his wrath, that they should not enter into his reft. To whom (ware he that they sbould not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not ? or as the word may be rendred, to them that were disobedient ? that is, to them who went on in their rebellion against him, after he had Suffered their manners forty years.
And as the abuse of God's Patience renders our destruction more certain, so more speedy and more intollerable. We think that because God fuffers long, he will suffer always; and be cause punishment is delayed, there fore it will never come; but it will come the sooner for this: So our Lord tells us, Luke 12. When the servant said, His Lord delayed his coming, the Lord of that servant shall come in a day that he looks not for him, and at an hout when he is not aware, and shall cut him in funder, and appoint him his portion with
the hypocrites. None so like to be furprised by the Judgment of God, as Vol. VII. those who trespass lo boldly upon his Patience.
III. To perfwade us to make a right use of the Patience and longsuffering of God, and to comply with the merciful end and design of God therein.
1. It is the design of God's longsuffering, to give us a space of repentance.
Were it not that God had this design and reasonable expectation from us, he would not reprieve a finner for one moment, but would execute Judgment upon him so soon as ever he had offended : This our Saviour de. clares to us by the Parable of the Figtree, Luke 13. 6. Were it not that God expects from us the fruit of repentance, he would cut us down, and not suffer us to cumber the ground; af. ter he had waited three years, seeking fruit and finding none, he spares it one jear more, to see if it would bear fruit.
2. The long-suffering of God is a great encouragement to repentance. We fee by his Patience that he is not ready to take advantage against us; that he spares is when we offend, is a 6 2
my very good sign that he will forgive us Vol.VII. if we repent. Thus natural Light would
reason, and so the King of Nineveh, a Heathen, reasons, Who can tell if God will turn and repent? But we are fully assured of this by the gracious declarations of the Gospel, and the way of pardon and forgiveness which is therein establisht through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, who was made a propitiation for the sins of the whole world.
Therefore the long-suffering of God should be a powerful argument to us to break off our fins by repentance : For this is the End of God's Patience ; He is long-suffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. He hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked should turn from his way and live. God every where expressech a vehement defire and earnest expectation of our repentance and conversion ; Jer. 4., 14. 0. Jerusalem! wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be faved. And Chap. 13. 27. Woe unto thee Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when sball it once be? He who is so patient as to the punishment of our fins, is almost impatient of our re
pentance for them; Wilt thou not be Vol. VII. made clean? when shall it once be ? And can we stand out against his earnest desire of our happiness, whom we have fo often and so long provoked to make us miserable?
Let us then return into our felves, and think seriously what our case and condition is ; how we have lived, and how long the Patience of God hath fuffered our manners, and waited for our repentance, and how inevitable : and intollerable the misery of those must be who live and dye in the contempt and abuse of it; let us heartily repent of our wicked lives, and say, What have we done? How careless have we been of our own happiness, and what pains have we taken to undo our felves ?
Let us speedily fet about this Work, because we do not know how long the Patience of God may last, and the opportunities of our Salvation be conţinued to us. This day of God's Grace and Patience will have an end, therefore,as the Prophet exhorts, Ifa. 55.6. Seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near. Now God graciously invites Sinners to
we come to him, and is ready to receive Vol. VII.
them ; nay, if they do but move to wards him, he is ready to go forth and meet them half way; but the time will come, when he will bid them depart from him, when they shall
cry, Lord, Lord, open unto us, and the door of mercy Jhall be sbut against them.
All the while thou delayest this necessary work, thou venturest thy immortal Soul, and puttest thyo eternal Salvation upon a desperate hazard, and should God snatch thee suddenly away in an impenitent state, what would become of thee? Thou art yet in the way, and God is yet reconcileable, but Death is not far off, and perhaps much nearer to thee than thou art aware ; at the best thy Life is uncertain, and Death will infallibly put a period to this day of God's Grace and Patience.
Repentance is a work so necessary, that methinks no Man should lose to much time as to deliberate, whether he should set about it or not; de necessariis nulla eft deliberatio ; no man de. liberates about what he must do, or be undone if he do it not. 'Tis a work of fo great consequence and concern.