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fordid Pleasures of Sin under their Feet, to enjoy them.
Q. But did not the Scriptures only mean by Converfron, to be baptized in our Infancy into the visible Church, and that Man makes but a needless Bustle in the World about any other Conversion.
A. No. Though this Notion is spread among Men, and by a great many adopted, it is a dangerous Mistake, a Shadow instead of a Bridge, and, venturing upon it, we drown ourselves; for Christ faith, Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptized, sball be favea; but he that believeth not fall be damned. Baptism without Faith, signifies nothing to Salvation ; and why has Christ preiled and inculcated the indifpensible Necessity of Regeneration upon Nicodemus, John iii. 3, 5, 7. who had been many Years a circumcised Jew, if he could have been saved without it?
Q. Is then the external Profesion of Christianity not enough to be a Christian?
A. Though many are of that Opinion, satisfying themselves that they are no Heathens, Mahometans, or idolatrous Papists, but Protestants, brought up in th” true Church, and also reformed Christians; we must warn ourselves of such a Falshood, for, the Kingdom of God is not in Word, but in Power, i Cor. iv. 20.
We must not confess Christ in Words, and deny him in Works, The Grace of God, that bringeth Salvatim, teacheth us, that denying Ungodliness and worldly Lufts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present World, &c. Tit. ii. 11, 12, 13. And if Baptism in our Infancy, or the external Profession of Christianity, were all the Difficulties, Christ need not have put Men upon striving (as in an Agony) to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven at the strait Gate, Luke xiii. 24.
Q. If we lay our Prayers daily, frequent our Church, receive the Sacrament, and perform other good iVorks, may we not bope fer Heaven, though we take the Liberty
to swear, drink, commit Adultery, or be guilty of other Crimes and Immoralities?
A. If that could confift before God, then all the Hypocrites were safe ; but to cut off at one Stroke thefe vain and blasphemous Thoughts, we have only to read Ifa. Iviï. 2. Jer. vii. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and Matt. vii. 21, 22, 23. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, fhall enter into the Kingdom f Heaver ; but he that doth the Will of my Father which is in Heaven. Many will fay to me in that Day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name? And in thy Name have caft out Devils? And in thy Name done derful Works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you ; depart from me, ye that work Iniquity.
Q. But if a Man is one of the greatest Sinners, and has not lived a sober and civil Life, how dares he to ap, proach fuch a jult and holy God, and flatter himself with Hopes of his Mercy ?
A. That Suggestion is only a Snare of Satan ; and to obviate it, we say first, that there is not only a Poffibility of our Recovery, but in fome Respect a Atronger Probability, that one of the greatest Sinners may be converted and saved, than there is for those who have led a more fmoother and civil Life in the World, and only trust to their own Morality for their Salvation, inftead of the imputed Righteousness of Christ. This plainly
appears by that convictive Expression of Christ's to the Scribes and Pharisees, Matt. xxi.
Verily, 1 say unto you, that the Publicans and Harlots, go into the Kingdom of Heaven before you. And indeed, it is far easier to come at the Conscience of such Sinners by Conviction, than at the others; the most smooth and civil Part of the World trust to their own Righteousness and external Duties; and thus Self-Confidence, and Conceit of their good Condition, refift all Attempts to bring them to Chrift for Righteousness; but the Consciences of those, whose whole Lives have been polluted with Profaneness and all Impiety, will more easily be convicted of their present Danger, and Necessity of a speedy and thorough Conversion, because they think not as others do, that they need no Repentance; and thus the greatest Sinner appears to lie nearer the Door of Hope and Mercy, than the other wrong Builders do. And 2dly, We ought to think on the rich and free Grace of God to the vileft Sinners, in Christ Jesus, whose Blood cleanseth us from all Sin ; and the gth Verse, If we confefs our Sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our Sins, and to cleanse as from all Unrighteousness. Farther, would we have a stronger Sense of the Riches and Transcendency of his Goodness and Mercy to the greatest Sinners, let us look upon Paul, who, more fierce and vile before Conversion than he, who was a Blasphemer, a Persecutor, and Injurious ? 1 Tim. i. 13. And who among all the Servants of Christ loved and laboured for him more (after Conversion) than he? That sinful Woman recorded Luke vii. She was an infamous and notorious Sinner; yet her Sins, which were many, were forgiven her, Verse 47. Manasseh was a Monfter of Wickedness, 2 Chron. 33. yet found. Mercy. Which Things plainly shew the Poffibility that we may be pardoned ; and therefore how finful foever we have been, we must not despair of God's Mercy, but with the whole Heart turn us, unto God, chofing him for our supreme and ultimate Happiness and Pora tion, Pf. lxxiii. Flying to the Lord Jesus Christ, our dear Saviour, with the deepest Supplication, Faith and Prayers, for his Grace and Mercy, to bring forth the new. Man, which is nothing less, than the total Change of our Heart and Life, Isa. Iv. 8.
Q. Whilst we can never say enough about this point of Doctrine, can you point to any other Motives to a speedy Coverfion?
1. Yes. Let a Man once go out of the Noise and Hurry of the World, into some private retiring Place, to consult with his Conscience, to debate the
State of his Soul, and think close (but for one Hour) on such awful Subjects, as God, the Soul, Christ, Eternity, Heaven, Hell, Death, Judgment, and of his Concern in all these, what Life he has hitherto lived ; and finding that it has been nothing else, but to eat and drink, sport and play, ride and walk, sleep, and prog for Riches, &c. then he ought to consider the Necessity of Conversion that tho the sweet Part of his Life is passed away in Vanity, and that there is no recalling one Day or Hour, he hath yet an Opportunity to be eternally happy; that the door of Mercy is not finally shut up; that the Lord Jesus yet waits to be gracious to him, if now (after all that he has done) he will but come unto him, he may
have Life ; that his Swearing, Profaneness, abusing of God's Name, Drunkenness, Uncleanness, and Enmity at Godliness, shall never be mentioned, if he will yet return, Ezek. xviii. 21, 22. But if he will be careless and negligent, let him think on his DeathBed (if he shall have one) when his Heart and Breath will fail, his Eye and Heart Strings break, all earthly Comforts vanish, which must shortly befall him, Eccle. vii. Let him fuppose in these his last extremities his Conscience should awake (as probably it will) there being now no more Charms of Pleasures and finful Companions to divert, or rather stupify it; what a Case will he find himself in! what a cold Sweat will then lie upon his gafping Bosom! what a pale Horror will appear in his Countenance ! How then will he tremble at that, in which he once triumphed ! how will he wish, that the Time he has spent in Vanity, had been spent in a constant practice of Piety! that he had been as careful ef his Soul as he was of his Body; that the Pains of Mortification, which he was to afraid of, are nothing to the Pains of Damnation which be begins to feel already; yea, when he will be convinced of the Terror of God's Wrath to all Eternity. Therefore, if ever Man
expect to be delivered from such a State, or from Hell itfelf, let him heartily strive to the utmost, strive whilft he has Opportunity to flee from and escape by a true Change the woful State of eternal Damnation. The 92d Question of the HEIDELBERG
CATECHISM. Q. WHAT did God reveal to Man for the Rule
of bis Obedience ? " A. The moral Law." Q. Where is the moral Law summarily comprehended? A. In the Ten Commandments, Exod. xx. Q. Can you repeat the Law of God?
A. Yes. When God gave it to Man, he spake all these Words, saying, “I am the Lord thy God, “ who brought thée out of the Land of Egypt, out " of the House of Bondage.
“ J. Thou shalt have none other Gods but me.
(6 II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven 66. Image, or any Likeness of any Thing that is in “ Heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or o that is in the Water under the Earth. Thou shalt “ not bow down thyself to them, nor serye them: For “ I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the “ Iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children unto the " third and fourth Generation of them that hate
me, " and shewing Mercy unto Thousands of them that 56 love me, and keep my
Commandments. « III. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord " thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him. “ guildless that taketh his Name in vain.
i IV. Remember the Sabbath-Day to keep it holy; « Six Days shalt thou labour, and do all thy Work ; " but the Seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy 6 God: In it thou shalt not do any Work, thou, nor “thy Son, nor thy Daughter, thy Man-Servant, nor
thy Maid-Servant, nor thy Cattle, nor thy Stranger that is within thy Gaces ; for in fix Days the Lord