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perish, and by an admirable excellency in meekness, humility, self-denial, and heavenliness, above other men?

(6.) Moreover, you know more, and have a greater experience to assist you than others have; and, therefore, you should excel them accordingly. Others have but heard of the odiousness of sin, but you have seen and felt it. Others have heard of God's displeasure, but you have tasted it to the breaking or bruising of your hearts! You have been warned at the very quick, as if Christ had spoken to your very flesh and bones, "Go thy way, sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." And as Ezra said (chap. ix. 13.), "After all that is come upon us, should we again break thy commandments; wouldst thou not be angry with us till thou hast consumed us?" So, if after all your spiritual experiences, after so many tastes of the bitterness of sin, and groans, and prayers, and cries against it, you shall yet live as like to the wicked as you dare, and be familiar with that which hath cost you so dear! How do you think that God must take this at your hands? You have tasted of the sweetness of the love of Christ, and wondered at the unspeakable riches of his grace! You have tasted the sweetness of the hopes of glory, and of the powers of the world to come! You have perceived the necessity and excellency of holiness, by inward experience! And if, after all this, you will draggle on the earth, and live below your own experiences, contenting yourselves with an infancy of love, and life, and fruitfulness, how much do you then transgress against the rules of reason, and of equity!


(7.) Moreover, all the world expecteth much more from you, than from any others. God expecteth more from for he hath given you more, and meaneth to do more for you. Must you be in the eternal joys of heaven, when all your unsanctified neighbours are in torments, and yet will you not more endeavour to excel them? Is it not unreasonable to expect to be set eternally at so vast a distance from the ungodly world, even as far as heaven is from hell, and yet to be content to differ here but a little from them in holiness? The Lord knows that poor, forsaken, impenitent sinners will do no better, but rage, and be confident, till they are past remedy; he looks for no better from them than to neglect him, and slight his Son, and word, and ways; and

to go on in worldliness and fleshly living; to be filthy still, and careless, and presumptuous, and self-conceited still. But it is higher matters that he expects from you; and good reason, he hath done more for you, and prepared you for better things! The ministers of Christ do look for little better from many of their poor, ignorant, ungodly neighbours, but even to rub out their days in security, and selfdeceit, and to be barren after all their labours, if not to hate us for seeking to have saved them. But it is you that their eyes are most upon, and you that their hearts are most upon. Their comfort, and the fruit of their lives, lies much in your hands: saith Paul," Brethren, we were comforted over you in all our afflictions and distress, by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord! For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God. Night and day praying exceedingly, that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith;" 1 Thess. iii. 7-9. You see here, that your pastors' lives are in your hands. If you stand fast, they live. For the end of life is more than life; and your salvation is the end of our lives. If the impenitent world reproach us, and abuse and persecute us, we suffer it joyfully, as long as our work goeth on with you. But when you are at a stand, when you are barren, and scandalous, and passionate, and dishonour your profession, and put us in fears, lest we have bestowed all our labour on you in vain; this breaks our hearts above any worldly crosses whatsoever. O when the people that we should rejoice and glory in should prove unruly, self-conceited, peevish, proud, every one running his own way, falling into divisions, contentions, or scandals, this is the killing of the comforts of your ministers. When the ungodly shall hit us in the teeth with your scandals and divisions, and say, 'These are the godly people that you boasted of, see now what is become of them,' this is the smoke to our eyes, and the gall and vinegar that is given us by the adversary. And though still we know that our reward is with the Lord, yet can we not choose but be wounded for your sakes, and for the sake of the cause and the name of God.

Yea, the world itself expecteth more from you than others. When men talk of great matters, and profess as every Christian doth, to look for the greatest matters of

eternity, and to live for no lower things than everlasting fellowship with God and angels, no wonder then if the world do look for extraordinary matters from you. If you tell them of reaching heaven, they will look to see you winged like angels, and not to creep on earth like worms. If you say that you are more than men, they look you should shew it, by doing more than men can do; even by denying yourselves, and forgiving injuries, and loving your enemies, and blessing those that curse you, and contemning this world, and having your conversation in heaven. O sirs, believe it, it is not small or common things that will satisfy the expectations of God or men, of ministers, or of the world themselves, concerning you.

(8.) Yea, moreover God himself doth make his boast of you, and call out the world to observe your excellency; he sets you up as the light of the world, to be beheld by others. He calls you in his word, "his peculiar treasure above all people;" Exod. xix. 5. Deut. xiv. 3. Psal. cxxxv. 4. "A peculiar people, purified, and zealous of good works ;" Tit. ii. 14. He called you "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him that hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Ye are as lively stones, built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ;" 1 Pet. ii. 5.9. You are "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible;" (1 Pet. i. 23.) and “are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." God hath " delivered you from the power of darkness, and translated you into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom you have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins;" Col. i. 12-14. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;" Rom. viii. 16, 17. All things shall work together for your good. He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things;" ver. 28. 32. Nothing but the illuminated soul can discern "the riches of the glory of God's inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power;" Ephes.i. 18, 19. "When we were dead in sins, he hath


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quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, through Jesus Christ." He hath "brought us nigh that were far off," so that "by one Spirit we have access to the Father by Christ; and are now no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God;" Ephes. ii. 5-7. 13. 17-19. "We are members of the body of Christ, we are come to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant;" Heb. xii. 22-24.

Brethren, shall the Lord speak all this, and more than this in the Scripture, of your glory, and will you not prove yourselves glorious, and study to make good this precious word?. Doth he say, "The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour;" (Prov. xii. 26.), and will you not study to shew yourselves more excellent indeed? Shall all these high things be spoken of you, and will you live so far below them all? What a heinous wrong is this to God. He sticks not in boasting of you, to call you his jewels (Mal. iii. 17.), and tells the world he will make them one day discern the “difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not;" ver. 18. He tells the world, that his coming in judgment will be "to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in them that believe;" 2 Thess. i. 10. It is openly professed by the apostle John, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness;" 1John v. 19. He challengeth any "to condemn you, or lay any thing to your charge, professing that it is he that justifieth you;" casting the saints into admiration by his love. "What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" Rom. viii. 31. He challengeth tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, or nakedness, peril, or sword, to separate you, if they can, from the love of God. He challengeth death and life, angels, principalities, and powers, things present, and things to come, height and depth, or any other creature, to

separate you, if they are able, from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord; Rom. viii. 35.37-39. Shall the Lord of heaven thus make his boast of you to all the world, and will you not make good his boasting? Yea, I must tell you, he will see that it be made good to a word! And if you be not careful of it yourselves, and it be not made good in you, then you are not the people that God thus boasteth of. He tells the greatest persecutors to their faces, that the meek, the humble, little ones of his flock, "have their angels beholding the face of God in heaven;" (Matt.xviii. 10.) and that at the great and dreadful day of judgment, they shall be set at his right hand as his sheep, with a "Come ye blessed, inherit the kingdom," when others are set at his left hand as goats, with a "Go ye cursed, into everlasting fire;" Matt. XXV. He tells the world, that he that receiveth a converted man, that is become as a little child, receiveth Christ himself; and that "whosoever shall offend one of these little ones, that believe in him, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea;" Matt. xviii. 3-6. Mark ix. 42. Luke xvii. 2.

O sirs, must God be thus wonderfully tender of you, and will you not now be very tender of his interest and your duty? Shall he thus difference you from all the rest of the world, and will you not study to declare the difference? The ungodly even gnash the teeth at ministers, and Scriptures, and Christ himself, for making such a difference between them and you; and will you not let them see that it is not without cause? I entreat you, I require you, in the name of God, see that you answer these high commendations, and shew us that God hath not boasted of you beyond your worth?

(9.) Consider this as the highest motive of all; God doth not only magnify you and boast of you, but also he hath made you the living images of his blessed self, his Son Jesus Christ, his Spirit and his holy word; and so he hath exposed himself, his Son, his Spirit, and his word, to be censured by the world, according to your lives.

The express image of the Father's person is the Son; Heb. i. 3. The Son is declared to the world by the Holy Ghost the Holy Ghost hath indited the Scriptures, which therefore bear the image of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

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