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Holy Ghost: and " if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his;" Rom. viii. 9. The holy Catholic church is composed of all through the world that have this work upon them, and therefore it is called holy. The communion of saints, is the blessed vital fellowship of these sanctified ones; for these only is the resurrection unto blessedness, and the life everlasting with the Lord of life : for all others is the resurrection of condemnation, and the everlasting punishment.
But if the other two articles of our faith have been so denied by the blind, it is less wonder if this be so. Some heretics denied God to be the Creator of the world, and because they saw so much evil in the world, they said that it was made by devils or evil angels (who indeed made the sin, but not the world). So dealt the Jews by the Son, and the second article of our faith. The sacrifice of bulls and goats, and such beasts, was all the sacrifice for sin that they believed in. And thus deal the multitude of the ungodly by the Spirit. Indeed they know not themselves sufficiently, to know the need and worth of sanctification. They are too whole to need the skill and care of Christ or the Holy Ghost. The insensibility of spiritual death and misery, and thinking too lightly of original corruption, and too well of our depraved nature, is both the cause of many of the heresies of the learned, and of the common contempt of Christ and the Spirit, and recovering grace, in all the unregenerate. For it is not possible that men should have any deeper sense of the need or worth of the remedy, than they have of the greatness of their sin and misery.
O sirs, did we not come upon this great disadvantage to you, that we speak to dead men, that have indeed a natural life, which doth but take pleasure in their spiritual death ; how confidently should we expect to prevail with all! But while you think lightly of your disease, we can expect no better, but that you think as lightly of Christ and holiness, and all the means that tend to your recovery; and think of the new man, as the poets fabled of the Promethean race, that it grows out of the earth (of your poor, sorry purposes and performances) like ordinary plants.
Truly sirs, I have led you even as far as I can; and what more to say to you, or what more to do for you to procure your conversion, I do not know. If it had been in my power
to have shewed you heaven and hell itself, that you might better have known the matters that we speak of, I think I should have done it. But God will not have men live by sense in this life, but by faith. If I could but help you all to such a knowledge and apprehension of these invisible things, as the worst of you shall have as soon as you are dead, then I should make but little doubt of your conversion and salvation. Sure if you had but such a sight, the force of it would so work upon you, that before I went out of the congregation, you would all cry out that you are resolved to be new creatures. But though this be beyond my power, and though I cannot shew you the great and wonderful things that every eye here must shortly see; yet I come not to you without a glass of God's own making, and in that glass you may see them. There, if you have but an eye of faith, you may see that God that you have so long offended, and that now so earnestly inviteth you to return : there you may see that crucified Christ that hath opened you a way for repentance by his blood, and pleadeth that blood with you for the melting of your impenitent, obstinate hearts. There you may see the odious face of sin, and the amiable face of holiness, which is the image of God. There you may see both heaven and hell, for all that they are invisible; and may know what will be, and that to all eternity, as well as what is.
And will not such a sight in the glass of God's word serve turn to move thee presently to give up the trade of sinning, and to resolve before thou stir, for God? I am now come to the end of this part of my work; if the reading of it have brought thee to the end of thy ungodly, careless life, it will be happy for thee, and I shall so far attain the end of my labour. I have purposely put this Direction of the necessity of resolution in the last place, that I might leave upon thy spirit the reasons for resolution, that here I have laid down. And now I beseech thee reader, whoever thou art, with all the earnestness that I am able to use with thee, as ever thou wouldst escape the fruits of all thy sin, as ever thou wouldst see the face of God with comfort, and have him thy reconciled Father in Christ; as ever thou wouldst have a saving part in Christ, and have him stand thy friend in thy extremities; as ever thou wouldst have hope in thy death, and stand on the right hand, and be jus
tified at judgment; as ever thou wouldst escape the day of vengeance prepared for the 'unconverted, and the endless misery that will fall upon all unsanctified souls, as sure as the heaven is over thy head; see that thou resolve and turn to God, and trifle with him no more. Away with thy old transgressions, away with thy careless, worldly life, away with thy ungodly company, and set thyself presently to seek after thy salvation with all thy heart, and mind, and might. I tell thee once more, that heaven and hell-are not matters to be jested with, nor to be carelessly thought of, or spoken of, or regarded. The God of heaven stands over thee now while thou art reading all these words, and he seeth thy heart, whether thou art resolved to turn or not. Shall he see thee read such urgent reason, and yet wilt not resolve ? Shall he see thee read these earnest requests, and yet not resolve? What! not to come home to thy God, to thy Father, to thy Saviour, to thyself, after so long and wilful sin
What! not to accept of mercy, now it is even thrust into thy hands, when thou hast neglected and abused mercy so long? 0 let not the just and jealous God stand over thee, and see thee guilty of such wickedness. If thou be a Christian shew thyself a Christian, and use thy belief, and come to God. If thou be a man, shew thyself a man, use thy reason, and come away to God. I beseech thee read over and over again the reasons that I have here offered thee, and judge whether a reasonable man should resist them, and delay an hour to come in to God. I that am now writing these lines of exhortation to thee, must shortly meet thee at the bar of Christ. I do now adjure thee, and charge thee in the name of the living God, that thou do not thyself and me that wrong, as to make me lose this labour with thee, and that thou put me not to come in as a witness against thee, to thy confusion and condemnation. Resolve therefore presently in the strength of Christ, and strike an unchangeable covenant with him; get thee to thy knees, and bewail with tears thy former life, and deliver up thyself wholly now to Christ, and never break this covenant more.
If thou lay by the book, and go away the same, and no persuasion will do any good upon thee, but unholy thou wilt still be, and sensual, and worldly still thou wilt be; I call thy conscience to witness, that thou wast warned of the evil that is near thee; and conscience shall obey this call,
and bear me witness whether thou wilt or not: and this book which thou hast read, which I intended for thy conversion and salvation, shall be a witness against thee : though age or fire consume the leaves and lines of it, yet God and conscience shall bring it to thy memory, and thou shalt then be the more confounded to think what reasons and earnest persuasions thou didst reject in so plain, so great and necessary a case.
But if the Holy Ghost will now become thy tutor, and at once both put this book into thy hand, and his heavenly light into thy understanding, and his life into thy heart, and effectually persuade thee to resolve and turn, how happy wilt thou be to all eternity ? Make no more words on it; but answer my request, as thou wouldst do if thou wert in a burning fire, and I entreated thee to come out. Thou hast long enough grieved Christ and his Spirit, and long enough grieved thy friends and teachers : resolve this hour, and rejoice them that thou hast grieved ; and now grieve the devil, that thou hast hitherto rejoiced ; and hereafter grieve the wicked, and thy own deceitful flesh, whose sinful desires thou hast hitherto followed : and if thou also grieve thyself a little while, by that moderate sorrow that sin hath made necessary for thee, it will be but a preparative to thy endless joys, and the day is promised, and coming apace, when satan that thou turnest from, shall trouble thee no more, and God that thou turnest to, shall wipe away all tears from thy eyes. And if the reading of this book may be but a means of so blessed an end, as God shall have the glory, so when “ Christ cometh to be glorified in his saints, and admired of all them that do believe," (2 Thess.i. 10.) both thou and I shall then partake of the communication of his glory; if so be that I be sincere in writing, and thou and I sincere in obeying the doctrine of this book. Amen.
July 5, 1657.
END OF DIRECTIONS AND PERSUASIONS TO CONVERSION.
WEAK, DISTEMPERED CHRISTIANS,
GROW UP TO A CONFIRMED STATE OF GRACE.
OPENING THE LAMENTABLE EFFECTS OF THEIR WEAKNESSES AND
PUBLISHED ALSO TO FURTHER THAT REPENTANCE, WHICH WARS, AND PLAGUES, AND FLAMES, AND CHURCH-CONVULSIONS HAVE SO LONG AND LOUDLY PREACHED