Imagens das páginas

man of God, the true worshipper of him, hath the foundations of his faith and hope so firmly settled, that no storms or tempests of the world can shake them. Though the vine and the olive should fail, and the field be barren for want of moisture to fatten it, yet all this were nothing to christians, to the servants of the most high God, who are lured by better expectations, by prospects of paradise, and of all the joys which the kingdom of heaven can exhibit to them. They do therefore rejoice in the Lord, and do joy in the God of their salvation ; and so bear with patience and courage the worst which can befal them, in sure and certain hope of the many felicities which shall hereafter await them: For we who have disclaimed our first birth, and are regenerate and created anew by the spirit of God, do profess to live to him, and not to the world; we do not indeed expect to partake of his rewards and promises till we go hence to him; yet, for deliverance from our enemies, for obtaining rain when it is most necessary, for the removal or mitigation of any temporal calamities; for these, and such like mercies, we apprehend ourselves warranted to make continual intercession at the throne of grace: and thus we cease not day and night, endeavouring to obtain for you the favour of God, and to appease his anger; to solicit your forgiveness, and to forward your salvation. Upon the whole, therefore, it should be no encouragement to any of you to believe that the judgments




[ocr errors]

of God are not pointed at you, merely because the common condition of your and our nature makes a participation of its common burdens necessary, as well to us who are his faithful servants, as to you who are his professed and open enemies. For indeed it hath already been foretold by God himself, and by his prophets, that his wrath should overtake the unrighteous ; that we, 'tis true, should have our share of persecutions and afflictions, which would be grievous to flesh and blood; but yet that they who should bring them upon us would be sure to suffer for their outrages against us. For thus it is written, “ Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”

8. Repent ye, therefore, whilst ye have the opportunity, and lay hold of eternal life; and as the world is now near its end, let the fear of God prevail with you to turn to him. Account it not a pleasure to domineer and to rule imperiously over just and harmless persons in this world; but remember, that in the finest wheat there will be a mixture of noxious or worthless weeds. Suggest not that evils befal you, because we do not worship your gods; but be assured that this is the process of God's wrath, to search with his judgments those whom his mercies cannot gain upon. Seek ye

[ocr errors]


therefore after God, though it be late ; who hath long ago thus exhorted you by his prophet, saying, “ Seek the Lord, and ye shall live;" acquaint yourselves with God, how long soever you have neglected him; and bear in mind those words of Christ, wherein he hath declared, “ This is life eternal; that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Believe him who cannot deceive; who hath foretold that all these things shall happen. Believe him who will assign to believers the recompense of eternal life; who will inflict on unbelievers the everlasting punishment of hell fire. When the day of judgment cometh, how great will then be the glory of our faith, and how astonishing the terror of your infidelity! How will the hearts of believers overflow with joy; and the breasts of unbelievers be filled with sorrow! To consider that here they would not believe, when they will hereafter have no opportunity of returning hither, to be put upon the trial whether they will believe or no! 'The flames of that devouring fire which never shall be quenched, will punish with endless torments those who are adjudged to them ; nor will their sufferings have the least allay from any hope or prospect that time will finish or abate them. Their souls and bodies shall be preserved to make each other completely miserable. There the men, to whom we were here for a while the spectacles of reproach and contempt, will be so to



us for ever; and the little pleasure they took in feeding their eyes for a few moments with our misery, will be requited to them by a reverse of the scene, and by being, themselves, a gazing stock to all generations. For thus the holy scripture hath declared concerning them: “ Their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”

9. Too late will they begin to believe an eternal punishment, who would not in time believe an eternal life. Wherefore make, whilst you may, a careful provision for your life and safety. We offer you the best and most valuable present which we are able to make you, when we thus advise and persuade you. And because we are forbidden to hate you, and have good reason to think we please our Lord and Master, when we attempt no return of evil for evil; therefore we beseech and exhort vou, whilst you have the opportunity, whilst you are on this side the grave, and the world. hath yet any time remaining to it, that you would labour to make your escape from the gross darkness of superstition, into the pure and heavenly light of true religion. You see we envy none of your advantages, nor do we endeavour to conceal the mercies of God from you. We return you good for evil ; and requite the torments and punishments wherewith you have loaded us, with directing you to the way of happiness and salvation. Wherefore, once more, believe, and live; we invite, we beseech you, who at present are our persecutors, to rejoice with us for ever.

10. Upon our removal hence there will be no place for repentance, nor any possibility of atoning for our sins by penitential satisfactions. Here, or no where, must be laid the foundation of eternal life. Here, or no where, must our worship of the true God, and the effects of our believing on him, secure us an interest in the kingdom of heaven. Nor let any one be discouraged by the sinfulness of his past life, or by the shortness of the time which remains to him in it, from beginning his endeavours after the attainment of salvation. There is no repentance too late for you, whilst you continue upon the present scene. The door of God's mercy stands always open, and access to the truth is ever easy to such as diligently seek it here: Even in your last moments of life apply to God for the pardon of your sins; even then acknowledge him, who only hath immortality, with an unfeigned faith ; and your confession will secure your forgiveness : His never failing compassions will expunge the guilt of each true believer ; and so from the midst of the valley of the shadow of death will open him a passage to life and immortality. This advantage we derive from the gracious undertaking of Christ our Lord; this is the peculiar triumph of his cross, on which he hath purchased to himself, by the price of his

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »