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Wherefore take a view of the marks of Christless and unconverted persons, set down in God's word, and judge yourself by them, and consider also the signs of true grace there recorded, and see if they be applicable to you or not.
2dly, if after inquiry, you find your state is bad, that you have been a lover of the world more than of God, you have minded your body more than your soul, you have lived in the neglect of precious Christ, allowed youreslf in known sin; O then be convinced of your inability to help yourself, and your need of Christ to help you.' And labour to be deeply 'humbled before God under a sense of your sin and folly. " Ah, how foolishly, how rebelliously, how unthankfully have I carried ! I have abused God's mercies, and left undone the work for which I was made, preserved, and enjoyed the gospel." O! I had all my by-past time given me to make preparation for endless eternity, and I have never minded it, till now that sickness, the harbinger of death, is come upon me: and now what shall I do to be saved? Well then in order, to convince and humble you
the more, cast back your eyes upon the sins of your nature, and of your by-past life; view them in their number, nature, aggravations and deserts. O, do not so many years sins need a very deep humiliation, O, do you not stand greatly in need of such a "person as Christ to be your Saviour and ransomer from such a 'vast number of sins? O but their weight will .press you eternally down to the lowest hell, if left to yourself
, and laid upon your back.
3dly, O sinner, .art thou deeply' bumbled, and desirous of mercy upon 'ány ternis ? Believe then, that thy case is not remediless, but that there is a sacrifice provided for your sins, and an able and all-sufficient Saviour in your offer. Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and become flesh, 10'be'a surely for you,
that he is both able and willing to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him. Though your sins, your dangers and your fear3 were ever so great, yet he is able and willing to save. O flee presently to this refuge city, whose gates are open to receive you. Trust your souls upon Christ's sacrifice and meritorious blood for mercy and salvation. Apply hum, bly to him, that he may teach you the will of God, rem concile you to his Father, pardon your sins, renew you by his Spirit, and save you from eternal wrath,
4thly, Give up yourself to God in Christy by way of covenant and solemn, resignation. Every man doth this sacramentally in baptism; but you must also re new it personally and explicitly; and thereby give a cordial and voluntary consent to the covenant of g
grace. Acquiesce, cheerfully in the gospel way of salvation through Christ and bis righteousness; and accept of Ged in Christ, as thy portion. Make choice of God the Father asthy reconciled Father in Christ; and God the Son as thy Redeemer and Saviour; and God the Holy Ghost for thy sanctifier, guide,' and comforter. And likewise give up thyself, soul and body, and all thou hast, to be the Lord's; engaging in Christ's strength, to live for God, and walk with him in newness of life. And study to do all this deliberately, unfeignedly, and cheerfully. Though perhaps you have done this hypocritically at former times, you have profaned God's covenant, and behaved unsteadfastly and perfidiously therein.; yet now endeavour to be sincere with God for once.
5thly, Believing daily in the exercise of faith and repentance; renew the acts: thereof frequently, in proportion to your renewed sins and guiltiness, cleave close to glorious Christ your high priest and surety, and be ever washing in his blood. As long as you are in the world, you'll need to wash your feet, John xii. 10. Come death when it will, let it find you at the fountain, always looking to, and making use of Jesus Christ. You have great need of Chrisg every day of your life, more especially in sickness; but most of all at a dying hour. () what need: will you have of Christ then as an advocate with God, when the question is to be determined, where your mansion is to be assigned through all eternity, whether in heaven or hell ? then be looking always to Christ with the eye of faith. : Live in the constant thoughts of this blessed Mediator. Let him be first in your thoughts in the morning, and last in your thoughts at night.
6thly, By striving to mortify every sin and lust, both outward and inward. By dying to sin daily, that so you may not die for sin eternally. O that sin may be daily losing its strength, and dying in you! so that it may be certainly dead before you! Pray earnestly that all your sins may die before you die: for if they die nos before you, but outlive the dying body, they will live eternally to sting and torment the never dying soul.
Direct. IV. Be not anxious for recovery of health
but leave the issue of the present sickness to the will and pleasure of the infinitely wise God. EMEMBER, O man, thou art the clay and God
is the potter; he'is absolute Lord of thy life and times, therefore learn to adore his sovereignty over thee and all thy enjoyments. David doth so, when he says, “Lord, my times are in thy band," Psal. xxxi. 15. And indeed they are only best in bis hand, for he best knows how to dispose of them. The prophet saith, Isa. xxx. 18. 66 The Lord is a God of judgment, blessed are all ihey that wait for him," judgment there signifies wisdom : the Lord is a God of wisdom, and will order and time all things well; and therefore it becomes us quietly to wait for his pleasure, sayiug, “ The will of the Lord be done." It is taken notice of, as great sin in the Israelites, that they waited not for his counsel, but limited the holy One of Israel, Psal. lxxviii. 41. What unacountable folly and presumption is it, for worms of the earth to seek to stint and limit the Sovereign of heaven to their measures ! It becomes us at all times, and especially in sickness and afflictions, to have low submissive thoughts of ourselves, and high exalted thoughts of God's sovereignty, such as Nebuchadnezzar had, Dan. iv. 35. 4 and all the inhabitants of the earth, are reputed as nothing: And he doth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what dost thou ?” We should therefore refer all to his wise determination, and be willing to die or live, as he shall be pleased to appoint. I remember I have read of a gydly woman, who, in her sickness, being asked by one, whether she was most desirous to die or to live? sbe answered, “ I have no choice in that matter, but refer myself to the will of God.” But, said the other, “ Suppose God should refer it unto you, whether to die or to live ? which of them would you choose? “ If God (replied she) should refer it to me, I would even refer it back again to him." It becomes thee, O man, to be entirely resigned to the will of thy Maker, and to stand like a centinal in thy station, ready to move as thy great general and commander shall give orders concerning thee. It would be pleasant and acceptable to God, to see thee more desirous to be delivered from sin, than from sickness. O but sin is a far worse disease than any sickness in the world! Beg importunately, that the great Physician may cure this woeful soul disease, and let him do with the body what be pleaseth. This was David's practice in his affliction, Psal. xxv. 18. “Look upon my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins." As for his pains, and afflictions, he asks no more but that God would regard them, and look upon them, and do with them as he thought fit; but, as for his sins, no less will satisfy him than a pardon, and blotting them entirely out, so as they might be remembered no more.
Direct. V. Bind yourself with holy purposes and re
solutions, in Christ's strength, to be more watchful against sin, more diligent in duly, and to improve the time of health better, if God shall be pleased to restore it again to you. W HEN God is visiting your iniquities with rods,
and pleading 'a controversy with you for your omissions and slackness in duty, he expects that you will return from your backslidings, and set about a serious reformation and change of life, Hosea v. 15. “ I will go, and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face ; in their affliction they will seek me early." See then that you open your ear to discipline: study to answer God's call and expectation, and in bis strength resolve to enter upon a new life.
Surely now it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement. I will not offend any more.
That which I see not, teach thou me: If I have done iniquity, I will do so no more,” Job xxxiv. 31, 32. Now is the season, you should say with E. phraim, Hos. xiv. 8. * What have I to do any more with idols ??
Having duly examined yourselves, and searched out your sins, you ought to put a bill of divorce into each of their hands. Deliberately resolve against all your sins, whether secret or open; and especially resolve against your darling and beloved sins, those sins which do most easily beset you. Resolve also against all temptations to sin, and particularly against the snares of bad company, whereby you have been formerly enticed'; say now with David, Psal. cxix. 115. « Depart from me, ye evil-doers : for I will keep the commandments of my God."
You must not only purpose to forsake all sin, but also to mind every known duty: That you will make religion your one thing needful; the pleasing of God, the chief business of your life; that you will set the Lord always before you,
heart in all duties, aim at nearness and