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the love of God in any but those that hear the ligion with human additions and innovations, gospel, and believe in him, then no such persons the great danger of these corruptions is, lest can be saved by their religion. For Christ is they draw them from the sound belief and serithe way to the Father, and no man comes to the ous practice of that ancient Christianity which Father but by him; and the love of God is ab- we are all agreed in: among Papists, or any solutely and of itself necessary to salvation ; and other sect, where their corruptions do not thus faith in Christ is so far necessary to salvation, as corrupt their faith and practice in the true esit is necessary to bring men to the love of God, sentials, it is certain that those corruptions shall as pardoning sin and reconciled to them. not damn them. For he that truly believes all
But if any should ever so confidently con- things that are essential to Christianity, and clude, that some that hear not of Christ may be lives accordingly with serious diligence, hath the saved, yet he must needs confess that the want promise of salvation: and it is certain, that whatof this clear and great discovery of the love and ever error that man holds, it is either not inconsisgoodness of God in his pardoning grace, and of tent with true Christianity, or not practically, but the glorious life which he hath prepared for us, notionally held, and so not inconsistent as held by must needs make the love of God a very rare him: for how can that be inconsistent which acand difficult thing, and consequently their salva- tually doth consist with it? tion rare and difficult, in comparison of ours. If a Papist or any other sectarian seriously
The Christian faith is the believing an ever- love God, and his brother, and set his heart lasting life of happiness to be offered by God, upon the life to come, give up himself to the with the pardon of all sin, as procured by the merits and grace of Jesus Christ, and the sancsufferings and merits of Jesus Christ, to all that tification of the Holy Spirit, to be fitted for that are sanctified by the Holy Ghost, persevere in glory, lives by faith above the world, mortifies love to God, and to each other, and in a holy the desires of the flesh, and lives wilfully in no and heavenly conversation. This is saving faith known sin, but presses after further degrees of and Christianity, if we consent as well as assent. holiness, I doubt not of the salvation of that All that was necessary to salvation to be be- person; no more than of the life of him that lieved, was formerly thought to be contained in hath taken poison but into his mouth and spit it the creed, and that was the test or symbol of the out again, or let down so little as nature and anChristian faith; and the Christian religion is the tidotes do expel : but I will not therefore plead same, hath the same rule, test, and symbol in all for poison, nor take it, because men may live ages. But since faction and tyranny, pride and that thus take it. covetousness, became the matters of the religion Having answered this great question, reader, of too many, vice and selfish interest hath com- | I am now come up to the subject of my followmanded them to change the rule of faith by their ing discourse, and to tell thee that though it be additions, and to make so much necessary to a great question whether serious diligence in a salvation, as is necessary to their affected uni- corrupt religion will save a man, it is past all versal dominion, and to their carnal ends. And question, and agreed on by all sides, that no resince faction entered, and hath torn the church ligion will save a man who is not serious, sininto
many sects (the Greek, Roman, Armenian, cere, and diligent in it. If thou be of the truest Jacobites, Abassine, and many more) it seems religion in the world, and are not true thyself meet to the more tyrannical sect to call these to that religion, the religion is good, but it is several religions, and to say that every man that none of thine. Objectively thou art of a true differs from them in any of their opinions or and good religion, the things in themselves are additions, which they please to call articles of true and good, but subjectively thou art sincerely faith, is of another religion.
of no religion at all; for if thou art not serious, If the word religion be taken in this sense, hearty and diligent in it, it is certain that thou and if all that agree in one Christian religion, dost not truly entertain it, and make it thine ; are said to be of as many religions, as different but it is thy books that have the true religion, opinions, in points that some call necessary, then or thy tongue, or fantasy, or brain, but not thy I answer the question thus: He is the true ca- heart: and the best meat on thy table, or that tholic Christian that hath but one, even the goes no further than thy mouth, will never feed Christian religion: and this is the case of the thee, or preserve thy life. So certain is the salProtestants, who, casting off the additions of vation of every holy mortified Christian, and so popery, adhere to the primitive simplicity and certain the damnation of every ungodly, worldly, unity: if Papists, or any others, corrupt this re-fleshly sensualist, that I had a thousand-fold
rather have my soul in the case of any secta- 1 to God, as any part of my felicity, and I renounce rian, that lives a truly heavenly life, in the love them to men. Let them do with me about these of God and man, and in a serious, diligent obe- things as God will give them leave. I will have dience to God, according to his knowledge, than a portion after death, or I will have none. in the case of a Protestant, or whomsoever you The case is so palpable, that it seems wonderful can imagine to be right in his opinions, that is to me that the contrary deceit is consistent with worldly, sensual, and a stranger, if not an enemy, the nature and reason of a man; that so many to the power and serious practice of his own gentlemen, scholars, and persons of an ingenuous professed religion, and void of a holy and heavenly education, can no better distinguish, and can heart and life. If ever such a man be saved, the possibly conquer their reason so easily with the principles of all religion* deceive us.
presence of sensual delights, and so easily make Certainly such men's hypocrisy doth aggra- nothing of that which will be to-morrow and for vate their sin, and will increase their misery. ever, merely because it is not to-day. Well, I So many as there are in the world that profess must say, the wisdom and justice of God is themselves Christians, and yet are not serious and abundantly seen in the government of the world diligent in their religion, but are ungodly ne- with the liberty of the will, and determining that glecters or enemies of a holy life, so many hypo- all men should speed as they choose. crites are in the world. I wonder that their consciences call them not hypocrites when they stand up at the creed, or profess themselves believers; though the congregation sees not hypocrite' written in their foreheads, God sees it written on their hearts, and those that converse with them
TREATISE. may see it written in their lives. Yet these men are the most forward to cry out against hypocrites. The devil hath taught it them to stop the suspi- “ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with cion of conscience, as he hath taught the greatest thy might : for there is no work, nor device, schismatics, or church-dividers, the papists, to nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whicry out most against schism and division, and ther thou goest.”—EccLEs. ix. 10. pretend to unity. But these shifts blind none but fools and forsaken consciences; and the cheat that is now detected by the wise, will quickly by The mortality of man being the principal subGod be detected before all the world. Till then ject of Solomon in this chapter, and observing let them make merry in their deceits: who would that wisdom and piety exempt not men from envy the drunkard the pleasure of an hour's sickly death, he first hence infers, that God's love or delight? This is their portion, and this is their hatred to one man above another, is not to be time. As we have chosen and covenanted for gathered by his dealing with them here, where another portion, we are content to stay the time all things in the common course of providence assigned, till God shall tell them and all the world come alike to all. The common sin hath inwho was sincere, and who the hypocrite. For troduced death as a common punishment, which our parts, we believe that he is most or least levels all, and ends all the contrivances, busisincere, that is most or least serious in the practice nesses, and enjoyments of this life, to good and of his own professed religion.
bad ; and the discriminatiug justice is not ordiFor my part, I must profess that, by the mercy narily manifested here: an epicure or infidel of God, I have made it the work of many a year, would think Solomon were here pleading their nunto look about me, and think wherein the felicity manly, impious cause: but it is not the cessation of man doth indeed consist : I have long been of the life, or operations, or enjoyments of the past doubt, as much as I am that I am a man, that soul that he is speaking of, as if there were do it is not in transitory, sensual delights, and that life to come, or the soul of man were not inthese are such lean, dry commodities, and pitiful mortal; but it is the cessation of all the actions, pleasures, leaving men so speedily in a forlorn honours, and pleasures of this life, which to state, that I am contented that my greatest enemy good or bad shall be no more. Here they have • have my part of them. I have renounced them no more reward, the memory of them will be
here forgotten. · They have no more a portion By "religion" here the anthor seems to mean profession or denomination. There may be a plurality of systems of superstition ;
for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.' but there is but one religion that God himself has given, contained in the inspired volume.- Ed.
From hence he further infers, that the comforts
of life are but short and transitory, and therefore We are now but set to school to learn the work that what the creature can afford, must be pre- that we must do for ever. This is the time of sently taken : and as the wicked shall have no our apprenticeship; we are learning the trade more but present pleasures, so the faithful may that we must live upon in heaven. We run take their lawful comforts in the present moderate now, that we may then receive the crown; we use of creatures ; for if their delightful good- fight now, that we may then triumph in victory. ness be of right and use to any, it is to them: The grave hath no work, but heaven hath work and therefore though they may not use them to and hell hath suffering: there is no “repentance their hurt, to the pampering of their flesh, unto life' hereafter: but there is repentance unto strengthening their lusts, and hindering spiritual torment, and to desperation. There is no beduties, benefits, and salvation, yet must they lieving of a happiness unseen in order to the observe the Lord with joyfulness, and with glad- taining of it; or of a misery unseen in order to ness of heart, for the abundance of all things the escaping of it; nor believing in a Saviour in which he gives them.'
order to these ends: but there is the fruition of Next he infers, from the brevity of man's life, the happiness which was here believed; and the necessity of speed and diligence in his duty feeling of the misery that men would not beThis is in the words of my text: where you lieve; and suffering from him as a righteous have, First, The duty commanded. Second, The judge, whom they rejected as a merciful Sareason or motive to enforce it.
viour. So that it is not all work that ceases at The duty is in the first part, “whatsoever thy our death: but only the work of this present hand findeth to do,' that is, whatever work is as- life. signed thee by God to do in this thy transitory Indeed no reason can show us the least prolife, do it with thy might,' that is, First, Speed-bability of doing our work when our time is ily, without delay. Second, Diligently; and as done, that was given us to do it in. If it can well as thou art able, and not with slothfulness, be done, it must be, First, By the recalling of or by halves.
our time. Second, By the return of life. Third, The motive is in the latter part; “for there is Or by opportunity in another life: but there is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom no hope of any of these. in the grave, whither thou goest,' that is, it must 1. Who knows not that time cannot be rebe now or never : the grave, where thy work called ? That which once was, will be no more. cannot be done, will quickly end thy opportuni- Yesterday will never come again. To-day is ties. The Chaldee paraphrase appropriates the passing, and will not return. You may work sense too narrowly to works of charity, or alms; while it is day; but when you have lost that whatsoever good and alms-giving thou findest day, it will not return for you to work in. While to do. And the moving reason they read ac- your candle burns, you may make use of its cordingly ‘for nothing but thy works of righte- light, but when it is done, it is too late to use it. ousness and mercy follow thee.' But the words No force of medicine, no orator's elegant perare more general, and the sense is obvious, con- suasions, no worldling's wealth, no prince's power, tained in these two propositions.
can call back one day or hour of time. If they Doct. I. The work of this life cannot be could, what endeavours would there be used, when lone, when this life is ended. Or, there is no extremity hath taught them to value what they working in the grave, to which we are all mak- now despise; what murmurings would there be ing haste.
at last, if time could be purchased for any thing Doct. II. Therefore while we have time, we that man can give! Then mise
would bring must do our best: or do the work of this present out their wealth and say, All this will I give for life with vigour and diligence.
one day's time of repentance more: lords and It is from an unquestionable and commonly knights would lay down their honours, and say, acknowledged truth, that Solomon here urges us Take all, and let us be the basest beggars, if we to diligence in duty; and therefore to prove it may but have one year of the time that we miswould be but loss of time. As there are two spent! Then kings would lay down their crowns worlds for man to live in, and so two lives for and say, Let us be equal with the lowest subjects, man to live, so each of these lives hath its pecu- so we may but have the time again that we wasted liar employment. This is the life of prepara- in the cares and pleasures of the world. Kingtion: the next is the life of our reward or pun- doms would then seem a contemptible price for ishment: we are now but in the womb of eter- the recovery of time. The time that is now nity, and must live hereafter in the open world. I idled and talked away; the time that is now
feasted and complimented away, that is unne- you may hear, read, learn, and pray; but when cessarily sported and slept away; that is wickedly this life is ended, it shall be so no more. You and presumptuously sinned away; how precious shall rise from the dead indeed to judgment, and will it one day seem to all! How happy a bar- to the life that now you are preparing for; but gain would they think that they had made, if at never to such a life as this on earth: your life is the dearest rates they could redeem it! The as the fighting of a battle, that must be won or most profane mariner falls a praying, when he lost at once. There is no coming hither again fears his time is at an end. If importunity would to mend what is done amiss. Over-sights must then prevail, how earnestly would they pray for be presently corrected by repentance, or else they the recovery of time, that formerly derided pray- are for ever past remedy. Now if you be not truly ing, or minded it not, or mocked God with converted, you may be ; if you find that lip-service, and customary forms, and feigned carnal and miserable, you may be healed; if you words instead of praying? What a lesson would are unpardoned, you may be pardoned ; if you death teach the trifling time-despising sinners; are enemies, you may be reconciled to God; but the idle, busy, dreaming, active, ambitious, covet- when once the thread of life is cut, your opporous lovers of this world, if time could be intreated tunities are at an end. Now you may inquire to return! How passionately then would they of your friends and teachers what a poor soul roar out their requests, O that we might once must do that he may be saved, and you may resee the days of hope, means, and mercy, which ceive particular instructions and exhortations, and once we saw, and would not see! O that we Göd may bless them to the illuminating, renewhad those days to spend in penitential tears, ing, and saving of your souls; but when life is prayers, and holy preparations for an endless life, past, it will be so no more. O then, if desperate which we spent at cards, in needless recreations, souls might but return, and once more be tried in idle talk, in humouring others, on the pleasing with the means of life, what joyful tidings would of our flesh, or in the inordinate cares and busi- | it be! How welcome would the messenger be nesses of the world! O that our youthful vigour that brings it! Had hell but such an offer as might return; that our years might be renewed; this, and would any cries procure it from their that the days we spent in vanity might be re- righteous judge, O what a change would be called! That ministers might again be sent to among them! How importunately would they us publicly and privately, with the message of cry to God, O send us once again unto the grace, which we once made light of! That the earth! Once more let us see the face of mercy, sun would once more shine upon us ; that patience and hear the tenders of Christ and of salvation ! and mercy would once more reassume their work! Once more let the ministers offer us their helps, If cries or tears, or price or pains, would bring and teach in season and out of season, in public back lost-abused time, how happy were the now- and in private, and we will refuse their help and distracted, dreaming, dead-hearted, and impeni- exhortations no more: we will hate them and tent world! If it would then serve their turn to drive them away from our houses and towns no say to the vigilant believers, 'Give us of your more: once more let us have thy word, and oroil, for our lamps are gone out,' or to cry, ' Lord, dinances, and try whether we will not believe Lord, open to us,' when the door is shut, the them, and use them better than we did: once foolish would be saved as well as the wise; but more let us have the help and company of thy this is the day of salvation ; this is the ac-saints, and we will scorn them, abuse them, and cepted time. While it is called to-day, hearken, persecute them no more. O for the great inand harden not your hearts. Awake thou that valuable
mercy of such a life as once we had ! sleepest, stand
up from thy slothful, wilful death, O try us once more with such a life, and see and use the light that is afforded thee by Christ, whether we will not contemn the world, close or else the everlasting utter darkness will shortly with Christ, live as strictly, and pray as end thy time and hope.
earnestly, as those that we hated and abused for 2. As time can never be recalled, so life shall so doing! O that we might once more be adnever be here restored. • If a man die, shall he mitted into the holy assemblies, and have the live (here) again?' All the days of our appointed Lord's day to spend in the business of our salvatime we must therefore wait, in faith and dili- tion! We would plead no more against the gence, till our change shall come. One life is power and purity of the ordinances; we would appointed us on earth to dispatch the work that no more call that day a burden; nor hate them our everlasting life depends on: we shall have that spent it in works of holiness, nor plead for but one; lose that, and all is lost for ever : yet the liberty of the flesh therein.'
It makes my heart even shake within me to 3. As there is no return to earth, so is there think with what cries those damned souls would no doing this work hereafter. Heaven and hell strive with God, and how they would roar out, are for other work. If the infant be dead born,
O try us once again,' if they had but the least the open world will not revive him; that which encouragement of hope! But it will not be, it is generated, and born an animal or serpent, will must not be. They had their day, and would not, by all the influences of the heavens, or all not know it: they cannot lose their time and the powers of sun or earth, become a man. The have it. They had faithful guides, and would second and third operation presuppose the first ; not follow them: teachers they had, but would the harvest doth presuppose the seed time and not learn. The dust of their feet must witness the labour of the husbandman. It is now that against them, because their entertained obeyed you must sow, and hereafter that you must reap. message cannot witness for them. Long did It is now that you must work, and then that you Christ wait with the patient tenders of his blood must receive your wages. Is this believed and conand Spirit: his grace was long and earnestly sidered by the sleepy world? Alas, do you live as offered them, but could not be regarded and re- men that must live here no more? Do you work ceived: they cannot finally refuse a Christ, and as men that must work no more, and pray as men yet have a Christ; or refuse his mercy, and yet that must pray no more, when once the time of be saved by it. He that would have Lazarus work is ended ? What thinkest thou, poor unsent from the dead to warn his unbelieving happy sinner! will God command the sun to stand brethren on earth, no doubt would have strongly still while thou rebellest or forgettest thy work purposed himself on a reformation, if he might and him? Dost thou think he should pervert the once more have been tried: how earnestly would course of nature, and continue the spring and he have begged for such a trial, that begged so seed-time till thou hast a mind to sow; or that hard for a drop of water! But alas! Such mouths he will return the dead-born infant into the must be stopped for ever with a • Remember that womb, that it may be better formed or quickthou in thy life time receivedst thy good things.' ened ? Will he renew thy age and make thee
So that it is appointed for all men once to die, young again, and call back the hours that thou and after that the judgment. But there is no prodigally wastedst on thy lusts and idleness? return to earth again : the places of your abode, Canst thou look for this at the hand of God, employment and delight shall know you no more. when nature and scripture assure thee of the You must see these faces of your friends, and con- contrary? If not, why hast thou not yet done verse in flesh with men no more! This world, with thy beloved sins; why hast thou not yet these houses, that wealth and honour, as to any begun to live? Why sittest thou still while thy fruition, must be to you as if you had never soul is unrenewed, and all thy preparation for known them. You must assemble here but a death and judgment is yet to make ? How little while ; yet a little longer, and we must fondly would Satan find thee thus at death ; preach, and you must hear it no more for ever. how anxiously would he have leave to blow out That therefore which you will do, must presently thy candle, before thou hast entered into the be done, or it will be too late. If ever you will way of life? Dost thou look to have preachers repent and believe, it must be now. If ever you sent after thee, to bring thee the mercy which will be converted and sanctified, it must be now. thy contempt here left behind ? Wilt thou hear If ever you will be pardoned and reconciled to and be converted in the grave and hell; or wilt God, it must be now. If ever you will reign, it is thou be saved without holiness ; that is, in spite now that you must fight and conquer. O that you of God, that hath resolved it shall not be. 0 were wise, that you understood this, and that you ye sons of sleep, of death, of darkness, awake, would consider your latter end ; that you would live, and hear the Lord, before the grave and let those words sink down into your hearts, hell have shut their mouths upon you! Hear which came from the heart of the Redeemer, as now, lest hearing be too late ; hear now if you was witnessed by his tears. • If thou hadst will ever hear ; hear now if you have ears to known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the hear. And 0 ye sons of light, that see what things which belong unto thy peace. But now sleeping sinners see not, call to them, and ring they are hidden from thine eyes ;' and that these them such a peal of lamentations, tears and warnings may not be the less regarded, because compassionate intreaties, as is suited to such a you have so often heard them, when often hear dead and doleful state; who knows but God ing increases your obligation, and diminishes not may bless it to awake them ? the truth, or your danger.
If any of you be so far awakened, as to ask