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hopes, and make us lose so much of the labour | Alas! what is that to the message which we of our lives! And if all others did as some do come about to thee; what is that to the business by us, alas, how sad an employment should we that we are preaching of ? The question I ain have! and how little would it trouble us to be putting to you, is not whether you will be for silenced and laid aside! If we were sick of the this form of church-government, or for that, for ambitious, or covetous thirst, we should then a ceremony or against it; but it is, whether you say, that it is they that deny us wealth and hon- will hearken in time to God and conscience, and our that disappoint us. But if we are Chris- be as busy to provide for heaven, as ever you tians, this is not our case, but it is the thirst have been to provide for earth ; whether you will after your conversion and salvation which affects set yourselves to do the work that you are creaus : therefore it is you, even you that linger in ted and redeemed for? This is the business that your sins and delay repentance, forget your home, I am sent to call you to; what say you ; will and neglect your souls; it is you that disappoint, you do it, and do it seriously without delay; and you that occasion our affliction ; and as you shall not be able to say that I called you to much as you think you befriend us when you a party, a faction, or some opinion of my own, plead our cause against men of violence and or laid your salvation upon some doubtful conrage, that shall answer for the loss of troversy. No, sinner, thy conscience shall have our time, labour, and hope, and for the grieving no such shift for its deceit: it is godliness, seriof your teachers' hearts.
ous and practical godliness that thou art called Sinners, whatever the devil and raging pas. to. It is nothing but what all Christians in the sion may say against a holy life, God and your world, both papists, Greeks, protestants, and all own consciences shall be our witnesses, that we the parties among those that are true Christians, desired nothing unreasonable or unnecessary at are agreed in the profession of. That I may your hands. I know it is the master-piece of not leave thee in any darkness which I can dethe devil's craft, when he cannot keep all reli- liver thee from, I will tell thee distinctly, though gion in contempt, to raise up a dust of contro- succinctly, what it is that thou art thus imporversy in the world about names, forms, and cir- tuned to ; and tell me then, whether it be that cumstances in religion, that he may keep men which any Christian can make doubt of. busily striving about these, while religion itself 1. That which I intreat of thee, is but to live is neglected or unknown; and that he may make as one that verily believes there is a God, and men believe that they have some religion, be- that this God is the Creator, the Lord, and cause they are for one side or other in these con- Ruler of the world: that it is incomparably more troversies ; especially that he may entice men of our business to understand and obey his laws, to number the substantials of religion itself and as faithful subjects to be conformed to them, among these lesser doubtful points, and make than to observe or be conformed to the laws of sinners believe that it is but the precise opinion man : to live as men that believe, that this God of one party that they reject, while they reject is almighty, and that the greatest of men are the serious practice of all true religion. So the less than worms to him ; that he is infinitely devil gets more by these petty quarrels and con- wise, and the wisdom of man is foolishness to troversies, occasioned by contentious empty men, him; that he is infinitely good and amiable; that than he could have done by the open opposition the best of creatures is dung in comparison of of infidels, heathens, or the profane: so that him; that his love is the only felicity of man ; neither I nor any man, that opinionative men that none are happy but those that do enjoy it ; have a mind to quarrel with, can tell how to ex- that none that enjoy it can be miserable; and hort you to the very practice of Christianity it that riches, honour, and fleshly delights are brutish self, but you are presently casting your thoughts vanities in comparison of the eternal love of upon some points wherein we are reported to God. Live but as men that heartily believe all differ from you, or remembering some clamours of this, and I have that I come for. Is any of this malicious men, that prejudice against the person matter of controversy or doubt? Not among of the speaker, may keep your souls from pro- Christians, I am sure ; not among wise men. It fiting salvation by the doctrine which even your is no doubt to those in heaven, nor to those in selves profess.
hell, nor to those that have not lost their underIf this be the case of any one of you, I do not standings upon earth. Live then according to mean your consciences shall so escape the power these truths. or evidence of the truth. Dost thou talk of 2. Live as men that verily believe that manour differences about forms and ceremonies ? I kind is fallen into sin and misery ; and that all men are corrupted, and under the condemnation the hearing of the word of God, and must be of the law of God, till they are delivered, par- prayed for, obeyed, and not resisted, quenched doned, reconciled to God, and made new crea- and grieved. Is there any controversy among tures by a renewing, restoring, sanctifying Christians in any of this ? Ask those that make change. Live but as men that believe that this a mock at holiness, sanctification and the Spirit, cure must be wrought, and this great restor- whether they be not baptized into the name of ing change must be made upon ourselves, if the Holy Ghost, and profess to believe in him it be not done already. Live as men that have as their sanctifier, as well as in the Son their Reso great a work to look after. Is this a matter deemer? And then ask them whether it be not of any doubt or controversy ? Surely it is not a thing that should make even a devil to tremto a Christian : and methinks it should not be ble, to come so near the blasphemy against the to any man else that knows himself, any more Holy Ghost, as to mock at his office and sanctithan to a man in a dropsy, whether he be diseas- fying work, and at the holiness without which no ed, when he feels the thirst, and sees the swell-man shall see the Lord ; and this after they are ing. Did you but know what cures and changes baptized and profess to believe in the Holy Ghost are necessarily to be made upon your diseased, as their sanctifier. miserable souls, if you care what becomes of 5. Live but as men that believe that sin is the them, you would soon see cause to look about greatest evil, the thing which the Holy God abyou.
hors. And then you will never make a mock 3. Live but as men that verily believe that of it, as Solomon saith the foolish do, nor say, you are redeemed by the Son of God, who hath what harm is in it. suffered for your sins, and brought you the tid- 6. Live but as men that believe no sin is parings of pardon and salvation, which you may doned without repentance: and that repentance have if you will give up yourselves to him who is the lothing and forsaking of sin ; and that if is the physician of souls, to be healed by him : it be true, it will not suffer you to live wilfully live as men that believe that the infinite love of in any gross sin, nor to desire to keep the least God, revealed to lost mankind in the Redeemer, infirmity, nor to be loth to know your unknown doth bind us to love him with all our hearts, sins. serve him with all our restored faculties, and 7. Live as those that believe that you are to to work as those that have the greatest thank- be members of the holy catholic church, and fulness to show, as well as the greatest mercies therein to hold the communion of saints. Then to receive, and misery to escape ; and as those you will know that it is not as a member that believe that if sinners that without Christ of any sect or party, but as a holy member of had no hope, shall now love their sins and refuse this holy church, that you must be saved ; and to leave them, to repent, or be converted, and un- that it is the name of a Christian which is more thankfully reject the mercy of salvation so dearly honourable than the name of any division or bought, and so freely offered them, their dam- subdivision among Christians, whether Greek, or nation will be doubled as their sin is doubled. Papists, or Protestant, or Prelates, or PresbyLive but as men that have such redemption to terian, or Independent, or Baptist. admire, such mercy to entertain, and such a sal- to be of any one of these parties ; but to be a vation to attain, and that are sure they can never Christian, which all pretend to, is not so easy. escape if they continue to neglect so great sal- It is easy to have a burning zeal for any
divation ; and is there any controversy among vided party or cause ; but the zeal for the ChrisChristians in any of this ? There is not, cer- tian religion is not so easy to be kindled or kept tainly.
alive; but requires as much diligence to main4. Live but as men that believe that the Holy tain it, as dividing zeal requires to quench it. Ghost is given by Jesus Christ to convert, to It is easy to love a party as a party : but to keep quicken, to sanctify all that he will save ; that up catholic charity to all Christians, and to live except you be born again of the Spirit, you shall in that holy love and converse which is requisite not enter into the kingdom of heaven; that to a communion of saints, is not so easy. Satan
if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the and corrupted nature befriend the love and zeal same is none of his,' and that without this no of faction, which is confined to a party on a conpatching or mending of your lives by any com- troverted cause ; but they are enemies to the mon principles, will serve the purpose for your love of saints, to the zeal for holiness, and salvation, or make you acceptable to God. Live to the catholic charity which is from the spirit as men that believe that this Spirit is given by 1 of Christ. You see I call you not to division,
It is easy
nor to side with sects; but to live as members i left undone must be undone for ever! Alas, of a holy catholic church, which consists of all how many questions of exceeding weight have that are holy in the world; and to live as those you yet to be resolved in ; whether you are that believe the communion of saints.
truly sanctified; whether your sins be pardoned; 8. Live as those that believe that there is a life whether you shall be saved when you die; wheeverlasting, where the sanctified shall live in end ther you are ready to leave this world, and enless joy, and the unsanctified in endless punishment ter upon another? I tell you, the answering of and woe: live but as men that verily believe a hea- these, and many more such questions, is a matter ven, a hell, and a day of judgment, in which all the of no small difficulty or concern. And all these actions of this life must be revised, and all men must be done in this little and uncertain time. judged to their endless state. Believe these things It must be now or never. Live but as men that heartily, and then think a holy diligence need believe and consider these certain, unquestionless if you can: then be of the mind of the de- able things. riders and enemies of godliness if you can! If 10. Lastly, Will you but live as men that beone sight of heaven or hell would serve, without lieve that the world and the flesh are the deadly any more ado, instead of other arguments, to enemies of your salvation : that believe that confute all the cavils of the distracted world, if any man love the world, the love of the Father and to justify the most diligent saints in the is not in him. As men that believe, that “if ye judgment of those that now abhor them, why live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if, by the should not a sound belief of the same thing in Spirit, ye mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall its measure do the same ?
live ;' that those who are in Christ Jesus, and are 9. Live but as those that believe this life is freed from condemnation, are such as walk not given us as the only time to make preparation after the flesh, but after the Spirit. That we for eternal life, and that all ever shall be done for must make no provision for the flesh to satisfy your salvation must be now, just now, before your the will or lusts thereof; we must not walk in time is ended. Live as those that know, and need gluttony and drunkenness, in chambering and not faith to tell them, that this time is short and wantonness, in strife and envying, but must almost at an end already, and stays for no man, have hearts where our treasure is, and our conbut as a post doth haste away. It will not stay verse in heaven, that being risen with Christ, while you are trimming you, or sporting you : we must seek the things that are above, set our it will not stay while you are taking up the stage - affections on them, and not on the things that plays, in compliments, in idle visits, or any im- are on the earth. pertinent, needless things: it will not tarry while
of this is our singular you spend yet the other year, or month, or day, opinion, or matter of controversy and doubt ; in your worldliness, or ambition, or in your lusts are not all Christians agreed in it; do you not, and sensual delights, and put off your repentance your own selves profess that you believe it? to another time. For the Lord's sake, do but Live then but as those that believe it, and conlive as men that must shortly be buried in the demn not yourselves in the things that you congrave, and their souls appear before the Lord, less ? and as men that have but this little time to do I tell thee, if now thou wilt refuse to live acall for their everlasting life, that ever must be cording to these common acknowledged truths, done. Live as men that are sure to die, and thou shalt never be able to say before the Lord, are not sure to live till morrow : and let not the that men's controversy about a ceremony, or noise of pleasure or worldly business, or the church government, or the manner of worship, chat or scorns of miserable fools, bear down your were the things that hindered thee. But all reason, and make you live as if you knew not what sorts and sects shall be witnesses against thee, you know, or as if there were any doubt about and condemn thee; for they are all agreed in these things. Who is the man, and what is his these things ; even the bloodiest sects, that imname, that dares contradict them, and can make prison, torment, and kill others for their differit good? Do not sin against your knowledge : ences in smaller matters, are yet agreed, with do not stand still and see your glass running, those that they persecute and murder, about and time making such haste, yet make no more these things: papists are agreed in them, and haste yourselves, than if you were not concerned protestants are agreed in them: all the sects that in it: do not, O do not slumber, when time and are now quarreling among us, and in the world, judgment never slumber, nor sit still when you are agreed in them, who are but meet for the have so much to do, and know all that is now name of Christians. All these will be ready to
Will you say
bear witness against the profane, the sensual, the works of darkness, nor be companions with them, slothful neglecter of God and his salvation, and but reprove them, and mourn for the unclean and to say, we all confessed, notwithstanding our wicked conversation of the world. This is it other differences, that all these things were cer- that we intreat of you; is there any matter of tain truths, and that men's lives should be or- controversy in all this? dered according unto these.
6. Another part of the work which we call you But if yet you pretend controversy to cover to, is, to redeem this little time that is allotted your malignity or ungodliness, I will go a little you: to make the best of it, and improve it to further, and tell you that in the matter, as well the greatest furtherance of your salvation : to as in the principles, it is things that we are all lose none of it upon unprofitable things: to spend agreed in, which I call you to, and which the it in those works which will comfort you most ungodly do refuse: I will briefly name them. when time is gone. If it will be more comfort
1. One part of your work which we urge you able to you in the day of judgment, that you to do with all your might, is seriously and soberly have spent your time in plays, sports, idleness, to consider often of all these truths before men- worldly cares, and pleasures, than in serving God, tioned, which you say you believe: is it any and preparing for another life, then hold on, and controversy with reasonable men whether they do so to the end: but if it will not, then do what should use their reason ; or with believers, whe- you would hear of, seeing you inust hear of it: ther they should consider and lay to heart the spend none of your time in idleness and unfruitweight and use of the things which they believe? ful things, till you have no better and more ne
2. Another part of your work, is to love God cessary things to spend it in, and till you have with all your soul and might ; to make him your time to spare from more important work. Tbis delight, to seek first his kingdom, and the righte. is our request to you, that you would not lose ousness thereof; to set your affections on the one hour of your precious time, but spend it as things above, and to live on earth as the heirs of those that have lost too much, and have but a heaven: is there any controversy among protes- little more to spend in preparation for eternity. tants, papists, or any, about this?
Is this any schismatical or factious notion ? Is 3. Another part of your work is, to see the there any thing controvertible, or which any honouring of God in the world, the promoting Christian can speak against, in any of this? of his kingdom and government in yourselves 7. Another part of your work is, to search the and others, the doing of his will, and the obeying scriptures, as that which contains your directions of his laws: is there any controversy in this? for eternal life. To love the word of God more
4. Another part of your work is, to mortify than thousands of gold and silver, and prefer it the flesh, reject its conceits, desires, and lusts, before your necessary food, to meditate on it day which resist the aforesaid obedience to God; and night, as that which is your pleasure and and to cast out the inordinate love and care of delight; and as that which is able to make you worldly things: to refuse the counsels, the com- wise unto salvation, to build you up, and give you mands, the will, the enticements and persuasions an inheritance among the sanctified. That you of men, which contradict the commands and lay up the word of God in your hearts, teach will of God; to forsake all that you have in the them diligently to your children, talk of them world rather than forsake your dear Redeemer, when you sit in your houses, when you walk by and hazard your salvation by any wilful sin : to the way, when you lie down and when you take up your cross and follow Christ through a rise up, that so you and your households may life of suffering to glory. I know there is diffi- serve the Lord. This is the work that we call culty enough in all this, and that flesh will repine you to: is there any thing that a Christian can against it and abhor it: but is there any contro- make a controversy of in all this? Is there any versy about it among any true believers ? Is thing here that protestants are not agreed in? not all this the express command of God, and 8. Another part of your work is, that you guard necessary to salvation ?
your tongues, take not the name of God in vain, 5. Another part of your work is to avoid and speak no reproaches or slanders against your temptations, and fly from the occasions and ap- brethren; “that no corrupt communication propearances of evil; not only to avoid that which I ceed out of your mouths, but that which is good is directly evil itself, but that also which would to the use of edifying, and that it may minister draw you into evil, as far as you can, to keep as grace unto the hearers ;—that fornication, unfar as may be from the brink of hell and danger, cleanness, and covetousness be not once named and to have no fellowship with the unfruitful I among you, as becometh saints ; neither filthi
Is there any
ness nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are of your impiety. Will you also, in the manner not convenient, but rather giving of thanks.' of your obedience, but go so far as all Christians Is there any thing of doubt or controversy in are agreed in? I will briefly then give you some this?
particular instances. 9. Another part of the work which we per- 1. The work of God must be done with reversuade you to, is to pray continually, and not ence, in his fear; not like the common works to wax faint, to be fervent and importunate of men, with a common, careless frame of mind, with God, as those that know the greatness God will be sanctified of all that draw near of their necessity, that you pray with all prayer him,' he will be served as God, and not as man: and supplication in the Spirit, and in every thing, he will not be prayed to with a regardless mind, by prayer and supplication, to make known your as those do that can divide their tongues from requests unto God; that you pray for kings their hearts, and say over some customary words and all in authority, that we may lead a quiet while they think of something else. It is a dreadand peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.' ful thing for dust to speak to God Almighty : Is there any thing in all this that any Christian and a dangerous thing to speak to him as slightly can deny ?
and regardlessly, as if we were talking to one 10. Lastly, the work we call you to is, “to of our companions. It beseems a believer to love your neighbour as yourselves, and to do to have more of the fear of God upon his heart, in others, as you would have them do to you.' To his ordinary converse in the world, than hyposcorn, deride, molest, imprison, slander, or hurt crites and formalists have in their most solemn no man, till you would be so used yourselves on prayers. Knowest thou the difference between the like occasion ; to rejoice in other men's God and man? Put then such a difference beprofit and reputation as your own; to envy tween God and man in thy addresses, as his none, to hate no man, to wrong none in their majesty requires. And see also that thy family persons, estates, or names ; to preserve the chas-compose themselves to a reverent behaviour, tity, honour, and estate of your neighbour as when they join with thee in the worshipping of your own; to love your enemies, forgive them God. What have you to say now against this that wrong, pray for them that hate, hurt, and reverent manner of behaviour ? persecute you. This is your work : and is there think controvertible in this ? any thing of faction, schism, or controversy in 2. It is also requisite that you be serious and this ? No, you shall shortly be convinced, that sober in all the service you perform to God. Do the differences and controversies of believers, it not ludicrously, and with half a heart. Be and the many opinions about religion, were a as much more fervent and serious in seeking wretched hypocritical pretence for your neglect God and your salvation, than you are in seeking and contempt of the substance of religion, about worldly things, as God and your salvation is which there was no difference, but all parties better than any thing in the world : or if that were agreed in the confession of the truth, how be beyond your reach, though else there is reaever hypocrites would not live according to their son for it, at least let the greatest things have own professions.
the greatest power upon your hearts. You canBut perhaps you will say, that there is such not pray more fervently for heaven than heaven difference in the manner yet among them that deserves. O let but the excellency and greatagree in the principles and the matter, thatness of your work appear in the serious manner you know not which way God is to be wor- of your performance. I hope you cannot say that shipped.
this is any point of controversy, unless it be a I answer, first, do you practise as aforesaid, controversy whether a man should be an hypoaccording to the principles and matter agreed crite, or be serious in the religion which he proon, or not? If you do not, it is but gross hy- fesses. pocrisy to pretend disagreements in the manner, 3. It is requisite that your service of God be as an excuse for your contempt or omission of performed understandingly. God delights not in the matter, which all agree in. Forsooth, your the blind devotion of men that know not what families shall be prayerless, and you will make they do. Prayers not understood are indeed a jest of serious prayer, because some pray on no prayers : for no man's desire goes further a book, and some without, and some that are than his knowledge. And he expresses not his wisest, think that either way is lawful. Will God desires that knows not what he expresses himbe deceived by such silly reasonings as these? self. Nor can he expect the concurrence of Second, But this shall not hide the nakedness I another man's desires, that speaks what another