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sticks between the womb and the world, it is dangerous, it hazards the life both of mother and child; so when a sinner rests in conviction, and goes no farther, but sticks in the place of the breaking forth of children; this is very dangerous, and hazards the life of the soul.

You that are at any time under convictions, O take heed of resting in them, do not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children ; though it is true, that conviction is the first step to conversion, yet it is not conversion ; a man may carry his convictions along with him into hell.

What is that which troubleth poor creatures, when they come to die, but this-I have not improved my convictions ; at such a time I was convinced of sin, but yet I went on in sin in the face of my convictions ; in such a sermon I was convinced of such a du. ty, but I slighted the conviction ; I was convinced of my want of Christ, and of the readiness of Christ to pardon and save : but, alas ! I followed not the conviction.

My brethren, remember this ; slighted convictions are the worst death bed companions. There are two things especially, which above all others, make a death bed very uncomfortable :

1, “ Purposes and promises not performed. 2. Convictions slighted and not improved ?"

When a man takes up purposes to close with Christ, and yet puts them not into exe

cution : and when he is convinced of sin and duty, and yet improves not his convictions : O this will sting and wound at last.

Now therefore, hath the spirit of the Lord been at work in your souls ? Have you ever been convinced of the evil of sin, of the misery of a natural state, of the insufficiency of all things under heaven to help, of the fullness and righteousness of Jesus Christ, of the necessity of resting upon him for pardon and peace, for sanctification and salvation ? Have you ever been really convinced of these things ? O then, as you love your own souls, as ever you hope to be saved at last, and enjoy God for ever, improye these convictions, and be sure you rest not in them till they rise up to a thorough close with the Lord Jesus Christ, and so end in a sound and perfect conversion. Thus shall you be not only almost, but altogether a christian.

FINIS

T 24

PAGE
The scope of the chapter

19
The coherence of the text,

20
The sense and meaning of the words,

21
The doctrine propounded,

24
Two wings arise from it of serious meditation, 25
Three things are premised,

26
First, There is nothing in this doctrine should be

matter of stumbling or discouragement to weak
christians,

26
There is great use of such doctrine as this is,

26
1. To make them look to their standing,

26
2. It helps to raise their admiration of distinguishing
love,

26
3. It incites to that excellent duty of heart-search-
ing,

27
4. It engages the soul to double diligence,

27
Secondly it is premised, though many go far in the

way to heaven, and yet fall short; yet that soul
that hath the least true grace shall never fall
short,

27
Thirdly, They that can bear such truths as this, with-

out serious reflections, and self-examination, may
suspect the goodness of their condition,

28
The doctrine re-assumed and demoustrated by scrip-
ture evidence,

29
1. By the example of the young man in the gospel, 29
2. Proof from the parable of the virgins,

30
3. The demonstration from Isaiah lviii. 2.

33
The text opened,

37
For the more distinct prosecution of the point, is

shewed,
Quest. 1. How far a man may go in the way to heav-

en, and yet be but almost a Christian ; this shewn
in twenty several steps,

37
First. A man may have much knowledge and yet be
but almost a Christian,

37
Object. But is it not said, This is life eternal, to

know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom
thou bast sent? Answered

38

37

44

Secondly, A man may have great and aminent

gifts ; yea, spiritual, and yet be but almost a
christian,

40
1. Gifts from the common work of the Spirit,
2. Gifts for the use and good of others,

41
3. It is beyond the power of the greatest gifts to
change the heart,

43
4. Many have gone laden with gifts to hell,

43
Three things must be done for us if ever we avoid

perishing,
5. Gifts may decay and perish,

44
Object. But doth not the apostle bid us covet after
the best gifts ? Why covet them earnestly,

if
they avail not to salvation ? Answered,

45
Thirdly, A man may have a high profession of reli-

gion, be much in external duties of godliness,
and yet be but almost a christian,

46
1. A man may profess religion, and yet never have
his heart changed,

43
2. A man may profess religion, and live in a form of
godliness.

48
3. Custom and fashion may create a man a professor, 49
4. Many may perish under a profession of godliness, 51
Object. But is it not said, He that confesseth me be-

fore men, him will I confess before my Father
which is in Heaven ? Answered,

52
Fourthly, A man may go far in opposing his sin, and
yet be but almost a christian,

53
1. A man may be convinced of sin, and yet be but
almost a christian,

53
2. A man may mourn for sin,

54
Ohject. But doth not Christ pronounce them blessed

that mourn ? Answered,
2. It must be more for the evil that is in sin, than the
evil that comes by sin,

55
3. A man may make confession of his sin to God,

and to others, and yet be but almost a christian, 56
Object. Doth not the Apostle say, If we confess

our sins, he is merciful and just to forgive us
our sins ? Answered,

56
1. Many confess sin out of custom,
2. Many confess lesser sins,

57

54

56

3. Many confess sin in general,

57
4. Many confess sin only under extremity,

57
5. Many confess sin, but with no intent to forsake it. 58
6. A man may forsake sin, and yet be but almost a
christian,

58
Object. But is it not said, He that confesseth and

forsaketh, shall have mercy ? Answered, 59
1. Open sins may be forsaken, when secret sins are
retained,

59
2. A man may forsake sin, but not as sin,

59
8. A man may let one sin go to hold another the
faster.

59
4. A man may let all sin go, and yet a sinner still, 60
5. Sin may be left, and yet loved,

60
6, Sin may be chained, and yet the heart not chang-
ed,

60
Fifthly, a man may hate sin, and yet be but almost
a christian,

61
Objection, arising from Rom. vii. 15.

82
Answered,

62
A man may hate sin,

63
1. For the shame that attends it,

63
2. A man may hate sin more in another, than in
himself,

63
3. A man may hate one sin, as being contrary to an-
other,

63
4. Not hate sin as sin, but as contrary to his beloved

642
Sixthly, A man may make great vows and promises,

strong purposes and resolutions against sin, and
yet be but an alınost christian,

65
1. Purposes never hurt sin,

05
2. Troubles and afflictions may provoke large pur-
poses.

65
3. Purposes may be only a temptation to put off re-
pentance,

66
4. Nature unsanctified may make great purposes,

67
Seventhly, A man may maintain a strife and com-

bat against sin in himself, and yet be but almost
a christian,

68
5, A man may desire grace, and yet be but atmost a

christian,

sin,

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