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be; and that thereby they might be reformed and effectually changed, that so they might experience the work of a new creation in Christ Jesus upon their souls, • That they might be (as the apostle speaks) the workmanship of God, created in Cbrist Jesus unto good works, that they might walk in them. Let every.one consider and be sensible, that we are saved by grace through faith, but not of ourselves, it is the free gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. This is that we own and prefer to all our works, even the love and favour of God, and his grace that bath appeared in Christ Jesus unto all men, that through the mighty w •rking of his spirit, we might be made sensible of the lovr and good will of God towards men, that would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; he desires not that any should perish, but that they might repent, return and live, and put away the evil of their doings from before his eyes, and cease to do evil, and learn to do well; then follows that sweet and melting invitation, Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' Friends, and friendly people, I pray God that all may wait upon the Lord for this end, that you may all feel and know the carrying on the work of God where it is begun, and be true followers of the Lord tbrough the work of regeneration; that where it is begun, none may faint in their minds because of temptation, and because of opposition; or because of the trials of divers kinds that they may meet withal; but let all have an eye to the Lord, and look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith ; look upon him on whom help is laid, upon whom the burden of all our iniqui. ties was laid ; he upon whom help is laid is mighty, mighty to save : Him hath God highly exalted to
be a prince and Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins. But how doth he give repentance ? some may say. We can speak by experience some of us, and declare that he hath given us repentance by shewing us, by his light, the evil of our ways; by discovering to us the nature of sin, how exceeding sinful it is; how offensive to God; how injurious to our own souls; and what a grief to his own Spirit ; and by bringing us to feel the burden of it, and the load and heavy pressure of our iniquities that we had committed, that we might be humbled under a sense of them; and this sense he gave unto us by his love and grace, and the powerful operation of his good Spirit in our inward parts, that we might come to know godly sorrow that worketh repentance never to be repented of; that hereupon we might receive remission of sins, which our Lord Jesus Christ will give to all them that are truly penitent, and turn from the evil of their ways and doings, and turn to the Lord with all their hearts. So my Friends, grace waits, mercy waits, and the loving kindness of the Lord waits, and he will afford it, and vouchsafe it to us, if we will but inind to be fitted and prepared for it; if we will cease to do evil, and learn to do well, and incline our ear to the Lord, and hearken to his voice, and obey his truth. Therefore, my friends, let none dally and grow careless and secure, nor have a slight frame of indifferency of mind, but come and take up a full resolution, through the grace of God, to cleave unto him, seeing he bath made known his way, his light and truth (thou canst say) to me in some measure; therefore with his belp I will obey it, that I may grow in it, and partake of the nature of it, and be a witness for God in life and conversation, and not in words only. A true minister, a true and faithful witness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of his power and coming, must be a witness, and an exam.
sering and u an ex.Harity, and to thou shall bq
ple both in doctrine and conversation among besievers, and towards all people; and therefore the Apostle Paul speaks to Timothy, as a gospel minister, 2 Tim. iv. 1, 2, 'I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing, and his kingdom, preach the word, be instant in season, and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine. Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Take heed unto thyself, and to thy doctrine; continue in them, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. O my Friends, we have known, since the Lord hath visited us, those among us that he hath honoured to be useful and effectual instruments in His hand, for the convincing, converting, and edifying of others, that they must live as they profess. They that profess the truth, profess the name of the Lord, profess christianity in the power of it; they must bave a care to live in it. I bless God he hath made me, and many more, sensible of such a concern upon our spirits, to live in that uprightness, integrity, innocence, meekness, and humility, and patience, with longsuffering, which the Lord requireth of us, that we may be preserved, that so the presence of the Lord may be continued with us. I remember with what holy fervency the royal prophet prayeth upon this account, Psal. li. 6, 7, 10, 11, 12. Behold thou desirest truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom; purge me with hysop, and I shall be clean ; wash me, and · I shall be whiter than snow; create in me a clear heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me; restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit ; then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners
shall be converted unto thee.' These are qualifications and endowments that do appertain to a true witness for God in the world; he hath raised up powerful, living and effectual instruments in many ages, that have had a regard to purity of heart, and cunstancy, and perseverance in well-doing, and an heavenly conversation to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, and who are zealous to promote the honour of bis excellent name and truth. I pray God, that all among us may be under such an inward and deep concern for our iminortal souls, as to see that all is well at home, that we may experience a sanctifying work, a purifying work upon our hearts, that we may be fit vessels to enjoy and possess that beavenly treasure that the Lord hath given us, and not only to us, but to all them that love and fear him, and desire to be kept near unto him, and feel a sense of his living presence, wherein is life and joy for ever and ever. So God Almighty that hath begun his work, carry it on, and make it prosper on the souls of his people, that they may be serious and solemn, and diligent in serving him, and wait upon the Lord all the days of their appointed time, until their change come..
My Friends, I could say many things, but the time would fail me to mention what the Lord hath opened to me; I hope the Lord will be pleased to give me further opportunity. Let every man that hath received a gift to profit withal, speak as becomes the oracles of God. This hath been the de. sire of the faithful ministers of Christ, to wait upon the divine oracle, the word of God, that as testimonies sprung up from them, they might be faithful in giving them forth, that they might truly and faithfully testify to the words of life, whether it be in a greater or lesser measure. We are not our own, we cannot contrive for ourselves, we are to be in subjection to God, and live in a holy resignation to his wisdom and will, and have our minds stayed upon