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so probably be rescued out of his hands, and put for ever out of his power.

2. Let me advise you to "break off every thing which is contrary to such impressions as these."

Sin will immediately appear to have been your disease and your ruin; and therefore, if ever you hope for recovery, you must resolutely break with that; not merely with this or that particular evil, but with every sin; and that only for a little while, but entirely and for ever. A mortal irreconcileable war must be declared against it. Every fleshly lust must be denied ; every immoral practice, for which your heart may at any time smite you, must be reformed; and if ever you expect to reap mercy and life, you must, as the prophet expresses it, Break up your fallow ground, and not sow among thorns*. For Righteousness has no fellowship with unrighteousness, and light no communion with darknesst. And you may be assured, that as all sin grieves the Spirit of God, and strengthens the heavy fetters which lie upon the soul; so those sins which are committed after these awakenings and convictions, have a peculiar guilt attending them, and Do greater despite to the spirit of grace ‡, in proportion to the degree in which his motions on the soul have been vigorous and warm.

3.

"Seek further knowledge," especially from the word and ordinances of God.

The influences of divine grace are not to be considered as a blind impulse; but God's spirit works on the spirit of man, as one rational being on another. The apostle therefore puts the question with great reason, How shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? And as some knowledge is the foundation on which the Spirit of God ordinarily operates in men's hearts; so in proportion to the degree in which you attain farther light into the scheme of the gospel, and of salvation by Christ, it may be expected you will be more impressed by it. The mention of this is so much the more necessary, as mistaken notions of religion often expose people, on the one hand, to great perplexities, and on the other, betray them into a false peace, which one way or another will be bitterness in the end.-Come therefore to the house of God, and attend spiritual preaching. The question is not about forms, but things. Be not therefore over scrupulous about what is merely circumstan

thou wilt in no wise cast out: Behold, I come, and cast myself at thy feet; receive me, and Put me among the childrent, though I deserve not the very Crumbs that fall from thy table‡."

You will not, I hope, imagine that when I give such advice as this, I mean to insinuate that a person purposing to continue in his sins may nevertheless come, and receive the blessings of the gospel: For that would be no other than in the grossest manner to pervert, and contradict the whole tenor of it. But this I say, and repeat it, that when once a sinner finds himself, by divine grace, disposed to turn from his sins to God, and made. willing to accept the mercy tendered in the gospel, of which a deliverance from sin, and a renovation of nature, are a great, important, and essential part; he may with cheerfulness apply himself to the great Redeemer, as one of those whom he came on purpose to deliver; and in proportion to the degree in which he can discern the sincerity of his sentiments, he may open his heart to comfort, how great soever his former unworthiness has been, and how lately soever such impressions may have been made upon his heart.

8. Make the dedication of yourselves to Christ, and his service, as solemn a thing as you can."

We read in the Acts of some that Were baptized, and publicly received into the church the very same day in which they were converted §: And though a change of circumstances may at present render it convenient to defer doing it for some time, with the solemnity of the ordinance of the Lord's supper, which is peculiarly intended for that purpose; because it is proper, that the efficacy of your repentance and conversion should first of all be so far seen, as in the judgment of charity to approve the sincerity of it: Yet I think, when you feel your hearts absolutely determined for God, you should in a solemn manner lay hold of his covenant, in secret at least, as soon as possible; and declare, as before him that searcheth all hearts, the sincerity of that acceptance. Some have recommended the doing this in a written engagement; and there are several very affecting forms of this kind in books on this subject, which may very profitably be used. But I hope the fulness of your heart will dictate something of this kind, if such helps should be wanting, or if any peculiar consideration should prevent their being used.And surely if you feel the love of the blessed Jesus glowing in your hearts as you ought, you will need no other engagement

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to yield yourselves to him: That love will be instead of ten thousand arguments; and you will see a secret charm in the view of serving him, which will engage your very soul to spring forward with vigour and eagerness to every proper instance of it. The dread of future punishment has certainly its use, to restrain from the commission of sin, especially in an hour of pressing temptation; and the hope of that exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which the gospel promises, will have a greater efficacy upon a generous mind: Yet I will venture to say, that a heart powerfully impressed with the love of Jesus will have a yet stronger influence than either of these. Cordial friendship needs not to be hired to perform its proper office. Love is a law to itself. It adds a delightful relish to every attempt for the service of its object: And it is most evidently thus in the present case. "Lord," will the christian say, "wilt thou do me the honour to accept any feeble attempt for thy service, which I can form? I thank thee for it; and bow my head before thee in the most grateful acknowledgments, that thou favourest me with an ability to discharge, in any degree, the fulness of my grateful heart in presenting them: Oh that my whole soul might daily rise before thee, as an acceptable sacrifice, in the flame of love! Oh that I might always feel My heart enlarged, to run the way of thy commandments* ! Were the degree of my future happiness from this moment invariably fixed, I would still pursue this delightful business; for there is no other, in which my soul could find a pleasure equal or comparable to it." If you feel such thoughts as these rising in your mind, breathe them out before the throne from day to day: And when you have done it, recollect frequently the Vows of God that are upon you† ; and see, that Having sworn, you perform it, and maintain in the whole of your lives a conduct agreeable to such a profession as this.

9. Gird up the loins of your mind, to encounter with a great deal of difficulty in your christian course."

Many are the difficulties that you must expect; great, and possibly for a while increasing difficulties. It is commonly said indeed, that those difficulties which attend the entrance on a religious life, are the greatest; and in themselves considered, no doubt but they are so: They arise from many quarters, and unite all together in the same design of keeping you from a believing application to Christ, and a resolute closure with him.

own reason should suggest some very obvious advantages, attending the method I propose, of opening your case freely to those, whom you think to be more experienced in these things. The impression may be revived upon your own souls, even by the account you give them: And their advice may be exceeding useful to you to guard you against the wiles of the enemy which they have known, though hitherto you are strangers to them; and to guide you into such methods, as, by the divine blessing, may farther promote that good work which seems in any measure to have been begun within you. You may also depend upon it that it will engage their prayers for you; which in this case may have great prevalency. And it will also naturally lead them to inspect your conduct; and if they see you afterwards in danger of being drawn aside, they may remind you of the hopes once entertained, and the impressions once made upon your mind.In this respect you may hope, that by Walking with wise men you will be yet wiser*: and will soon find how happy an exchange you make, when you give up your vain, and perhaps wicked companions, that you may become the Companion of them that fear God, and that keep his preceptst; and may have your Delight in them, who in the judgment of God are the excellent of the earth‡, however they may be despised and derided by men."

6. I would also advise, that you" endeavour to search out those, if there be any such about or near you, who are much in your own circumstances."

Observe, especially among young people, whether there are any that seem of late to have grown more serious than ordinary; and particularly more constant in attending the ordinances of God, and more cautious in venturing on occasions and temptations to sin: And if you can discover such, endeavour to form an acquaintance with them. Try by proper hints how far their circumstances resemble yours; and as you find encouragement, enter into a stricter friendship with them, founded on religion, and intended to promote it in each others hearts. Associate yourselves in little bands for christian converse and prayer; and by this means you will quicken, and strengthen the hearts of each other. For on the one hand, what they tell you of their own experience, will much confirm you in a persuasion that what you find in yourselves is not a mere fancy, but is really a divine work begun

+ Psal. cxix. 63.

*Prov. xiii. 20.

Psal. xvi. 3.

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to yield yourselves to him: That love will be instead of ten thousand arguments; and you will see a secret charm in the view of serving him, which will engage your very soul to spring forward with vigour and eagerness to every proper instance of it. The dread of future punishment has certainly its use, to restrain from the commission of sin, especially in an hour of pressing temptation; and the hope of that exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which the gospel promises, will have a greater efficacy upon a generous mind: Yet I will venture to say, that a heart powerfully impressed with the love of Jesus will have a yet stronger influence than either of these. Cordial friendship needs not to be hired to perform its proper office. Love is a law to itself. It adds a delightful relish to every attempt for the service of its object: And it is most evidently thus in the present case. "Lord," will the christian say, "wilt thou do me the honour to accept any feeble attempt for thy service, which I can form? I thank thee for it; and bow my head before thee in the most grateful acknowledgments, that thou favourest me with an ability to discharge, in any degree, the fulness of my grateful heart in presenting them: Oh that my whole soul might daily rise before thee, as an acceptable sacrifice, in the flame of love! Oh that I might always feel My heart enlarged, to run the way of thy commandments*! Were the degree of my future happiness from this moment invariably fixed, I would still pursue this delightful business; for there is no other, in which my soul could find a pleasure equal or comparable to it." If you feel such thoughts as these rising in your mind, breathe them out before the throne from day to day: And when you have done it, recollect frequently the Vows of God that are upon you+; and see, that Having sworn, you perform it, and maintain in the whole of your lives a conduct agreeable to such a profession as this.

9. Gird up the loins of your mind, to encounter with a great deal of difficulty in your christian course."

Many are the difficulties that you must expect; great, and possibly for a while increasing difficulties. It is commonly said indeed, that those difficulties which attend the entrance on a religious life, are the greatest; and in themselves considered, no doubt but they are so: They arise from many quarters, and unite all together in the same design of keeping you from a believing application to Christ, and a resolute closure with him.

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