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lieve Christ and his apostles, I know not whom thou wilt believe. Only let me tell thee, the time is at hand when thou wilt easily believe, and that without any preaching or arguing. When thou seest the great and terrible day, and hearest the condemning sentence passed, and art thyself thrust down to hell, then thou wilt believe, and never doubt again. Surely the devil, who dissuades thee from believing, does himself “ believe and tremble.”

And whereas thou thinkest that God is more merciful than to punish sinners so, why surely he knows best the extent of his own mercifulness. His mercy will not cross his truth. Cannot God be infinite in mercy, unless he save the wilful and rebellious ? Is a judge unmerciful for condemning malefactors? Mercy and justice have their several objects. Thousands of humble, believing, obedient souls shall know to their eternal comfort, that God is merciful, though the refusers of his grace shall lie under his justice. God will then force thy conscience to confess it in hell, that he who condemned thee was yet merciful to thee. Was it no mercy to make thee a reasonable creature, and to endure thy many years' provocations, and to wait upon thee, desiring and entreating thy repentance and return ? Was it no mercy to have the Son of God, with all his blood and merits freely offered to thee, if thou wouldst but accept him to govern and to save thee? Nay, when thou hadst neglected and refused Christ, not once, or twice only, but hundreds of times, that God should yet follow thee with invitations from day to day? Wilt thou wilfully refuse mercy to thy last hour, and then cry out that God will not be so unmerciful as to condemn thee? Thy conscience will smite thee for thy madness, and tell thee, that God was merciful in all this, though such as thou do perish for their impenitence and unbelief. Yea, the sense of the greatness of his mercy will then perhaps be a great part of thy torment.

And whereas thou thinkest the pain to be greater than the offence, that is, because thou art not a competent judge. Thou knowest what pain is, but thou knowest not the thousandth part of the evil of sin. Shall not the righteous Judge of the world do justly? Nay, it is no more than thou thyself didst choose. Did not God set before thee life and death ; and tell thee, if thou wouldst accept of Christ, and renounce thy lusts, thou shouldst then have eternal life; and if thou wouldst not have Christ, but the world or the flesh to rule over thee, thou shouldst then endure eternal torments ? Did not he offer thee thy choice; yea, and entreat thee to choose aright? And dost thou now cry out of severity, when thou hast but the consequence of thy own wilful choice? But it is not thy accusing God of severity that will serve thy turn. Instead of procuring thy escape, or the mitigation of thy torments, this will but make thy burden the more heavy.

And whereas thou sayest that thou wouldst not so torment thy own enemy, I answer, There is no reason why thou shouldst; for is it all one to offend a crawling worm of the earth, and to offend the eternal glorious God? Thou hast no absolute dominion over thine enemy, and there may be some fault in thyself as well as in him ; but with God and us the case is contrary.

But methinks I hear the obstinate sinner desperately resolving,“Well, if I must be damned, there is no remedy. Rather than live so precisely as the Scripture requires, I will put it to the venture : I will escape as well as my neighbours, and as the most of the world, and we will even bear it as well as we can." Alas! poor creature ! Didst thou but know what it is that thou dost so boldly venture on, I dare say, thou wouldst sleep this night but very unquietly. Wilt thou leave thyself no room for hope? Art thou such an implacable enemy to Christ and thy own soul? And dost thou indeed think that thou canst bear the wrath of God, and endure so easily eternal torments ? Yet let me entreat thee, before thou dost pass this resolution, to lend me thine attention to a few questions, and weigh them with the reason of a man; and if then thou dost think that thou canst bear these pains, I will give thee over, and say no more.

1. Who art thou that thou shouldst bear the wrath of God ? Art thou a god, or art thou a man? What is thy strength to undergo so much? Is it not as the strength of wax to resist the fire, or as chaff to the wind, or as the dust before the fierce whirlwind? Was , he not as stout a man as thyself, who cried to God, “ Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro; and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble ?" If thy strength were as iron, and thy bones as brass, yet couldst thou not bear the wrath of the Almighty. If thy foundation were as the earth, and thy power as the heavens, yet wouldst thou perish at the breath of his indignation.

2. If thou art able to wrestle with the indignation of the Almighty, why dost thou tremble at the signs of his power and wrath ? Art thou not afraid when the thunder rolls in thy ears, and the lightnings flash in thy eyes, rending in pieces the mighty oaks, and tearing down the strongest buildings? If thou be in a place where the plague rages so that it cuts off many thousands in a week, does it not astonish thee, to see men, who were well a few days before, thrown by heaps into the grave? If thou hadst stood by when Pharaoh and his people were so strangely plagued, and at last drowned together in the sea; or when the earth swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and their companies, and the people fled away at their cry, lest the earth should swallow them up also; or when Elijah brought fire from heaven to consume the captains and their companies, would not any of these sights have daunted thy spirit? How then wilt thou bear the plagues of hell?

3. If thou be so strong, and thy heart so stout, as to set at nought the wrath of God, why do those trivial sufferings which befal thee here so dismay thee? If thou have but a fit of toothąche, or of gout, or of the stone, what

dost thou utter? The house is filled with thy complaints. If thou lose but a leg or an arm; if thou lose but a friend; if thou lose but thine estate, and fall into poverty, and beggary, and dis


grace,-how heavily dost thou bear any one of these calamities? And yet all these accumulated together, will one day be accounted happiness, in comparison of the misery which is suffered in hell. Alas! how many boasters like thyself have I seen made to stoop and retract their words! When God let out but a little of his wrath, that Pharaoh who before asked, “Who is the Lord that. I should obey him ?” changed his tone, and cried, “ I have sinned."

4. If thy stout spirit make so light of hell, why does the prospect of death so much affright thee? Didst thou never find the thoughts of death fill thy mind with fear and dread? Wast thou never in any disease wherein thou didst receive the sentence of death? If thou never wast, thou wilt be ere long; and then, when thy physician shall tell thee there is no hope, Oh, how cold will it strike to thy heart! Why else is death to men the king of terrors ? and why do the stoutest champions then abate their courage? They who had the same spirits and language as thou now hast, and made as light of all the threatenings of the word, yet when they see they are going into another world, how pale do they look ! how faintly do they speak! how dolefully do they complain and groan! Oh but the grave would be accounted a palace or a paradise, in comparison of that place of torment which thou desperately slightest.

5. If all this be nothing, go try thy strength by some corporal torment. As Bilney, before he went to the stake, would first try his finger in the candle, so do thou. Hold thy finger awhile in the fire, and see whether thou canst endure the fire of hell. If it be an intolerable thing to suffer the heat of the fire for a year, or a day, or an hour, what will it be to suffer ten thousand times more for ever in hell ? If thou canst not endure such things as these, how wilt thou endure the eternal flames ?

6. If thou be so fearless of eternal misery, why is the least foretaste of it so terrible ? Didst thou never feel such a thing as a tormenting conscience ? Didst thou never see and speak with a man who was wounded in his spirit, and was near despair? How burdensome was life! The sight of friends, or house, or estate, which refreshes others, is a trouble to them: they feel no sweetness in meat or drink; they are at once weary of life, and fearful of death. Now, what is the matter with these men ? If the misery of the damned itself can be endured, why cannot they endure those little sparks of divine wrath ?

Lastly, Let me ask thee, if the wrath of God is to be made so light of as thou dost, why did the Son of God himself make so great a matter of it? When he, who was perfectly innocent, had taken upon him the payment of our debt, and stood in our room, and bore that punishment which we deserved, it made him sweat “great drops of blood :" it made him, who is the Lord of life, cry out, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death :" it made him exclaim upon the cross, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Surely, if any one could have borne these sufferings, it was Jesus Christ. He had a higher measure of strength to bear them than thou hast. Do you think to find that tolerable to you, which was so terrible to Christ?

Thus I have shown you somewhat of their misery, who lose the rest prepared for the saints. And now, O sinner, I demand thy resolution. What use wilt thou make of all this? Shall it be all lost upon thee? Or wilt thou consider it in good earnest? Thou hast cast by many a warning from God, wilt thou do so by this also ? Take heed what thou doest, and how thou so resolvest. God will not always stand waining and threatening. The hand of vengeance is lifted up, the blow is coming, and woe to him, whoever he be, on whom it falls. Little thinkest thou how near thou standest to thy eternal state, and how near thou art to the pit of hell.

ell. Wilt thou throw by the book, and say, “ It speaks of nothing but hell and damnation ?" Thus thou usest also to complain of the faithful minis

but wouldst thou not nave us tell thee of these things? Wouldst thou have us be guilty of the blood of thy soul, by keeping silent as to that which God


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