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admirable joys of heaven, while ye yourselves do nothing but drudge for the world, and are as much taken up in striving to be rich, or as quarrelsome with your neighbours in a case of trade, as any others, who will believe you? Or who will be persuaded by you to seek the everlasting riches ? Let not men see you proud, while you exhort them to be humble; nor to have a seared conscience in one thing, while you would have theirs tender in another. A holy, heavenly life, is a constant and powerful reproof to the conscience of a worldling, and a constant and eloquent solicitation of him to change his course.

Thus I have explained to you that part of this duty, which consists in private familiar exhortation, for helping poor souls to everlasting rest; and I have showed you also the manner how to perform it that you may succeed.

III. Use your utmost endeavours to help men to profit by the public ordinances of religion. And to · this end you must do the things following.

1. Use your endeavours for procuring faithful ministers in places where they are wanting. This is God's ordinary means of converting and saving men. “ How shall they hear without a preacher ?” Not only for your own sakes, therefore, but for the sake of the poor miserable people about you, do all you can to bring this to pass. “ If the gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” Improve, therefore, all your interest and diligence to this end. If means be wanting to maintain a minister, open your purses to the utmost, rather than that the means of men's salvation should be wanting. Who knows how many souls may bless you, who may be converted and saved by the ministry which you may procure? This is a higher and nobler charity, than if you gave all you have to relieve their bodies. Both, indeed, must be regarded, yet the soul has the first and strongest claim on our regards.

2. When you enjoy the blessing of the gospel, you must use your utmost diligence to help poor souls to receive the fruit of it. To this end, you must draw

them to attend constantly upon it. Remind them often of what they have heard. Often meet together (besides the more public meeting in the congregation), in order to repeat together the word which you have heard in public,--to pour out your united prayers for the Church and yourselves, to join in singing the praises of God, to quicken each other in love, and heavenliness, and holy walking; and all this not as a separate church, but as a part of the church more diligent than the rest, in redeeming time, and helping the souls of each other heavenward. But let all your private meetings be in subordination to the public, and with the approbation and consent of your spiritual guides, “ remembering them which have the rule over you, which speak to you the word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation ; Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.”

3. If you would have souls converted and saved by the ordinances, labour to keep the ordinances and ministry in esteem. No man will be much wrought on by that which he despises. The great causes of this contempt, are a perverted judgment and a graceless heart. It is no more wonder for a soul to loathe the ordinances, that relishes not their spiritual nature, nor sees God in them, than it is for a sick man to loathe his food. O what a rare blessing is a clear, sound, sanctified judgment ! “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as ye also do: and we beseech you brethren to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their works' sake; and be at peace among yourselves.” “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls as those that must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you.'

And now, Christian reader, seeing it is a duty that God has laid on every man according to his ability, thus to exhort and reprove, and with all possible diligence to labour after the salvation of all about him, judge whether this work is generally and conscientiously performed by us. Alas! where shall we find the man among us, that engages in this duty with all his might, that sets his heart upon the souls of his brethren, that they may be saved ?


Hinderances to this Duty. Secondly, Let us enquire what are the causes of the general neglect of this duty, that the hinderances being discovered, they may the more easily be overcome.

I. Men's own gracelessness and guiltiness. They have not felt the wickedness of their own natures, nor their lost condition, nor their need of Christ, nor the transforming work of the Spirit; how then can they discover these to others? They have not been themselves exalted with the heavenly delights; how then should they draw others so earnestly to seek them? Men are also guilty themselves of the sins they should reprove; and this stops their mouth, and makes them ashamed to reprove others, as well indeed it may.

II. The secret infidelity of men's hearts. Of this, even the best have so great a measure, that it causes this duty to be done by halves. Alas! brethren, we surely do not believe men's misery; we surely do not believe the truth of God's threatenings. Did we verily believe that all the unregenerate and unholy shall be eternally tormented in hell, how could we hold our tongues? How could we refrain from tea when we look them in the face, as did the prophet when he looked upon Hazael, especially when they are our kindred or friends, that are near and dear to us ? Thus secret unbelief of the truth of Scripture, consumes the vigour of each grace and duty. III. Want of charity and compassion to men's souls. We are cruel and hard-hearted toward the miserable , and therefore, as the priest and the Levite did by the wounded man, we look on them and pass by. Oh! what tender heart could endure to look upon a poor, blind, forlorn sinner, wounded by sin, and captivated by Satan, and never once open our mouths for his recovery? What though he be silent, and do not himself desire thy help? His very misery cries aloud, and misery is the most effectual suitor to one that is compassionate. Had not God heard the cry of our miseries before he heard the cry of our prayers, and been moved by his own pity, before he was moved by our importunity, we might have remained for ever the slaves of Satan. Alas! what pitiful sights do we daily see? The ignorant, the profane, the neglecters of Christ and their souls; and yet we scarcely pity them. You will pray to God for them, in customary duties, that he would open the eyes, and turn the hearts of your unconverted friends and neigbours. But why do you not endeavour their conversion if you desire it? And if you do not desire it, why do

Does not your negligence convict you of hypocrisy in your prayers, and of mocking the most high God with your deceitful words? If you should see your neighbour fallen into a pit, and should immediately fall down on your knees, and pray God to help him out, but would neither put forth your hand to help, nor once persuade or direct him to help himself, would you not deserve to be set down as cruel and hypocritical? What the Holy Ghost says of men's bodily miseries, I may much more say of the misery of their souls: “ If any man seeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"

IV. A base man-pleasing disposition. It is an ungrateful work, and for the most part makes those our enemies that were our friends; and men cannot bear the reproaches and unthankful returns of sinners. It may be they are i eir chief friends on whom is all their dependence, so that it may be their undoing to

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displease them. We are so loath indeed to displease men, and so desirous to keep in favour with them, that it makes us neglect our known duty. How can these men be Christians that love the favour of men • more than the praise of God," for if they yet seek “ to please men,” they are no longer the servants of Christ ? To win them, indeed, we must become all things to all men; but to please them to their destruction, and let them perish, that we may maintain our credit with them, is a course so base and barbarously cruel, that he who has the profession of a Christian should abhor it.

V. Sinful bashfulness. When we should labour to make men ashamed of their sins, we are ourselves ashamed of our duties. May not these sinners condemn us, when they will not blush to swear, or be drunk, or neglect the worship of God, and yet we will blush to tell them of their sin, and persuade them from it? Sinners will boast of their sins, and impudently show them in the open streets; and shall not we be as bold in drawing them from their evil courses ? Not that I approve of impudence in any; nor would I have inferiors forget their distance in admonishing their superiors; but let them do it with all humility, and submission, and respect. But yet I would much less have them forget their duty to God and to their superiors. Bashfulness is unseemly in cases of absolute necessity. Indeed, it is not a work to be ashamed of. To obey God in persuading men from their sins to Christ, and helping to save their souls, is not a business at which a man should blush. And yet, alas! what abundance of souls have been neglected through the prevalence of this sin! Most of us are, in this respect, heinously guilty.

VI. Indolence and impatience. This is a work that seldom succeeds at the first, except it be followed with wisdom and unweariedness. You must be a great while teaching an ignorant person, before he will be brought to know the very fundamentals of religion, and a great while persuading an obstinate sinner, before he will come to a full resolution to re

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