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can destroys him; and he that stands by, while thieves rob, or murderers kill him, and will not help him if he can, is accessary to the deed.
And so he that silently suffers men to damn their souls, or lets satan and the world deceive them, and does not offer to help them, will certainly be judged accessary to their ruin.
2. As you are in a measure guilty of their perishing, so are you of every sin which they in the mean time commit. If they were converted, they would break off their course of sinning; and if you did but do your duty, you know not but they might be converted. As he that is guilty of a man's drunkenness, is guilty of all the sins which that drunkenness causes him to commit; so he that is guilty of a man's continuing unregenerate, countenances the sins of his unregeneracy.
3. You are also chargeable in a manner with the dishonour done to God. And how much is that ? And how tender should a Christian be of the glory of God, the least part whereof is to be valued more than our lives?
4. You are not innocent either of the judgments which these men's sins bring upon the town or country where they live. I know you are not such atheists, but you believe it is God that sends sickness, and famine, and war; and also that it is only sin that moves him thus to manifest his indignation. What doubt then is there, that you are the cause of judgments, when you do not strive against those sins which are the occasion of them ? We have all seen the drunkards, and heard the swearers in our streets, and we would not speak to them: we have all lived in the midst of an ignorant, worldly, unholy people; and we have not spoken to them with earnestness, plainness, and love. No wonder then if God speak in wrath both to them and us. Eli did not commit the sin himself, but yet he spoke so coldly against it, that he had to participate in the punishment.
VII. Consider how dreadful it will be, to look upon your poor friends eternally in those flames, and to think that your neglect was a chief cause of it;-that there was a time when you might have done much to prevent it.
VIII. Consider what joy it will afford you to meet in heaven, those whom you have been instrumental in bringing thither! To see their faces, and join with them for ever in singing the praises of God, whom ye were instruments of bringing to the knowledge and obedience of Christ, what it will be, we know not; but surely, according to our present views, it will be no small joy. “What,” says Paul, “ is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, at his coming ? For ye are our glory and joy."
IX. Consider how many souls we have drawn or at least hardened or confirmed in the way of ruin! And should we not now be more diligent to draw men to everlasting life? There is not one of us, but has had his companions in sin, especially in the days of his ignorance and unregeneracy. We have enticed them, or encouraged them to sin in various forms; but we cannot so easily bring them from sin again, as we drew them to it. Many are dead already without discovering any symptoms of a saving change, who were our companions in sin. And does it not then become us to do as much to save men, as we have done to destroy them; and to be as merciful to some, as we have been cruel to others ?
X. Consider how diligent are the enemies of poor souls to draw them to hell; and if nobody be diligent in drawing them to heaven, what is to become of them? The devil is tempting them night and day. The flesh is ever pleading for its profits and delights. Their companions are ready to entice them to sin, and to increase their prejudice and dislike to holiness. Seeing then their enemies are so many and so powerful, and so diligent in seeking their ruin, shall not Christians be still more unwearied in labouring to win them to Christ and everlasting life?
XI. Consider, the neglect of this duty will very deeply wound you when conscience is awakened. When a man comes to die, conscience will ask him, 6 What good hast thou done in thy lifetime? The saving of souls is the greatest of all works; what hast thou done towards this? How many hast thou dealt faithfully with ? How many have through thy instrumentality been brought to Christ ?” I have often observed, that the consciences of dying men do very much wound them for the neglect of this duty.
XII. Consider, it is now a very seasonable time which you have for this work. Take it therefore while you have it. There are are times wherein it is not safe to speak; it may cost you your liberty, or your life; but it is not so now with us. Besides, your neighbours will be here with you but a very little while : they will shortly die, and so must you. Speak to them therefore while you may, and give them no rest till you have prevailed. Do it speedily, for it must be now or NEVER.
XIII. Consider, this is a work of the greatest charity, and yet such as every one of you may perform. If it were to give them money, the poor have it not to give; if it were to fight for them, the weak are not able; if it were to suffer, the fearful will say they cannot; but every one has a tongue to speak to a sinner. The poorest may be thus charitable as well as the rich.
XIV. Consider the happy consequences of this work, where it is faithfully performed.
1. You may be instrumental in the blessed work of saving souls, a work that Christ came down and died for, a work which the angels of God rejoice in a work which will confer inestimable benefits on those who are converted by you.
do eri trom the truth,” says James, “and one convert him, let him know, that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." And how can God more highly honour you, than to make you instruments in so great a work?
2. The souls whom you may convert will bless you in time and through eternity. They may be angry with you at first; but if your words prevail
lose a cup
with them, they will bless the day that ever they knew you, and bless God that sent you to speak to them.
3. God will have much glory in every soul which may be converted by you. He will have one more to value and accept of his Son; one more to love him, and daily worship and fear him, and to do him service in his church.
4. The church will be a mighty gainer by it. There will be one less provoker of wrath, and one more to strive with God against sin and judgment, to engage against the sins of the times, and to win others by doctrine and example. If thou couldst but convert one persecuting Saul, he might become a Paul, and do the church more service than ever thou didst thyself.
Lastly, It will bring much advantage to yourselves.
1. It will increase your graces. He that will not let you
of water which is given for him, will not let you lose these greater works of charity. Besides those that have practised this duty most conscientiously, find by experience that they never go on more speedily and prosperously towards heaven, than when they do most to help others thither along with them. It is not here as with worldly treasure, of which the more you give away, the less you have; but here, the more you give away, the more you
have. The exhibiting Christ in his fulness to others, will warm your own hearts, and stir up your love; the opening of the evil and danger of sin to others, will increase your hatred of it, and much engage yourselves against it.
2. It will increase your glory as well as your grace, both as a duty which God will reward, for they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever;" and also as we shall behold them in heaven, and be their associates in blessedness, whom God made us the instruments of converting on earth.
3. It will give us much peace of conscience, whether we succeed or not, to think that we were faithful, and did our best to save them, and that their perishing shall not lie at our door, but that we are clear from the blood of all men.
4. It is a work, which, if it succeed, will exceedingly rejoice an honest heart.
He that has any sense of God's honour, or the least affection to the soul of his brother, must needs rejoice much at his conversion, whosoever be the instrument, but especially when God makes himself the means of so blessed a work. If God make us the instruments of any temporal good, it is very comfortable; but much more, if he make us the instruments of eternal good.
Exhortations to this Duty. Lastly, I shall conclude with a word of entreaty to Christians in general, to engage faithfully and diligently in the performance of this duty.
Up, then, every man that has a tongue, and is a servant of Christ, and do something of your Master's work. Why has he given you a tongue but to speak in his service ? And how can you serve him more eminently than by the saving of souls? He that will pronounce you “ Blessed” at the last day, and award you “the kingdom prepared for you," because you fed him, and clothed him, and visited him, in his members, will surely pronounce you Blessed for so great a work as is the bringing of souls to his kingdom. He that says, “ The poor ye have always with you,” has left the ungodly always with you, that you may ever have matter to exercise your charity upon. 0, if you have the hearts of Christians or men in you, let them yearn over your poor, ignorant, ungodly neighbours. Alas! there is but a step between them, and death, and hell. Many hundred diseases are waiting ready to seize on them, and if they die unregenerate, they are lost for ever. Have you hearts of rock, that cannot pity men in such a case as this? If you believe not the word of God, and the danger of