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over their thoughts and words, while they double their external duties, so that God may be pleased with them, and save them from wrath, on account of their strict and holy lives : now they are apt to conclude, however it be with others, all shall be well at last with them : but now and then a sinful thought they observe passing through their hearts, and words they ought not to speak flowing from their tongues, for which they are grieved, but endeavour to make amends to God for such in future, by striving to restrain the lawless wanderers from their minds, and keeping a stricter watch over their tongues. But to drive them from this root of self-righteousness likewise, the sharp law is thrust in upon them, with this malediction, “ Cursed is every one that continueth “ not in all things which are written in the s book of the law to do them,” Gal. iii. 10. This stuns them fearfully, knowing that they have not kept the law perfectly; their recollections now begin to be awakened, they see not only now and then they have broken the divine law, but almost in every instance, times and ways without number; and what to do they know not, they are horribly afraid, terrified to stay a moment long
er under the false refuge of their own righteousness,
What shall they do, or where shall they fly, to be safe from avenging wrath ? In this dreadful plight, when every other refuge they sadly discover to be unavailing, the net of the everlasting gospel, by the fishers of men, the ambassadors of Christ, is freely let down, and spread wide, with a “ Ho! every one that “ thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he " that hath no money; come ye, buy and " eat, yea comie, buy wine and milk, withs out money and without price," Isa. lv. í. “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou “ shalt be saved,” Acts xvi. 31. Come “ unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest,” Matth. xi. 28. And him that cometh to me, I will “ in no wise cast out," John vi. 37,
". The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let “ him that heareth, say, Come: And let him " that is athirst come: And whosoever will, “ let him take of the water of life freely," Rev. xxii. 17.
Transported at the all-joyful tidings, they embrace the thrice welcome news, with the
keenness of a condemned man receiving a re, prieve from death : thus they are caught in the gospel net and saved.
But ministers, though fishers of men, are only men themselves, and like the seven disciples of old, they may toil all night, nay, all the nights and days of their lives, and take nothing, unless the Lord by his Spirit cause success; it is then only with the disciples, they cast the net on the right side of the ship, and catch a draught (John xxi. 2.---6.) of elect sinners. “ Paul may plant, and A.
pollos water, but God alone giveth the increase,” i Cor. iii. 0, 7.
My part is now to examine, whether I have been taken captive by Satan at his will, eagerly grasping at his hooks, and swallowing down his baits; and, alas! my conscience accușeth me of having done so in too many instances : But have I too seen my lost and undone state by nature, and been endeavouring to find a refuge from divine wrath under any or all of those coverts I was noticing, and have been driven out of them by the terrors of the law; the Holy Spirit convincing me of my dangerous situation, and the total insufficiency of such refuges to screen me from the wrath of the Almighty? And have I been led to see that there is no safety any where else, but under the covert of Christ's blood and righteousness, and to my sweet experience been taken with the gospel net, and closed with Christ alone for my Saviour, believing that he is both able and willing to save poor, wretched, sinful me, taking him
all in all ?
If this hath not been the case, O my soul ! stay not in all the plain, or state of nature, but haste, escape for thy life, and close with Christ, lest thou be overthrown with a shower of wrath and eternal vengeance: Look not behind thee, Gen. xix. 17.“ Remember Lot's wife !” Luke xvii. 32,