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Or, grant thou shouldst live, and the gospel fhould be continued to thee, as to the outward means; yet art thou sure that the day and season of grace will last any longer than this present moment? Remember that sad word which the Lord breathed out with tears in his eyes, over neglecting Jerusalem, Luke 19. 43. O that thou hadît known, at least this in thy day, the things which belong to thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. Alas! how soon may God withdraw his spirit from
thee? how soon may he call home his grieved spirit · from thy neglecting, resisting soul, once for all,
saying, my spirit shall strive no inore with that man ? Gen. 6. 3.
How soon may God seal thee up under judicial Blindness and hardness of heart, so that thou shalt never be able to believe or to do any thing for the good of thy soul, in order to another world? Thou talkest of to-morrow, and of hereafter; but who knows, but that before to-morrow, God may clap the seal of an hard heart, and a blind mind iipon thee? So as that tho' thou shouldst live a thousand years, and withal enjoy the faire t means that ever any foul enjoyed; yet thou shouldst be never able to believe or repent, to do any thing for the working out of thy falvation. It is oftentimes his way of proceeding with negle&ting, delaying ones, Ifa. 6. 10. Job 11. 39, 40.
Or, how foon may the oath of God go forth against thee? Thou talkest of to-morrow; but alas! who knows but that before to-morrow, God may swear in his wrath, thou shalt not enter into his reft? It is what is threatened against such as will not hear his voice to day, but harden their hearts against him, Heb. 3. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. There is a time when God's oath goeth forth against souls, and such and such sinners, for their contempt and neglect of Christ and Grace; a time not only when God faith, but sweareth, and that in wrath, that they should never enter into his rest; and if once God's oath is gone out against a man, that man is
past recovery; then farewell Christ, and heaven, - and soul, and all for ever. O how dangerous are delays, therefore take heed of them, and fall prefently upon foul-work.
Thirdly, Consider the disadvantage of delays: delays herein are disadvantageous, as well as dangerous. Indeed, were there no danger in them (I mean as to the eternal state) yet the disadvantage of them is so great, as if rightly considered, might be enough to'antidote the soul against them, and engage it presently in the work which relates to another world. Pray consider it a little; by delays the soul loseth much sweet communion with Christ, and many a blessed communication of love from
him, which he might enjoy. The sooner we fall upon the work of heaven and eternity, the sooner we come to a taste and beginning of heaven, and a blessed eternity in our souls: O the sweet embraces, the blessed discoveries, the glorious incomes of love and delight that the soul loses by his delays to get into Christ, and to walk with God, and to mind eternal concernmenis! Poor soul, by thy delays, thou hast lived upon husks and fwill all thy days bitherto, whereas thou mightest have eaten bread in iny Father's houle, and drank wine new in thy Father's kingdom : thou hast lived on the muddy, dungy, droíly delights of fin and the creature, whereas thou mightest have solaced and delighted thy soul with those christal streams of undefiled: plessures, which are at Christ's and his Father's riyle hand. Besides, by delays, the work of thy soul grows more dificult; hereby corruption grows. more strong, and the heart grows more hard: by every day's delay, the old enmity strengthens itself, and the soul is more and more futtled upon its lees. For accuftomedness in finning, hardens the heart in fin, as is hinted, Jer. 13. 23. Every day the soul is more alienated from Chrift, and hardened against him. At best, if thy Soul doth at last come to see its need of Christ, and desireth to close with him, and to mind the work and concerns of another world; yet the longer thou delayest this business, the greater temptations thou wilt have to get over:
for, though now thy heart faith it is too soon, yet after a few days delay, it will say it is too late; it will be apt to conclude, that now thy day is over, and now Christ will have nothing to do with thee: O why shouldst thou be such an enemy to thy own soul, as to run it upon these disadvantages ? rather avoid them by falling presently upon soul-work.
· Fourthly, Consider the finfulness of Delays, and the horrible guilt they bring upon the soul: as delays are dangerous and disadvantageous, so they are finful too, exceeding sinful, and provoking to the God of heaven. The truth is, were there no danger in them, no disadvantage by them to the soul; yet the sinfulness of them is such, as should make us afraid of them: in every day's delay to mind, and pursue soul-work, there is positive rebellion and disobedience to the will and command of God: for the command is, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, Heb. 3. 7, 8. By delaying therefore, thou rebellest against the commandment. In every day's delay to mind and purfue foul-work, there is horrible unkindness and ingratitude to God and Christ; which surely is a black sin, and brings great guilt upon the soul. God spares you time after time, when he might caft you off the next moment. And this he doth, that you may pursue the work of your souls and
eiernity; and O what unkindness, what ingratitude must it be in us to neglect, and pat off this work ? In every delay to mind and pursue foul-work, there is much contempt of Christ and grace; and this is that which makes it be exceeding sinful; Chrift offers himself and his grace to you, he offers you life, he offers you peace, he offers you pardon, heoffers you righteousness, ke offers you strength, he offers you all the treasures of heaven; and withal calls upon you to accept these offers, and to take home these things to yourselves; but you, by your delays, pour contempt upon all; you in effect say neither Christ, nor his grace, nor the purchase of his blood, are worth minding, worth looking after. O what contempt is this? and what fin is this? By delays you do in effect say, there is something better than Christ, and something of greater concernment to you than Salvation by Christ; you plainly say that in deed you will have Christ here. after, and Salvation hereafter ; but for the present you had much rather have your lusts and worldly pleasures. Oh! tremble at the thoughts of this, and let it affright you out of your delays, and put prou immediately upon soul-work.
In a word, never any pretended that they minded the concerns of their souls; union with Christ, walking with God, making sure their calling and election so soon; many have repented that they have