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DIRECTIONS TO AWAKENED SINNERS.
And he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do.
THESE are the words of Saul, who also is called Paul, (Acts xiii. 9,) when he was stricken to the ground as he was going to Damascus; and any one who had looked upon him in his present circumstances and knew nothing more of him than that view, in comparison with his past life, could have given, would have imagined him one of the most miserable creatures that ever lived upon earth, and would have expected that he should very soon have been numbered among the most miserable of those in hell.
He was engaged in a course of such savage cruelty as can upon no principle of common morality be vindicated, even though the Christians had been as much mistaken, as he rashly and foolishly concluded they were. After having 290dragged many of them into prison, and given his voice against some that were put to death, he persecuted others into strange cities; and had now obtained a commission from the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem to carry this holy, or rather this impious war into Damascus, (Acts xxvi. 10-12,) and to bring all the disciples of the blessed Jesus bound from thence to Jerusalem: (Acts ix. 2:) probably that they might there be animadverted upon with greater severity than could safely have been attempted by the Jews in so distant a city, under a foreign governor.
But behold, as he was in the way, Jesus interposes, clothed with a lustre exceeding that of the sun at noon. Acts xxvi. 13. He strikes him down from the beast on which he rode, and lays him prostrate on the ground, calling to him with a voice far more dreadful than that of thunder, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Acts ix. 4.
Any one would have imagined, from the circumstances in which he now beheld Saul, that Divine vengeance had already begun to seize him, and that full execution would quickly have been done. But God's ways are not as our ways, nor are his thoughts as our thoughts. Isa. lv. 8. Christ laid him almost as low as hell, that he might raise him as high as the third heaven; of which he afterwards gave him a view in vision, to anticipate 291his reception into it. 2 Cor. xii. 2. This day of his terror and astonishment was, in a nobler sense than any other, the day of his birth; for he is brought to bow himself at the foot of an injured Saviour, to offer him, as it were, a blank upon which to write his own terms of peace; and as soon as he heard that this glorious person was Jesus, whom, in his members, he had so long persecuted, he makes his submission in these lively, comprehensive words, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? This was not a time for a long speech; but be that discerns all the secret recesses of the spirit, knew these few words were full of a most important meaning, and expressed not only a grief of heart for all that he had before been doing against Christ and his kingdom, but the sincerest resolution for the future to employ himself in his service, waiting only the intimations of his wise and gracious will, as to the most proper and acceptable manner of beginning the attempt.
There is, methinks, a poignant kind of eloquence in this short expression, far beyond what any paraphrase upon it can give: and our compassionate Lord accepted this surrender. All his former rebellions were no more remembered against him; and before he rose from the ground, to which he fell on so terrible an occasion, Christ gave him an intimation, not only that his forfeited 292life should be spared, so that he should get safe into the city to which he was bound, but that he should there be instructed in the service which Jesus, whom he had persecuted, would now condescend to receive at his hands.
I represent the case thus largely, because I hope it is a case, which, in some measure, suits the experience of some that hear me this evening. Paul tells us, it was for this reason, among others, that he himself obtained mercy, though he was the chief of sinners, that in him, as the chief, Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them who should afterwards believe. 1 Tim. i. 15, 16.
Is there then, in this assembly, any awakened and convinced sinner; any one that, apprized of his folly, and sensible of his misery, is desirous to fall at the foot of Christ, and say with Saul, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? That which I see not, teach thou me; and wherein I have done iniquity, I will do so no more! Job xxxiv. 32. Such would I now especially address; and while I put the question, Is there any such among us? I would fain persuade myself, there are several. For I humbly hope, that all the labors that have been bestowed in the preceding discourses are not in vain, nor all the prayers that have been offered for their success in vain; prayers which, 293I doubt not, have been carried by many of you into your families and your closets, as well as jointly presented to God in this public assembly. Trusting, therefore, that it is thus with some, and praying that it may be a more frequent case, I proceed,
Sixthly, to give some directions to such as are awakened by Divine grace to a sense of their misery in an unregenerate state, and are brought to desire recovery from it.
To such I propose to give directions: and to what purpose would it be to undertake to offer them to any others? Who would pretend to teach those who are unconcerned about their salvation, what methods they are to take in order to their becoming truly regenerate? This, methinks, would be like giving directions how those might learn to write who do not desire it, and will not take a pen into their hands. All I could say to such, while they continue in this character, would vanish into empty air. It would not, probably, be so much as observed and remembered.
I speak therefore to awakened souls, and it is pleasant to address such on this head. Ananias undoubtedly undertook his message to Saul with cheerfulness, to tell him what Christ would have him to do: and I would with pleasure and cheerfulness 294engage in the like work; humbly hoping, that some will hear with observation and attention--will hear for themselves and so hear for their good. Job v. 27. And to this purpose let me advise you--to attend to the impressions that have been made upon you with great seriousness--to break off everything that is contrary to them--to seek for further knowledge in religious matters—to pour out your souls before God in earnest prayer—to communicate the state of your case to some experienced Christian--to acquaint yourselves with such as are much in your own circumstances--to fly immediately to Christ, as ready to receive all that come to him--to dedicate yourselves to him, and to his service, in the most solemn manner--to arm yourselves to encounter the greatest difficulties in your Christian course--and finally, to take every step in this attempt with a deep sense of your own weakness, and an humble dependence upon Divine grace to be communicated to you as the matter requires. These are the several directions I would offer to you: and may they be impressed in such a manner on your souls, that none of you may lose the things that have been wrought: (2 John ver. 8:) but by the effectual working of the mighty power of God, (Eph. i. 19,) such as he graciously has been pleased to bring to the birth, may be brought 295forth, (Isa. lxvi. 9,) and such as are awakened may be savingly renewed!
1. I would advise you to attend to the impressions made upon you with great seriousness.
They may perhaps take you a little off the world and its concernments; and some will blame you for suffering such an interruption: but regard not that censure. The time will come, if you pursue these things aright, when renewed diligence, prudence, and the Divine blessing, will amply make amends for any present hindrance which these impressions may occasion. And if it should be otherwise, is there not a cause? If a man seized with a threatening distemper should choose, for a little while, to lay aside his usual business, that he might attend to the care of his health, before the symptoms grew incurable would any body blame him for this? On the contrary, would it not be looked upon as acting a very wise, prudent, and necessary part? Much more may be said here. It is not a light thing for you, because it is your life. Deut. xxxii. 47. And if the life is more than meat, and the body than raiment, (Matt. vi. 25,) then surely the soul is more to be regarded than either. And therefore what you do in your worldly affairs, do moderately, and do not grudge 296that retirement which is so necessary in such a tender circumstance as this.
I may apply to you, on this occasion, those words of Solomon: Through desire a man having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. Prov. xviii. 1. If you desire to attain Divine wisdom, you must separate yourself from all other things to pursue it. And it is the more necessary to attend to this now, because the Tempter may probably contrive to lay some more than ordinary avocation in your way, at a time when the interest of his kingdom requires you should be diverted from prosecuting those views which are presenting themselves to you, and by which you may so probably be rescued out of his hands, and put forever out of his power.
2. Let me advise you to break off everything which is contrary to such impressions as these.
Sin will immediately appear to have been your disease and your ruin: and therefore, if ever you hope for recovery, you must resolutely break with that; not merely with this or that particular evil, but with every sin; and that not only for a little while, but entirely and forever. A mortal, irreconcilable war must be declared against it. Every fleshly lust must be denied, every immoral practice, for which your heart may at any time smite 297you, must be reformed; and if ever you expect to reap mercy and life, you must, as the prophet expresses it, break up your fallow ground, (Hos. x. 12,) and not sow among thorns. Jer. iv. 3. For righteousness has no fellowship with unrighteousness, and light no communion with darkness. 2 Cor. vi. 14. And you may be assured, that as all sin grieves the Spirit of God, and strengthens the heavy fetters which lie upon the soul; so those sins which are committed after these awakenings and convictions, have a peculiar guilt attending them, and do greater despite to the Spirit of grace, (Heb. x. 29,) in proportion to the degree in which his motions on the soul have been vigorous and warm.
3. Seek further knowledge, especially from the word and ordinances of God.
The influences of Divine grace are not to be considered as a blind impulse: but God's Spirit works on the spirit of man, as one rational being on another. The apostle therefore put the question with great reason, How shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? Rom. x. 14. And as some knowledge is the foundation on which the Spirit of God ordinarily operates in men's hearts; so in proportion to the degree in which you attain further light into the scheme of the gospel, and of salvation by Christ, it may 298be expected you will be more impressed by it. The mention of this is so much the more necessary, as mistaken notions of religion often expose people on the one hand, to great perplexities, and on the other, betray them into a false peace, which one way or another will be bitterness in the end.
Come, therefore, to the house of God, and attend spiritual preaching. The question is not about forms, but things. Be not therefore over-scrupulous about what is merely circumstantial in religion, on the one hand or the other: but where you find more spiritual light and improvement, there choose generally to attend: not confining religion to any particular party, nor judging those who differ from you in their sentiment or practice; but calmly and humbly seeking your own edification, leaving others to seek theirs where they are persuaded, in the sight of God, they may most probably find it.
Above all, remember, in this circumstance, to make the word of God the man of your counsel, (Psal. cxix. 24,) and to judge of what you read and hear by the tenor of that, as the oracle of eternal truth; always attending the reading of it with earnest prayer to God for the illumination of his Spirit, as I shall afterwards more particularly direct. No other books are to be set 299up in opposition to this, or in comparison with it; yet let it be your care, in subordination to scripture, to study the writings of those faithful servants of God in latter ages, who themselves manifest a sense of practical religion. Especially endeavor to find out and peruse those writings which treat of conversion and regeneration, and which contain advice suited to your case. Blessed be God, our language abounds with such: and every truly Christian minister will be glad to direct you to them, and so far as he has a convenient opportunity to furnish you with them.
4. Pour out your soul before God in earniest prayer.
You cannot be unacquainted with the many promises God has made in scripture for the encouragement of those who desire to pray to him in the sincerity of their hearts. You know into how little a compass Christ has crowded together three equivalent promises. Ask, and it shall be given you: seek and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you; (Matt. vii. 7;) and you cannot but remember the threefold encouragement, from the success of those who have recourse to this expedient, which he has added in the most express and general terms: For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. 300Verse 8. Go, therefore, in a cheerful dependence upon this promise: go, and try the truth of it. Whither should a creature in such circumstances go, but to that God, who has the hearts of all in his hand as the rivers of water, and turns them whithersoever he will? Prov. xxi. 1. And who should go to him, rather than you? And in what circumstances should a distressed creature rather think of looking and crying to him, than in these; where it sees itself surrounded with so much danger, and yet feels an inward earnest desire, not only of deliverance, but of holiness, too? Go, therefore, and cast yourself at the feet of God this very evening: do it as soon as you return to your habitations; and if you can not put your thoughts and desires into words, at least sigh and groan before the Lord. Mourn, if you can not pray; and mourn that you can not; or rather be assured, that unutterable groanings have sometimes the greatest efficacy, and prove the most prevailing eloquence.
It will be no wonder at all, if in these circumstances Satan should endeavor to terrify you. It is his common practice. So many souls have vanquished him upon their knees, that he dreads and hates the posture: but draw an argument from that very opposition to make you so much the more eager and importunate; and when your 301heart is overwhelmed within you, fly unto the rock that is higher than you. Psal. lxi. 2.
I will add, Be not discouraged, though help be not immediately imparted. Though you may seem to be cast out of God's sight, yet look again towards his holy temple: (Jonah ii. 4:) though you may seem to cry from the deep, and almost from the belly of hell, (Ver. 2,) the bowels of a heavenly Father will yearn over you as returning prodigals; and I doubt not you will meet with the reception that Ephraim found, when God saw him bemoaning and humbling himself, because he had been as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: when he cried, Turn thou me, and I shall be turned: for thou art the Lord my God; his heavenly Father answers him in these most affectionate words: attend to them, O thou returning sinner, for thy comfort in this hour of distress! Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still; therefore my bowels are troubled for him, and I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord. Jer. xxxi. 18, 20.
5. I would advise you farther, that you immediately communicate the state of your case to some experienced Christian.
I know there is a backwardness in persons of your circumstances to do it; and it has been surprising 302to me to learn from some, who, in this respect, have afterwards grown wiser, how long they have been pining away. in their sorrows before they could be persuaded to consult their ministers or Christian friends. It is a stratagem of Satan, against which I would by all means caution you. And one would think your own reason should suggest some very obvious advantages attending the method I propose, of opening your case freely to those whom you think to be more experienced in these things. The impression may be revived upon your own souls, even by the account you give them: and their advice may be exceeding useful to you to guard you against the wiles of the enemy which they have known, though hitherto you have been strangers to them; and to guide you into such methods as, by the Divine blessing, may farther promote that good work which seems, in any measure, to have been begun within you. You may also depend upon it that it will engage their prayers for you; which, in this case, may have great prevalency. And it will also naturally lead them to inspect your conduct: and if they see you afterwards in danger of being drawn aside, they may remind you of the hopes once entertained, and the impressions once made upon your mind. In this respect you may hope, that by 303walking with wise men you will be yet wiser; (Prov. xiii. 20;) and will soon find how happy an exchange you make, when you give up your vain, and perhaps wicked companions, that you may become the companion of them that fear God, and that keep his precepts; (Psal. cxix. 63;) and may have your delight in them, who, in the judgment of God, are the excellent of the earth, (Psal. xvi. 3,) however they may be despised and derided by men.
6. I would also advise that you endeavor to search out those, if there be any such about or near you, who are much in your own circumstances.
Observe, especially among young people, whether there are any that seem of late to have grown more serious than ordinary; and particularly more constant in attending the ordinances of God, and more cautious in venturing on occasions and temptations to sin; and if you can discover such, endeavor to form an acquaintance with them. Try by proper hints how far their circumstances resemble yours; and as you find encouragement, enter into a stricter friendship with them, founded on religion, and intended to promote it in each other's hearts. Associate yourselves in little bands for Christian converse and prayer; and by this means you will quicken 304and strengthen the hearts of each other. For on the one hand, what they tell you of their own experience will much confirm you in a persuasion that what you find in yourselves is not a mere fancy, but is really a Divine work begun on your hearts, and will give you encouragement to pursue it as such; for as face answers to face, in water, so does the heart of man to man. Prov. xxvii. 19. And on the other hand, the observation of your pious zeal will quicken others, and may occasion the revival of religion in the hearts of older Christians; as I bless God, I have found some things of this kind have done, and hope, and through the Divine blessing expect, to find it more and more. Therefore exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day, lest any of you should be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Heb. iii. 13. Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees; (Isa. xxxv. 3;) and be assured, that while you are endeavoring to help others, you will find in yourselves the first fruits of this happy attempt; and while you water others, you will be watered also yourselves.
7. It is an advice of the highest importance, that whoever you are, you should immediately fly to Christ, and repose the confidence of your souls upon him.
Observe that I urge you, WHOEVER YOU ARE, to 305fly immediately to Christ: and this I do, to guard against a strange notion which some are ready to entertain, as if we were to bring something of our own righteousness and obedience to him, to render us worthy of being accepted by him. But this is a grand mistake. The blessings of the gospel are not to be considered as matter of bargain and sale: no, if we come to buy wine and milk, it must be without money and without price; (Isa. lv. 1;) and whoever will take of the water of life, must do it freely. Rev. xxii. 17. If he pretend to offer an equivalent, he forfeits his share in the invitation; and must be made to know, that the price he offers is a great affront to the value of the blessings for which he would thus barter.
Let this then be your language, "Lord, I have undone myself, and in me is no help; I see nothing in myself which makes me worthy of thy regard; but this I know, that where sin has abounded, grace does much more abound, and reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ; (Rom. v. 20, 21;) through whom thou hast assured me in thy word that eternal life is the gift of God. Rom. vi. 23. As such let me receive it: and by how much the more undeserving I have been, by so much the more will I celebrate the riches of thy grace in 306making me a vessel of mercy, and a monument of love throughout all eternity. Blessed Jesus, thou hast said, that him who comes unto thee thou wilt in no wise cast out; (John vi. 37;) behold, I come, and cast myself at thy feet; receive me, and put me among the children, (Jer. iii. 19,) though I deserve not the very crumbs that fall from thy table." Matt. xv. 27.
You will not, I hope, imagine that when I give such advice as this, I mean to insinuate that a person, purposing to continue in his sins, may nevertheless come and receive the blessings of the gospel: for that would be no other than in the grossest manner to pervert and contradict the whole tenor of it. But this I say, and repeat it, that when once a sinner finds himself, by Divine grace, disposed to turn from his sins to God, and made willing to accept the mercy tendered in the gospel, of which a deliverance from sin and a renovation of nature are a great, important, and essential part; he may with cheerfulness apply himself to the great Redeemer, as one of those whom he came on purpose to deliver; and in proportion to the degree in which he can discern the sincerity of his sentiments, he may open his heart to comfort, how great soever his former unworthiness has been, and how lately 307soever such impressions may have been made upon his heart.
8. Make the dedication of yourselves to Christ and his service as solemn a thing as you can.
We read in the Acts of some that were baptized, and publicly received into the church the very same day in which they were converted. Acts ii. 41, 47. Though a change of circumstances may at present render it convenient to defer doing it for some time, because it is proper that the efficacy of your repentance and conversion should first of all be so far seen, as in the judgment of charity to approve the sincerity of it: yet I think, when you feel your hearts absolutely determined for God, you should in a solemn manner lay hold of his covenant, in secret at least, as soon as possible; and declare, as before him that searcheth all hearts, the sincerity of that acceptance. Some have recommended the doing this in a written engagement: and there are several very affecting forms of this kind in books on this subject, which may very profitably be used. But I hope the fullness of your heart will dictate something of this kind, if such helps should be wanting, or if any peculiar consideration should prevent their being used.
And surely, if you feel the love of the blessed Jesus glowing in your hearts as you ought, you 308will need no other engagement to yield yourselves to him: that love will be instead of ten thousand arguments; and you will see a secret charm in the view of serving him, which will engage your very soul to spring forward with vigor and eagerness to every proper instance of it. The dread of future punishment has certainly its use to restrain from the commission of sin, especially in an hour of pressing temptation; and the hope of that exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which the gospel promises, will have a still greater efficacy upon a generous mind: yet I will venture to say, that a heart powerfully impressed with the love of Jesus will have a stronger influence than either of these. Cordial friendship needs not to be hired to perform its proper office. Love is a law to itself: it adds a delightful relish to every attempt for the service of its object: and it is most evidently thus in the present case.
"Lord," will the Christian say, "wilt thou do me the honor to accept any feeble attempt for thy service which I can form? I thank thee for it, and bow my head before thee in the most grateful acknowledgments, that thou favorest me with an ability to discharge, in any degree, the fullness of my grateful heart in presenting them. O that my whole soul might daily rise before thee as an acceptable sacrifice in the flame of love! O that 309I might always feel my heart enlarged, to run the way of thy commandments! Psal. cxix. 32. Were the degree of my future happiness from this moment invariably fixed, I would still pursue this delightful business; for there is no other in which my soul could find a pleasure equal, or comparable to it." If you feel such thoughts as these rising in your mind, breathe them out before the throne from day to day; and when you have done it, recollect frequently the vows of God that are upon you; (Psal. lvi. 12;) and see, that having sworn, you perform it, (Ps. cxix. 106,) and maintain in the whole of your lives a conduct agreeable to such a profession as this.
9. Gird up the loins of your mind to encounter a great deal of difficulty in your Christian course.
Many are the difficulties that you must expect; great, and possibly for a while increasing difficulties. It is commonly said, indeed, that those difficulties which attend the entrance on a religious life are the greatest; and in themselves considered, no doubt but they are so: they arise from many quarters, and unite all together in the same design of keeping you from a believing application to Christ, and a resolute closure with him. In this respect, evil sometimes arises to a man in his own house; (Matt. x. 35, 36;) and those, whose near relation should rather engage them 310to give the young convert the best assistance where his most important interests are concerned, are on the contrary ready to lay a stumbling block in his way; and perhaps act as if they had rather he should have no religion at all, than change a few circumstances in the outward profession of it. Worldly interest, too, is perhaps to be sacrificed; and conscience cannot be preserved without giving up the friendship of those whom at any other expense but conscience a man would gladly oblige. And it is no wonder if Satan make his utmost efforts, and those very unwearied, too, that he may prevent the revolt of these subjects, or rather the escape of his prisoners. The Christian is therefore called upon by the apostle to arm himself as for a combat, and that at all points; to put on the whole armor of God, that he may be able to withstand in the evil day; and having done all, to stand. Ephes. vi. 11, 13.
Nor must you, my friends, though as soon as you have put on your harness you gain some important victory, boast as if you might securely put it off. 1 Kings xx. 11. Your whole life must be a series of exercise. Through much opposition, as well as much tribulation, you must enter into the kingdom of God: (Luke ix. 62:) and though your difficulties may generally be greatest at first, 311yet your encouragements then may perhaps be so peculiarly great, and your spirits under their first religious impressions so warm, that other difficulties, in themselves smaller, may afterwards press more sensibly upon you. Endeavor therefore to keep yourselves in a prepared posture. Put on a steady resolution; and to support it, sit down and count the cost, lest having begun to build, you shamefully desist and be not able to finish it; (Luke xiv. 28, 30;) or lest having put your hand to the plow, you should look back, and become unfit for the kingdom of God. Luke ix. 62. And therefore,
10. Let every step in this attempt be taken with a deep sense of your own weakness, and on humble dependence upon Divine grace to be communicated to you as the matter requires.
Recollect seriously what I was telling you in a former discourse, of the necessity of a Divine agency and interposition; and remember, it depends upon God, not only to begin the good work, but also to carry it on, and perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. i. 6. If we trust in our hearts, especially after this solemn admonition, this plain instruction, added to such frequent experience, we are fools indeed. Prov. xxviii. 26. Let us therefore trust in the Lord, and not lean to our own understanding. Prov. iii. 5. And do you, 312my friends, who have but just enlisted yourselves in this holy war, every one of you say, with an humble yet cheerful heart, in the name of our God will we set up our banners. Psal. xx. 5. And if thus you wait on the Lord, you shall renew your strength; and even the feeblest soul shall be enabled by Divine grace to mount up with wings as eagles, and to press on from one degree of religious improvement to another, while the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. Isa. xl. 30, 31. The Apostle expresses, in the liveliest manner, his dependence on the Divine Redeemer to communicate this grace in a proper degree, when he says, Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need: (Heb. iv. 16:) plainly implying, that it may be obtained if we have but hearts to seek for it; which, as on the one hand, it effectually takes off all idle excuses for the neglect of our duty, pleaded from our own acknowledged weakness, any further than we are supported by Divine power; so on the other hand it animates the heart, that, sensible of its various infirmities, desires nevertheless to go forth to the work of God, and to consecrate all its faculties to his service; using them, such as they are, for God, and humbly seeking from him the enlargement of them.313
Go, therefore, my friends, into the Divine presence; and while under a sense of this be not discouraged, though mountains of opposition may lie in your way. Those mountains shall be made low, and spread themselves into a plain before you; (Isa. xi. 4;) while you go forth under the influences of the Spirit of the Lord who is able to make all grace abound to his people. 2 Cor. ix. 8. Of this Paul in our text was a most celebrated instance, who not only received, as was here promised, directions what he should do, but had strength also given him to perform it; a strength, which was made perfect and illustrious in his weakness: (2 Cor. xii. 9:) and when, in consequence of this, he had attained to very distinguished improvements in religion, and had been enabled to act up, in the most honorable manner, not only to the Christian character in general, but to that of a minister and an apostle, he acknowledges, in all his abundant labors, that it was not he, but the grace of God that was with him. 1 Cor. xv. 10.
If he be thus with you, my dear friends, you will be established and built up in your most holy faith. Col. ii 7; Jude ver. 20. The most agreeable hopes we form concerning you, when we see you under such serious impressions as this discourse supposes, will be answered; and they who have 314spoken to you the word of God, on such occasions as these, will have the pleasure to think that they have not run in vain. Phil. ii. 16.
And now if these directions, which I have offered to you with great plainness and freedom, but with the sincerest desire of your edification and establishment in religion, be seriously pursued, I shall have the satisfaction of thinking, that though I might find you in the number of the unregenerate when I began these lectures, I shall carry you on along with me in a new character through the only head that yet remains to be handled. I shall indeed address myself to you, as those who were sometimes darkness, but are now light in the Lord, (Eph. v. 8,) when I proceed to address those who have been renewed by Divine grace; which I promised as my last general topic, and with which I shall conclude my discourses on this important subject.315
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