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alas! poor man, his being less evil, at best, could bnt procure him a cooler hell, or a milder flame. This was the case of the young man, Mat. nix. 28. and like a/young men, indeed, he reasons. He sums up all the stock of his civil lise, and thinks it strange if that be not enough to make a purchase of eternal lise. What lack I yet? Alas! poor foul, every thing necessary to salvation; the very first stone was not laid, when he thought the building was ftoished: And this is the case of multitudes, both young and old; and that which greatly confirms, and settles them in this their dangerous security, is the general, indistinct doctrine of some, who pretend to be guides to the fouls of others, the fcope of whose ministry aims at no higher mark, than to civilize the people, and press moral duties upon them, as if this were all that were necessary to salvation: Nay, it is well if some do not industriously pull down the pale of distinction betwixt morality, and regeneration, and tell the world, in plain Eoglilh, That there is no reason to put a, difference betwixt such as are baptized, and live morally honest, and thofe that have saving grace; and they that doso, are only a sew, who are highly conceited of themselves, and censorious of all others, whom they please to vote formal, and moral.
This, indeed, is the way to fix them where they are; if Christ had not taken another method with Nicodemns, and his ministers had not pressed the necessities regeneration, and the insufficiency of moral honesty to salvation, bow thin had the number of true converts been, though, at most, they are but a handful, in comparison of the unregenerate! • . , Q that God would bless what. follows, to undeceive, and saW) some poor soul out of this dangerous snare of the devil! The twelfth way to damnation barred, by three considerations. 1. Blind not yourselves with the lustre of your own moral virtues, a lise smoothly drawn with civility through the world: for though it must be acknowledged there is a loveliness, and attracting sweetness in morality, and civility, yet these things rather respect earth, than heaven, and are designed for the conservation of the order, and peace of this world, not for your salvation, and title to the world to come. Without justice, and truth, kingdoms, and commonwealths would become mountains of prey, and deni es robbery. "Where there is. no trust, there can be no traffic; and where there is no truth, therecan be no trust. Civility is the very basis of human society, a work! of good accrues to man by it, and abundance of mischief is prevented by it; but it never gave any man an interest in Christ, or a title to salvation^ The Romans and Lacedemonians, who perished in the darkness of Heathenism, excelled in morality; there is nothing of Christ, or regeneration, in these things, how much of excellency soever be ascribed to them. Paul/ the Pharisee, was a blameless person, touching the law, apsti yet, at the lame time, not only utterly ignorant of Christ^ but a bitter enemy to him, and all that were h'13. Till yoti can find another way to heaven than by regeneration, repentance, and faith, never lean upon such a deceitful, and rotten prop, as mere civility is.
2. Civilized nature is unfanRsied nature still; and without fanUsication there is no salvation, Heb. xii. 14. Civility adorneth nature, but doth not change it. Moral virtues are so many sweet flowers strewed over a dead corpse, which hide the lothsomeness of it, but inspire not lise into it. "* Morality hides, "and covers, but never mortifies, nor cures the corruptions of "nature;" and mortified they must be, or you cannot be saved: take the best nature in the world, and let it be adorned with all the ornaments of morality (which they call homUetical virtues) and add to these all the common gifts of the Spirit, which are for assistance, and ministry; yet all this cannot secure that soul from hell, or be the ground-work for a just claim to -any promise of salvation: all this is but nature improved, net regenerated. Morality is neither produced as saving grace is, nor works such efsects as grace worketh; there are no pangs of repentance introducing it, it may cost many an aking head, but no aking heart for sin; no such distressed outcries as that, Acts ii. 37. "Men, and brethren, what shall we do?" Nor doth it produce such humility, self abasement, heavenly temper's, and tendencies of soul, as grace doth. Cheat not yourselves, therefore, info important a concern as salvation is, with an empty shadow.
3. Civility is not only found in multitudes that are out of Christ, but may be the cause, and reason why they are christless: mistake not, I am not pleading the cause of prophaneness, nor disputing civility out of the world; I heartily wish there were more of it to be found in every place, it would exceedingly promote the peace, order, and tranquillity of the world: but yet it is certain, that the eyes of thousands are so dazzled with the lustre of their own morality, that they see no need of Christ, nor ftel any want of his righteousness, and this is the ruin of their louls. Thus Christ brings in the Pharisee with his proud
* jibscondit, non alscondit vita, Lactans.
boast, that he is "no extortioner, adulterer, nor unjust, or such "an one as that publican," Luke xviii. 11. O what a saint doth he vote himself, when he compared his lise with the other's! "Well, then, beware you be not deceived by thinking you are lise, because you are got out of the dirty road to hell, when, all the while, you are only stepped over the hedge into a cleaner path to damnation. You have had a short account of jome jew of thofe many ways in which the precious fouls of men are eternally lost: Let us briefly apply it in the following inferences.
Infer. 1. If there be lo many ways of losing the foul, and such multitudes of fouls lost in every one of them, then the number ofsaved fouls must needs he exceeding smalt.
The number of the laved may be considered, either absolutely or comparatively: In the first consideration they appear great, and many, even a great multitude, which no man can number, Rev. vii. 9. but if compared with thole that are lost, they make but a small remnant lsa. i. 9. a littleslock, Mat. xii. 32. For when we consider how vastly the kingdom ot Satan is extended, who is called the god of this world, from the world of people who are in subjection to him: how small a part of this earthly globe is enlightened with the beams of goiptl-light, and-that Satan is the acknowledged ruler of all the rest, Eph. vi. 12. But when it shall be sarther considered, that out of this spot, ou which the light of thegolpel is risen, the sar greatest part are lost, also: O what a poor handful remains to Jesus Christ, as the purchase of his blood!
It is of trembling consideration, how'many thousands of samilies, amongst us, are mere nurseries for hell, parents bringing forth and breeding up children for the devil; not one word or" God (except it be in the way of blasphemy, or prophaneness) to be heard among them. How naturally their ignorant and wicked education puts them in the course and tide of the world, which carries them away irresistibly to hell; how one sinner confirms and animates another, in the same sinful course, till they are all past hope, or remedy: how the rich are taken with the baits of sensual pleasures, and the poor lost in the brake of distracting, worldly cares, except here and there a soul plucked out of the snare of the devil, by the wonderful power, and arm' of God. On the one fide, you may see multitudes drowned in open prophaneness, and debauchery; and, on the other fide, many thousands securely steeping, in the state of civility, and morality: some key-cold, and without the least sense of rtligion; others hell-hot, with blind zeal, and superstitious madness, against true godliness, aud the sincere practiscrs of it. Some living alt their days under the ordinances of God, and sever touched with any conviction of their fin, or misery; others convinced, and making some saint ofsers at religion; but their convictions (like blossoms nipt with a frosty morning) sall off, and no fruit follows. And as rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, are very sew, in comparison of the pebbles, and common Jlones of the earth; so are true Christians, in comparison of multitudes that perish in the snares of Satan.
Inser. 2- Horn little reason have the unregenerate to glory, and toast themselves in their earthly acquisitions andjuccesses, whilst in the mean time, their souh are lost i they have gotten other things. but lost their soule, It is strange to see how some men, by rolling a small fortune up and down the world (as boys do a show-ball) have increased the heap, and raised a great estate; 'they have attained their design and aim in the world, and hug themselves in the pleased thoughts of their happiness; but, alas, among all the thoughts of their gains, there is not one thought of what they have lest. 0 (f such a thought as this could find room in their hearts, 'I have, indeed, gotten an estate, but I 'have lost my soul; I have much of the world, but nothing of
* Christ; gold and silver I have, but grace, peace and pardon I
* have not; my body is well provided for, but my foul is aa
* ked, empty, and destitute.' Such a thought, like the sentence written on the wall, would make their hearts sail within them. "What a rapture, and transport of joy did the sight of a full barn cast that worldling into! Luke xii. io, 20. "Soul, take thine "ease, eat, drink, and be merry;" little dreaming that death was just thin at the door, to take away the cloth, guest, and all together; that the next hour his friends would be scrambliog for his estate, the worms for his body, and the devil for his soul.
O how many have not only lost their fouls, whilst they have been drudeing for the world, but have sold their sods to purchase a little of the-world! parted, by consent, with their best treasure for a very trifle, and yet think they have a great bargain of it! Surely, if poor sinners did but apprehend what they have lost, as well as what they have gained, their gains would yield them as little comfort as Judas's money did, for which he sold both his foul and Saviour. Instead of those pleasing frolics of wanton worldlings, what a cold shiver would run through all their bones and bowels, did they but understand what it is to lose a gracious God, and a precious soul, and both eternally, aad irrecoverably!
The just Cod remains still to avenge and punish the sinner; but the savour of God, that friendly look, is gone ; tfte peace of God, that heaven upon earth, is gone; the essence of the soul remains still, but its purity, peace, joy, hope, and happiness, these are gone; and these being gone, what can remain, but a tormenting, piercing sight of those things, for which you have fold them?
Inser. 3. Hence let us estimate the evil of sin, and fee -what a dreadful thing that is, which men commonly sport themselves with, and make so tight of: it is not only a wrong and injury to the foul, but the lofs and utter ruin of the foul for ever.
It is said, Prov. viii. 36. "He that finneth against me, wrong"eth his own soul." And if this were all the mischief sin did uB, it were bad enough; a wrong to the soul is a greater evil than the ruin of the body or estate, and all the outward enjoyments of this lise can be; but to lose the precious foul, and destroy it to all eternity, O what can estimate such a loss! Now the result and last efsect of sin, is death, the death of the precious soul. Rom. vi. 21. " The end of those things is death." So Ezek. xviji. 4. "The soul that sinneth shall die."
Sio doth not destroy the being of the soul by annihilation, but it doth that which the damned shall find, and acknowledge to be much worse; it cuts off the soul from God, and deprives it of all its selicity, joy, and pleasure, which consists in the enjoyment of him. Such is the dolefulpess and fcarfulnefs of this result and issue of fin, that when God himself speaks of it, he puts on a passion, and speaks of it with the most seeling concernment. Elek. xxxiii. 11. "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no plea"fore in the death of the wicked: Turn ye, turn ye, for why "will ye die, O house of Israel?" q. d. Why will ye wilfully cast away your own souls? Why will ye chuse the pleasures of lin for a season, at the price of my wrath and fury, poured out for ever 5 O think of this, you that make so light a matter of committing sin! we pity those, who, in the depth of melancholy or desperation, lay violent hands upon themselves, and, in a desperate mood, cut their own throats; but certainly, for a man to murder his own soul, is an act of wickedness as much beyond k, as the value of the soul is above the body.
Inser. 4. What an invaluable mercy is Jesus Christ to the nuorld, who came on purpofe to seek, and to save such as were hfi?
In Adam all were shipwrecked and cast away: Christ is the plank of mercy, let down from heaven to save some. The loss of souls, by the sall, had been as irrecoverable, as the loss of the sallen angels,, had not Gpd, Id a way above all human thoughts,