Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
~ John 1:13
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
~ James 1:17
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
~ John 3:5
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
~ 1 Corinthians 11:16
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
~ Ezekiel 18:4
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
~ Galatians 2:16
Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
~ Deuteronomy 27:26
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
~ Romans 3:19-20
Showing the Miseries of the Unconverted, and Directions for Conversion, by Joseph Alleine. The following contains excerpts from Chapters Five and Six of his work, “An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners, In a Serious Treatise.
Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3.3.
…it pronounces indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, to every soul that does evil. Rom 2.8-9 It curses every one who does not continue to do everything that is written in the law. Gal. 3.10
The justice of God, to the unpardoned sinner who has any sense of his misery, is more terrible than the sight of the bailiff or creditor is to the bankrupt debtor; than judge and bench are to the robber; or irons and gallows are to the guilty murderer. “When justice sits upon life and death, oh, what dreadful work it makes with the wretched sinner! Bind him hand and foot; throw him into utter darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 22.13 Depart from me you cursed, into everlasting fire. Mat 25.41 This is the terrible sentence that justice pronounces. Sinner, why must you be tried by this severe justice? As God lives, you will hear this death sentence unless you repent and are converted.
Secondly, The holiness of God is full of antipathy against you. Psa 5.4-5 He is not only angry with you (as he may be with his own children), but he has a fixed, rooted, habitual displeasure against you; he loathes you, Zech. 11.8, and he loathes what you do, even though he may have commanded the substance of it.1 It is as if a man gave his servant very good meat to prepare; yet if the servant mingled filth or poison with it, the man would not touch it. God’s nature is infinitely contrary to sin, and so he can but hate a sinner who is out of Christ.
Oh, what a misery this is, to be out of the favour, indeed, under the hatred of God! 2 God might as easily lay aside his nature, and cease to be God, as not to oppose you, and detest you, unless you are changed and renewed by grace. O sinner, how dare you think of the bright and radiant sun of purity, or think upon the beauties, the glory of holiness that is in God! Even the stars are not pure in his sight.Job 25.5 He humbles himself to behold things in the heavens.Psa 113.6 Oh, those light and sparkling eyes of his! What they spy in you! Nor do you have any part in Christ for which he would plead for you. I think you would cry out, astonished like the Bethshemites, Who can stand before this holy Lord God? 1Sam. 6.20
Thirdly, The power of God is mounted like a mighty cannon against you. The glory of God’s power is displayed in the horrific confusion and destruction of those who don’t obey the gospel. 2Thes 1.8-9 He will make his power known in them.Rom 9.22 How mightily he can torment them! For this end he raises them up: that he might make his power known.Rom 9.17 O man, are you able to make a good contest with your Maker? It is no more than a silly reed against the cedars of God, or a little rowboat against the tumbling ocean, or children’s bubbles against the blustering winds.
Sinner, the power of God’s anger is against you! Psa 90.11 Power and anger together make fearful work. It would be better if you had all the world in arms against you, than to have the power of God against you. There is no escaping his hands, no escaping his prison. “Who can understand the thunder of his power?” Job 26.14 Unhappy is the man who would understand it by experiencing it! “If he would contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand times. He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against him and prospered? He removes the mountains, and they don’t know it. He overturns them in his anger. He shakes the earth out of her place and its pillars tremble. He commands the sun and it does not rise; and he seals up the stars. Behold, he takes away and who can stop him? Who will say to him, What are you doing? If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers bend under him.” Job 9.3-7, 12-13 And are you a fit match for such an antagonist? Oh, consider this — you who forget God — lest he tear you in pieces and there is none to deliver
1 Isa 1.14; Mal 1.10 2 Ecc 5.4; Hos. 9.15
you. Psa 50.22 Submit to mercy. Don’t let dust and stubble stand against the Almighty. Don’t set briars and thorns against him in battle, lest he go through them and consume them together; but lay hold of his strength, that you may make peace with him.Isa 27.4-5 Woe to him that strives with his Maker, Isa 45.9
Fourthly, The wisdom of God is set to ruin you. He has fixed his arrows, and prepared the instruments of death, and made everything ready.Psa 7.12-13 His plans are against you to devise your destruction.Jer 18.11 He laughs to himself to see how you will be taken and ensnared in the evil day.Psa 37.13
The Lord will laugh at him, for he sees that his day is coming. He sees how you will come down mightily in a moment; how you will wring your hands, and tear your hair, and eat your flesh, and gnash your teeth out of anguish and an astonished heart, when you see you have fallen without remedy into the pit of destruction.
Fifthly, The truth of God is sworn against you.Psa 95.11 If he is true and faithful, you must perish if you go on this way.Luk 13.3 Unless he is false to his word, you must die unless you repent.Eze 33.11 If we don’t believe, he still abides faithful; he cannot deny himself;2Tim 2.13 that is, he is faithful to his threats as well as to his promises. And if we don’t believe, he will show his faithfulness in our confusion. God has told you as plain as it can be spoken, that if he does not wash you, you have no part in him;Joh 13.8 that if you live after the flesh, you will die;Rom 8.13 that unless you are converted, you will in no way enter into the kingdom of heaven.Mat 18.3 And he remains faithful: he cannot deny himself. Beloved, just as the immutable faithfulness of God in his promise and oath affords believers strong consolation,Heb 6.18 it also affords un-believers strong consternation and confusion. O sinner, tell me: what rationalizations do you make when you think of all the threats of God’s word that stand on record against you? Do you believe their truth, or not? If not, then you are a wretched infidel, and not a Christian; therefore give up the name and the hopes of a Christian.
But if you do believe them, then you must have a heart of steel that you can calmly walk up and down when the truth and faithfulness of God is engaged to destroy you! If God Almighty can do it, then you will surely perish and be damned. Why man, the whole book of God testifies against you while you remain unsanctified: it condemns you on every page. It is like Ezekiel’s scroll to you: written inside and out with lamentation, and mourning, and woe.Eze 2.9-10 And all this will surely come upon you, and overtake you,Deu 28.15 unless you repent. Heaven and earth will pass away, but not one jot or tittle of this word will ever pass away.1
Now put all this together, and tell me if the case of the unconverted is not deplorably miserable? Just as we read of those who bound themselves by an oath and a curse to kill Paul,Act 23.12 so you must know, O sinner, to your terror, that all the attributes of the infinite God are bound in an oath to destroy you.Heb 3.28 O man! What will you do? Where will you flee? If God’s omniscience can find you, you will not escape. If the true and faithful God will keep his oath, then you must perish unless you believe and repent. If the Almighty has the power to torment you, you will be perfectly miserable in soul and body for all eternity, unless it is prevented by your speedy conversion.
II. The whole creation of God is against you. The whole creation (says Paul) groans and travails in pain.Rom 8.22 But what is it that the creation groans under? Why, the tearful abuse that it is
1 Mat 5.18
subject to in serving the lusts of unsanctified men. And what is it that the creation groans for? Why, for freedom and liberty from this abuse: for the creature is unwillingly subject to this bondage.Rom 8.19-21 If the unreasonable and inanimate creatures had speech and reason, they would cry out under it as insufferable bondage to be abused by the ungodly, contrary to their natures and contrary to the ends that the great Creator made them for. A passage from an eminent divine1 says, “The liquor that the drunkard drinks, if it had a man’s reason to know how shamefully it is being abused and spoiled, it would groan in the barrels against the drunkard; it would groan in the cup against him; groan in his throat and in his belly against him; it would fly in his face, if it could speak. And if God were to open the mouths of the creatures, as he opened the mouth of Balaam’s ass, the proud man’s garments on his back would groan against him. There is no such creature that, if it had reason to know how it is abused, would not groan against the man until he converted. The land would groan to bear him; the air would groan to give him breath; their houses would groan to lodge them; their beds would groan to ease them; their food would groan to nourish them; their clothes would groan to cover them; and the creature would groan to give them any help and comfort, as long as they live in sin against God.” I think this should be a terror to an unconverted soul: to think that he is a burden to the creation.Luk 13.7
Cut it down, why should it encumber the ground? If the poor inanimate creatures could only speak, they would say to the ungodly, as Moses said to Israel, Must we fetch you water out of the rock, you rebels? Num. 20.10 Your food would say, “Lord, must I nourish such a wretch as this, and yield my strength for him to dishonour you with it? No, I would rather choke him, if you will give me permission.” The very air would say, “Lord, must I give this man breath to set his tongue against heaven, and scorn your people, and vent his pride, and wrath, and filthy communication, and belch out oaths and blasphemy against you? No, if you just say the word, he will be breathless for me.” His poor beast would say, “Lord, must I carry him for his wicked plans? No, I will break his bones; I would rather end his days, if I may only have your permission.” The earth groans under a wicked man, and hell groans for him, until death satisfies both and unburdens the earth, and shuts the mouth of hell with him. While the Lord of hosts is against you, be sure the hosts of the Lord are against you, and all the creatures (as it were) are up in arms against you until, upon your conversion, the controversy between God and you ends, and a covenant of peace with the creatures is made for you.2
III. The roaring lion has his full power upon you.1Pet 5.8 You are held fast in the paw of that lion which is greedy to devour you. You are in the snare of the devil, led captive by him at his will.2Tim 2.26 This is the spirit that works in the children of disobedience.Eph 2.2 They are his drudges,3 and they do his lusts. He is the ruler of darkness of this world,Eph 6.12, that is, the ruler of ignorant sinners who live in darkness. You pity the poor Indians that worship the devil as their God, but seldom think this is your own case. Why, it is the common misery of all the unsanctified, that the devil is their God. 2Cor 4.4 They don’t intend to pay him homage and worship him; they would defy him and anyone who said this about them; yet all the while they serve him; they come and go at his beck, and they live under his government. You are servants of the one to whom you yield yourselves as obedient servants.Rom 6.16 Oh, how many then will be found real servants of the devil, who consider themselves the children of God! The devil no sooner offers a sinful delight, or an opportunity for your unlawful advantage, than you embrace it. If he suggests a lie or he prompts you to revenge, you readily obey. If he forbids you to read or to pray, you
1 Unknown reference — WHG
2 Job 5.22-24; Hos. 2.18-20
3 A laborer who is obliged to do menial work.
listen to him. Therefore you are his servants. Indeed, he lies behind the curtain; he acts in the dark, and sinners don’t see who sets them to work. But all the while he leads them on a string. Doubtless the liar does not intend it to be a service to Satan, but to his own advantage; yet it is Satan that stands in the corner unobserved, and puts the thing into his heart.1 Unquestionably, when Judas sold his Master for money, and when the Chaldeans and Sabeans plundered Job, they did not intend to do the devil a favor; they intended only to satisfy their own covetous thirst; yet it was the devil that actuated them in their wickedness.2 Men may indeed be slaves and common drudges for the devil, and never know it. In fact, they may think they enjoy a happy liberty.2Pet 2.19
Are you still in ignorance, and not yet turned from darkness to light? Why, you are under the power of Satan! Act 26.18 Do you live in the ordinary and wilful practice of any known sin? Then know that you are of the devil.1Joh 3.8 Do you live in strife, or envy, or malice? Truly he is your father.Joh 8.40-41 Oh, dreadful case! However Satan may provide his slaves with various pleasures,Tit. 3.3 it is merely to roll them into endless perdition. The serpent comes with the apple in his mouth, Oh, but (as with Eve) you don’t see the deadly sting in his tail. The one who is now the tempter, will be one day your tormenter. Oh, that I could let you see how black a master you serve, how filthy a drudgery you do, how merciless a tyrant you gratify! His whole pleasure is to put you to work to make your perdition and damnation sure, and to heat the furnace hotter and hotter in which you must burn for millions and millions of ages.
IV. The guilt of your sins lies like a mountain upon you. Poor soul! You don’t feel it, but this is what seals your misery. While unconverted, none of your sins are blotted out,Act 3.19 they are all on the score against you: regeneration and remission are never separated; the unsanctified are unquestionably unjustified and unpardoned.3 Beloved, it is a fearful thing to be in debt, but above all to be in God’s debt; for there is no arrest so formidable as his, no prison so horrible as his. Look upon an enlightened sinner, who feels the weight of his own guilt: Oh, how frightful are his looks, how fearful are his complaints! His comforts are turned into wormwood,4 his moisture into drought,Psa 32.4 and sleep has departed from his eyes.Gen 31.40 He is a terror to himself and to all that are around him. He is ready to envy the very stones that lie in the street because they are senseless, and don’t feel his misery. He wishes he had been a dog, or a toad, or a serpent, rather than a man, because then death would have put an end to his misery; whereas now it will be just the beginning of what will know no end.
However light you may make of it now, you will one day find the guilt of unpardoned sin to be a heavy burden. This is a millstone that breaks whoever falls on it; and on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.Mat 21.44 What work it made for our Saviour! It pressed the very blood out of his veins, and broke all his bones. If it did this in the green tree, what will it do in the dry?
Oh, think of your ease later. Can you think of this threat without trembling:
You will die in your sins? Joh 8.24 Oh, it would be better for you to die in a prison, or to die in a ditch or a dungeon, than die in your sins. If death would take away your sins too, just as it will
1 Act 5.2; Joh 8.44
2 Joh 13.27. Job 1.12, 15, 17
3 1Cor 6.11; 1Pet 1.2; Heb 9.14
4 Wormwood is a bitter and poisonous root. The reference is Amos 6.12.
take away all your other comforts, it would be some mitigation. But your sins will follow you when your friends leave you, and all your worldly enjoyments say good-bye to you. Your sins will not die with you 1 as a prisoner’s other debts will. Instead, they will go to judgment with you, to be your accusers there: and they will go to hell with you, to be your tormentors there. Better to have many fiends and furies around you, than to have your sins fall upon you, and fasten to you. Oh, the work that these will make for you! Look over your debts in time! How much are you in the ledgers of every one of God’s laws? Every one of God’s commandments is ready to arrest you, and take you by the throat for the innumerable bonds it has on you. What will you do then, when they accumulate against you? Hold open the eyes of your conscience to consider this, so that you may despair of yourself and be driven to Christ, and flee for refuge to lay hold of the hope that is set before you. Heb 6.18
V. Your raging lusts miserably enslave you. While unconverted, you are a servant to sin. It reigns over you and holds you under its dominion, until you are brought within the bonds of God’s covenant.2 Now there’s no other tyrant like sin.
Oh, the filthy and fearful work that it engages its servants in! Would it not pierce a man’s heart to see a company of poor creatures drudging and toiling, to carry both kindling and fuel for their own burning? Why, this is the employment of sin’s drudges: even while they bless themselves in their unrighteous gains, even while they swing and swill in pleasures, they are but treasuring up wrath and vengeance for their eternal burnings; they are but storing up powder and bullets, and adding to the pile of Tophet, pouring oil on the fire to make the flame rage all the fiercer. Who would serve a master whose work is drudgery, and whose wages is death? Rom 6.23
What a woeful spectacle was that poor wretch who was possessed with the legion! Wouldn’t it have grieved your heart to see him among the tombs, cutting and wounding himself? Mar 5.5 This is your case; such is your work; every stroke is a thrust at your heart.1Tim 6.10 Conscience is now asleep, but when death and judgment bring you to your senses, then you will feel the raging pain and anguish of every wound. The convicted sinner is a tangible instance of the miserable bondage of sin: conscience flies upon him, and tells him what the end of these things will be: and yet he is such a slave to his lust, that he must continue, even though he sees it will be his endless perdition. And when temptation comes, lust gets the bit in his mouth, breaks all the cords of his vows and promises, and carries him headlong to his own destruction.
VI. The furnace of eternal vengeance is heated — ready for you.Isa 30.33 Hell and destruction open their mouths for you, they gape for you, they groan for you,Isa 5.14 waiting with a greedy eye as you stand on the brink, and when you drop in. If the wrath of man is like the roaring of a lion,Pro 20.2 and heavier than sand,Pro 27.3 then what is the wrath of the infinite God? Nebuchadnezzar in his fiery rage commanded the burning furnace to be heated seven times hotter. If that furnace was fierce enough to burn even those who drew near to throw the three children in,Dan. 3.19, 22 then how hot is the burning oven of the Almighty’s fury? Mal 4.1 Surely this is seventy times seven more fierce. What do you think, O man, of becoming a bundle of sticks in hell for all eternity? Can your heart endure, or can your hand be strong in the day when I will deal with you? says the Lord of hosts.Eze 22.14 Can you dwell with everlasting burnings? Can you abide the consuming fire, when you are like a glowing iron in hell, and your whole body and soul are as perfectly possessed by God’s burning vengeance, as the fiery sparkling iron is when heated in the fiercest forge? Ezek 22.20 If you cannot bear God’s whip, how then will you endure his
1 2Cor 5.10; Rev 20.12
2 Joh 8.34, 36; Tit. 3.3; Rom 6.12, 14; 6.16-17
scorpion? If you are crushed, and ready to wish yourself dead under the weight of his finger, how then will you bear the weight of his thighs?
The most patient man who ever was, cursed the day he was born,Job. 3.1 and even wished death to come and end his misery when God let out just one little drop of his wrath. Job. 7.15-16 How then will you endure when God pours out all of his vials, and sets himself against you to torment you? When he makes your conscience the tunnel by which he pours his burning wrath into your soul forever? And when he fills all your powers as full of torment as they are now filled with sin? When immortality will be your misery; and to die the death of a brute, and be swallowed into the gulph of annihilation, will be such a felicity that an eternity of wishes and an ocean of tears will never purchase it? Now you can put off the evil day, and you can laugh and be merry, and forget the terror of the Lord.2Cor 5.11 But then how will you hold out, or hold up, when God throws you into a bed of torments,Rev 2.21 and makes you lie down in sorrows?Isa 1.11 How will you hold out when screams and blasphemy are your only music and the wine of God’s wrath, which is poured without mixture into the cup of his indignation, is your only drink? Rev 14.10 How will you hold out when you draw your breath in the flames, and the horrid stench of sulphur is your only perfume? In a word, when the smoke of your torment ascends forever and ever, and you have no rest night nor day — no rest in your conscience, no ease in your bones; instead, you will be an execration, an astonishment, a curse and a reproach forevermore! Jer 42.18
O sinner! Stop here, and consider! If you are a man, and not a senseless block, consider! Think to yourself where you stand. Why, you’re on the very brink of this furnace! As the Lord lives, and your soul lives, there is just a step between you and this.1Sam. 20.3 You don’t know when you lie down, whether you may be in that furnace before the morning. You don’t know when you rise, whether you may drop into it before the night. Do you dare make light of this? Will you go on in such a dreadful condition as if nothing ailed you? If you put it off and say it doesn’t affect you, look over the foregoing chapter again, and tell me the truth: are none of these black marks found on you? Don’t blind your eyes; don’t deceive yourself; see your misery while you may still prevent it. Think what it is to be a vile outcast, a damned reprobate, a vessel of wrath into which the Lord will pour his tormenting fury as long as the man has a being.Rom 9.22
Divine wrath is a fierce, Deu 32.22 devouring, Isa 33.14 everlasting,Mat 25.41 unquenchable fire,Mat 3.12 and your soul and body must be the fuel on which it will feed forever — unless you consider your ways, and speedily turn to the Lord by sound conversion. Those who have only been singed by this fire, and had no more than the smell of it on them, oh, what amazing spectacles they have been!
Whose heart would not have melted to hear Spira’s1 outcries? Or to have seen Chaloner,2 that monument of justice, worn to skin and bones, blaspheming the God of heaven, cursing himself, and continually crying out, Oh, torture, torture, torture! Oh, torture, torture! It was as if the flames of wrath had already taken hold on him. To have heard Rogers3 crying out, I have had a little pleasure, but now I must go to hell forevermore; wishing only for this mitigation: that God
1 Francis Spira (d. 1548) was an Italian lawyer who became a Protestant but apostatized. He died in despair thinking himself to be a reprobate. See Surgeon’s Sermon No. 547.
2 Which “Chaloner” this refers to is unknown. It is not Thomas Chaloner, who authored Moses his Tombe (1656). Thomas Chaloner opposed Oliver Cromwell, Presbyterian rule, and religion in general. However, Thomas Chaloner was not burned at the stake. He was excluded from Parliament, then left England, and died in Holland in 1661.
3 It is unknown which Rodgers this refers to.
would just let him lie burning forever behind the back of that fire (on the earth) — still bringing this sad conclusion, after whatever else was said to afford him some hope, “I must go to hell, I must go to the furnace of hell for millions of millions of ages!” Oh, if the fears and forethought of the wrath to come is so terrible, so intolerable, what is the feel of it?
Sinner, it is in vain to flatter you; this would only summon you into the unquenchable fire. Know from the living God that here you must lie; you must dwell with these burnings until immortality dies and immutability changes; until eternity runs out and ominipotence is no longer able to torment — unless in good earnest you are renewed throughout by sanctifying grace.
VII. The law discharges all its threats and curses at you.1 Oh, how dreadfully it thunders! It spits fire and brimstone in your face: its words are like drawn swords and the sharp arrows of the mighty: it demands satisfaction to the utmost, and it cries, “Justice, justice!”
It speaks blood and war against you, wounds and death. The execration, plagues, and deaths that this murdering piece is loaded with! (Deu 28.15-16, etc.) You are the target at which this shot is leveled, O man! Run away to the stronghold! Zech. 9.12 Run away from your sins and hasten to the sanctuary, to the city of refuge,Heb 13.13 even the Lord Jesus Christ. Hide yourself in him, or else you are lost and without any hope of recovery.
VIII. The gospel itself binds on you the sentence of eternal damnation.Mar 16.16 If you continue in your impenitent and unconverted state, know that the gospel announces a much worse condemnation than would ever have been levied for the transgression only of the first covenant. Isn’t it dreadful to have the gospel fill its mouth with threats, thunder, and damnation, and to have the Lord roar from mount Sion against you? Joel 3.16 Hear the terror of the Lord: He that does not believe will be damned. Unless you repent, you will all perish.Luk 13.3 Isn’t this the condemnation: that light has come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light? Joh 3.19 The wrath of God abides on the one who does not believe, Joh 3.36. If the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received its just reward, then how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Heb 2.2-3
Anyone that despised Moses’ law died without mercy: how much worse punishment will someone be thought worthy of, who has trampled underfoot the Son of God? Heb 10.28-29
Application. Is this true indeed? Is this your misery? Yes, it is as true as God is true. Better open your eyes and see it now while you may remedy it, than blind and harden yourself till, to your eternal sorrow, you feel what you would not believe. And if it is true, then what do you mean by loitering and lingering in such a state?
Alas for you, poor man! Sin has effectually undone you. It has deprived and despoiled you even of your reason to look after your own everlasting good. O miserable caitiff!2 What stupidity and senselessness has surprised you! Oh let me kick and awake this sleeper who dwells within the walls of this flesh. Is there a soul here, a rational understanding soul? Or are you only a walking ghost, a senseless lump? Are you a reasonable soul and yet so brutish that you forget your immortal soul, and think you are like the beasts who perish? Are you turned into flesh so that you savour nothing but gratifying your senses, and making provision for your flesh? Or else, having enough reason to understand the eternity of your future estate, do you still make light of being everlastingly miserable? This is so far below a brute, and so much worse! It’s acting
1 Gal. 3.10; Rom 7
2 A cowardly and despicable person
against reason rather than acting without it. O unhappy soul! You were the glory of man, the friend of angels, and the image of God! You were God’s representative in the world, and had supremacy among the creatures, and dominion over your Maker’s works! Have you now become a slave to your appetites, a slave to so base an idol as your belly? And you do it for no higher felicity than to fill yourself with the vapor of man’s applause, or heaping together a little refined earth which is no more suitable to your spiritual and immortal nature than dirt and sticks? Oh, why don’t you think where you will be forever? Death is at hand; the Judge is at the door! Jas. 5.9 Just a little while, and time will be no more.Rev 10.5-6 And you would run the risk of continuing in such a state which, if you are overtaken, you are irrecoverably miserable?
Come then! Arise and attend to your immediate concerns. Tell me, where are you going? What! Will you live in such a course of life, in which every act is a step toward perdition, and you don’t know whether you may make your bed in hell the next night? Oh, if you have a spark of reason, then consider and turn! Listen to your true friend, who wants to show you your present misery so that you might make your escape in time, and be eternally happy.
Hear what the Lord says, Do you not fear me? says the Lord: will you not tremble at my presence? Jer 5.22 O sinners, do you make light of the wrath to come? Mat 3.7 I am sure there is a time coming when you will not make light of it. Why, the devils themselves believe and tremble, Jas. 2.19 What! Are you more hardened than they?
Will you run along the cliff’s edge? Will you play at the asp’s hole? Will you put your hand on the cokatrice’s1 den? Will you dance around the fire until you are burnt? Or dally with devouring wrath as if you were indifferent whether you escape it or endure it? O madness of folly! You are Solomon’s madman, who throws fire-brands, and arrows, and death, and says, I was only joking! Pro 26.18-19 There is nothing so oblivious as the wilful sinner,Luk 15.17 who goes on in his unconverted estate, without sense, as if nothing ailed him. The man who runs into the cannon’s mouth, who gambles with his blood, or spends his life in frolic, is sensible, sober, and serious, compared to the one who continues in his trespasses.Psa 68.21 For he stretches out his hand against God, and stiffens himself against the Almighty. He runs at him, stubbornly, on the thick embossments of his shield.Job. 15.25-26. Is it wisdom to dally with the second death, or to venture into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone Rev 21.8 as if you were only going to wash yourself, or swim for your recreation? Will you, as it were, fetch your cloak, and jump into the eternal flames, like children jump through the bonfire? What will I say? I can find no expression, no comparison, by which to present the dreadful indifference of that soul who goes on in sin.
Awake, awake! Eph 5.14 O sinner! Arise and take your flight! There is only one door that you may flee by, and that is the narrow door of conversion and the new birth.
Unless you turn sincerely from all your sins, and come into Jesus Christ, and take him for the Lord your righteousness, and walk in him in holiness and newness of life, then as the Lord lives, it is no more certain that you are now out of hell, than you will without fail be in it just a few days and nights from now. Oh, set your heart to think of your case. Is it not your everlasting misery or else your welfare that deserves a little consideration? Look again over the miseries of the unconverted. If the Lord has not spoken by me, then disregard me; but if it is the very word of God that all this misery lies upon you, then what a state you are in! Does it make sense for
1 Mythical monster hatched by a reptile from a cock’s egg; able to kill with a glance.
someone to live in such a condition, and not make all possible haste to prevent his utter ruin? O man! Who has bewitched you,Gal. 3.1 that in the matters of this present life you are wise enough to forecast your business, foresee your danger, and prevent your mischief; but in matters of everlasting consequence you are deficient and careless, as if they little concerned you? Why is it nothing to you to have all the attributes of God engaged against you? Can you do well without his favour? Can you escape his hands, or endure his vengeance? Do you hear the creation groaning under you, and hell groaning for you, and yet think your case is good enough? Are you in the paw of the lion, under the power of corruption, in the dark and smelly prison, fettered with your lusts, working out your own damnation, and this isn’t worth considering? Will you make light of all the terrors of the law, of all its curses and thunderbolts, as if they were just the sound of children’s pop-guns, or as if you were going to wage war with their paper pellets? Do you laugh at hell and destruction? Or can you drink the envenomed cup of the Almighty’s fury, as if it were just a common potion?
Gird your loins now like a man, for I will demand of you, and you answer me:Job 40.7 are you such a Leviathan that the scales of your pride will keep your Maker from coming after you? Will you consider his arrows as straw, and the instruments of death as rotten wood? Are you chief of all the children of pride, that you should consider his arrows stubble, and laugh at the shaking of his spear? Are you made without fear, and do you disdain his barbed irons? Job 41 Are you like the horse that paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength — who goes out to meet the armed men? Do you mock fear, and are not frightened? Don’t you turn from God’s sword when his quiver rattles against you, or from his glittering spear and shield? Job 39.21-23 Well, if the threats and calls of the Word will neither frighten nor awaken you, then I am sure death and judgment will. Oh, what will you do when the Lord comes out against you, and in his fury he falls upon you, and you feel what you read here? When Daniel’s enemies were cast into the den of lions — they and their wives and their children — the lions had mastery over them, and broke all their bones into pieces before they ever got to the bottom of the den.Dan. 6.24 What then will be done to you when you fall into the hands of the living God? When he grips you in his iron arms, and grinds and crushes you to a thousand pieces in his wrath? Don’t contend with God then. Repent and be converted now, so none of this will come upon you.Isa 55.6-7 Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
CHAP. VI — DIRECTIONS FOR CONVERSION.
Mark 10.17. And one came, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good master, what must I do that I may inherit eternal life?
BEFORE you read these directions, I advise you — indeed, I charge you before God and his holy angels — to resolve to follow them (as far as your conscience is convinced they are agreeable to God’s word and to your estate); call in his assistance and blessing so that they may succeed. And because I have sought the Lord, and consulted his precepts as to what advice to give you, you must entertain it with that awe, reverence, and purpose of obedience that the word of the living God requires.
Now then, attend to my words; set your heart to all that I will testify to you this day, for it is not an empty thing; it is your life.Deu 32.46-47 This is the end of all that has been spoken up to now: to get you to begin turning and making use of God’s means for your conversion. I would not trouble you or torment you before the time1 with forethoughts of your eternal misery, except to have you make your escape from it. If you were imprisoned in your present misery without remedy, it would only be mercy to leave you alone, so that you might enjoy that small and poor comfort you are capable of here in this world. But you may yet be happy, if you don’t wilfully refuse the means of your recovery. Behold, I hold open that door to you. Arise! Take your flight! I place the way of life before you: walk in it and you will live and not die.2 It sorrows me to think you would be your own murderers, and throw yourselves headlong into the pit, when God and men cry out to you, as Peter cried out to his master, spare yourself.3
A noble virgin4 that attended the court of Spain was wickedly ravished by the king; and upon hearing of it, the duke, her father, was roused to revenge. He called the Moors to his aid. When they had executed his plan, they miserably wasted and stripped the country. The virgin, taking this disaster to heart badly, shut herself up in a tower belonging to her father’s house, and desired that her father and mother might be called to her. Crying out to them of her own wretchedness, that she should have been the cause of so much misery and the desolation to her country to satisfy the revenge of her injury, she told them she was resolved to be avenged upon herself. Her father and mother begged her to pity herself and them, but nothing would prevail; she took her leave of them, and threw herself off the battlements, and so perished before their faces.
The wilful self-destruction of ungodly men is just this way. The God that made them pleads with them, and cries out to them, as Paul cried out to the distraught jailor when he was about to murder himself, Do yourself no harm! The ministers of Christ forewarn them, and chase them, and would willingly have them back. But alas! No expostulations or protests will prevail; men will hurl themselves into perdition while pity itself looks on.
What will I say? Would it not grieve a person with any humanity, if in the time of a virulent plague, he had a medicine that would infallibly cure the entire country, and recover the most
1 Mat 8.29
2 Deut. 30.19; Jer 9.16 3 Mat 16.23
4 Julian, Count of Ceuta, c. 709, sent one of his daughters (Cava) to Roderic’s court at Toledo for an education. Roderic subsequently made her pregnant. In Spanish she came to be known as la Cava Rumía. When Julian learned of the affair he removed his daughter from Roderic’s court and, out of vengeance, sold out Hispania to the Muslim invaders, thus making possible the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. But this is only a legend.
hopeless patients — and yet his friends and neighbours were dying by the hundreds around him because they would not use it? Men and brothers, though you carry the certain symptoms in your faces, yet I have a remedy that will cure you all, that will cure without fail. Just follow just these few directions, and if you don’t then win heaven, I will be content to lose it.
Hear then, sinner! If you would ever be converted and saved, embrace the following counsel.
Direct. I. Settle it for yourself, as an undoubted truth, that it is impossible for you to ever get to heaven in your unconverted state. Can any other but Christ save you? And he tells you that he will never do it unless you are regenerated and converted.1 Does he not keep the keys of heaven, and can you get in without his permission? It must be without his permission if you are ever to get there in your natural condition, without a sound and thorough renovation.
Direct. II. Labour to get a thorough sight, and a lively sense, and feeling of your sins. Until men are weary and heavy-laden, and pricked at the heart, and stark sick of sin, they will not come to Christ in his way for ease and cure; nor will they ask, What will we do? 2 They must admit to themselves that they are dead men, before they will come to Christ that they may have life.Joh 5.40 Labour, therefore, to set all your sins in order before you; never be afraid to look at them, but let your spirit make a diligent search.Psa 77.6 Enquire into your heart and into your life; thoroughly examine yourself and all your ways Psa 119.59 so that you may make a full discovery of them.
Call in the help of God’s Spirit, sensing your own inability to do it, for it is his proper work to convict us of sin.Joh 16.8 Spread everything before the face of your conscience, until your heart and eyes are set abroach.3 Don’t stop striving with God and your own soul, until it cries out under the sense of your sins, as the enlightened jailor did: What must I do to be saved? Act 16.30 Do it to this purpose.
Meditate on the numerousness of your sins. David’s heart failed when he thought of this, and considered that he had more sins than hairs.Psa 40.12 This made him cry out at the multitude of God’s tender mercies.Psa 51.1 The loathsome carcass doesn’t swarm with crawling worms more hatefully than an unsanctified soul swarms with filthy lusts. They fill his head, his heart, his eyes and his mouth. Look backward: where was ever the place, and when was ever the time, in which you did not sin? Look inward: what part or power can you find in your soul or body, that is not poisoned with sin? What duty do you ever perform in which that poison is not spilled? Oh, how great is the sum of your debts, you who all your life have been running up the books,4 and never did or can pay off one penny of your debt! Look over the sin of your nature and all its cursed brood, the sins of your life: call to mind your omissions, commissions, the sins of your thoughts, of your words, of your actions, the sins of your youth, the sins of your years, etc. Don’t be like a desperate bankrupt, who is afraid to look over his books. Read the records of your conscience carefully. These books must be opened sooner or later. Rev 20.12
1 Mat 18.3; Joh 3.3
2 Mat 11.28; Acts. 2.37; Mat 9.12
3 To open a cask or barrel so that its contents spill out.
4 That is, running a tab, an ever-increasing debt on the account books.
Meditate on the aggravations of your sins,1 as grand enemies against the God of your life, and against the life of your soul. In a word, they are the public enemies of all mankind. David, Ezra, Daniel, and the good Levites, pondered the aggravations of their sins by considering their injuriousness to God, their opposition to his good and righteous laws, and the mercies and warnings that they were committed against! 2 Oh, the work that sin has made in the world. This is the enemy that has brought in death, that has robbed and enslaved man, that undid the devil, and that dug the pit of hell.3 This is the enemy that has turned the creation upside down, and sown dissention between man and the creatures, between man and man; indeed, between man and himself, setting the sensual part against the rational, the will against the judgment, lust against conscience; indeed, worst of all, between God and man, making the lapsed sinner both hateful to God, and the one who hates him. Zech. 11.8 O man! How can you make so light of sin? This is the traitor that sucked the blood of the Son of God, that sold him, that mocked him, that scourged him, that spit in his face, that dug into his hands, that pierced his side, that pressed his soul, that mangled his body, that never left until he had bound him, condemned him, nailed him, crucified him, and put him to open shame.Isa 53.4-6 This is that deadly poison, so powerful in its operation, that one drop of it shed on the root of mankind has corrupted, spoiled, poisoned, and undone his whole race at once.Rom 5.18-19 This is the common butcher, the bloody executioner, that has killed the prophets, burnt the martyrs, murdered all the apostles, all the patriarchs, all the kings and potentates, that has destroyed cities, swallowed empires, butchered and devoured whole nations. Whichever weapon it was done by, sin did the execution.Rom 6.23 Do you still think it is just a small thing? If Adam and all his children could be dug out of their graves, and their bodies piled up to heaven, and an inquest were held, what matchless murderer would be guilty of all this blood? It would be all found in the skirts of sin. Study the nature of sin until your heart is brought to fear and loathe it. And meditate on the aggravations of your particular sin, how you have sinned against all God’s warnings, against your own prayers, against mercies, against corrections, against clearest light, against freest love, against your own resolutions, against promises, vows, and covenants of better obedience, etc. Charge your heart with these things, drive it home until it blushes for shame and is brought out of all good opinion of itself. Ezra 9.6
Meditate upon the desert of sin.4 It cries up to heaven, it calls for vengeance; Gen 18.21 its due wages is death and damnation: it pulls the curse of God upon the soul and body.5 The least sinful word or thought puts you under the infinite wrath of God Almighty.6 Oh, what a load of wrath, what a weight of curses, what treasure of vengeance have all the millions of your sins then deserved? 7 Oh, judge yourself, that the Lord may not judge you.1Cor 11.31
Meditate on the deformity and defilement of sin; It is as black as hell, the very image and likeness of the devil that is drawn upon the soul.1Joh 3.8, 10 It would more frighten you to see
1 The aggravations of our sins are those effects that make them even more reprehensible to us and to God, that exacerbate them.
2 Neh. 9; Dan. 9; Ezra 9
3 Rom 5.12; 2Pet 2.4; Joh 8.34
4 “Desert of sin” — what sin deserves or merits; its due and just punishment. 5 Gal. 3.10; Deut. 28
6 Rom 2.8-9; Mat 12.36
7 Rom 2.5; Joh 3.36
yourself in the hateful deformity of your nature, than to see the devil. There is no mire so unclean, no vomit so loathsome, no carcass or carrion so offensive, no plague or leprosy so nauseating as sin. That is what you are all rolling in. You are covered with its odious filth, a filth by which you are rendered more displeasing to the pure and holy nature of the glorious God, than the most filthy object composed of whatever would be most hateful to all your senses.Job 15.15-16 Could you clasp a toad to your chest? Could you cherish it, and take delight in it? You are just as opposed to the pure and perfect holiness of the divine nature, just as loathsome to it, as that toad is to you,Mat 3.33 until you are purified by the blood of Jesus and the power of renewing grace.
Set aside all other sins; fix your eye on these two:
(1.) The sin of your nature. It serves little purpose to lop off the branches, while the root of original corruption remains untouched. In vain, men empty the stream while the fountain is still running that fills it up again. Let the ax of your repentance (along with David’s) go to the root of sin.Psa 51.5 Study how deep, how close, how permanent your natural pollution is, how universal it is, until you cry out with Paul’s passion at your body of death.Rom 7.24 Look into your parts and powers, and see what unclean vessels, what styes, what dunghills, what sinks they have become. Heu miser, quid sum? Vas sterquilinii, concha putredinis: plenus foetore & horror.August. Solil. c. 8. The heart is never soundly broken until it is convinced through and through of the heinousness of original sin. Fix your thoughts here. This is what makes you opposed to all good, and prone to all evil.Rom 7.15 It spills blindness, pride, prejudice, and unbelief into your mind; hostility, inconstancy, and obstinacy into your will; inordinate heats and colds into your affections; insensibility, numbness, and unfaithfulness into your conscience; slipperiness into your memory. In a word, it has disordered every wheel of your soul; it has made what should be a habitation of holiness into a hell of iniquity.Jas. 3.6 This is what has defiled, corrupted, and perverted all your members, and turned them into weapons of unrighteousness, and servants of sin.Rom 6.19 This is what has filled the head with carnal and corrupt plans,Mic. 2.1 the hand with sinful practices,Isa 1.15 the eyes with wandering and wantonness, 2Pet 2.14 and the tongue with deadly poison.Jas. 3.8 It has opened the ears to tales, flattery, and filthy communication, and shut them against the instruction of life.Zech. 7.11-12 It has turned your heart into a mint and a forge for sin, and a cursed womb for every deadly conception, Mat 15.19 It pours out its wickedness without ceasing,2Pet 2.14 as naturally, freely, and unweariedly as a fountain pours out its waters,Jer 6.7 or the raging sea tosses out mire and dirt.Isa 57.20 And will you still be in love with yourself, and tell us any longer of your good heart? Oh, never stop meditating on this desperate contagion of original corruption until, along with Ephraim, you grieve for yourself;Jer 31.18 and with deepest shame and sorrow, you strike your breast as the Publican did;Luk 18.13 and with Job, you abhor yourself and repent in dust and ashes.Job 42.6, 22
(2.) The particular evil that you are most addicted to. Discover all its aggravations;1 drive home to your heart all of God’s threats against it. Repentance drives the whole herd before it, but it especially sticks the arrow in the beloved sin, and singles this out above the rest in order to run it down,Psa 18.23 Oh, labour to make this sin odious to your soul, and double your guards and your resolutions against it, because this sin most dishonours God, and endangers you.
Direct. III. Strive to affect your heart with a deep sense of your present misery, 1 See the note on “aggravations” on page 76.
Read over the foregoing chapter again and again; get it out of the book and into your heart. Remember when you lie down, that for all you know you may awake in flames; and when you rise up, that by the next night you may be making your bed in hell. Is it acceptable to live in such a fearful state, to stand tottering upon the brink of the bottomless pit, and to live at the mercy of every disease that, if you succumbed, it would send you immediately into the flames? Suppose you saw a condemned wretch hanging over Nebuchadnezzar’s burning fiery furnace by nothing but a twine-thread which was ready to break any moment. Wouldn’t your heart tremble for such a person? Why, if you are still unconverted, then you are that man, and this is your case. O man or woman who reads this, what if the thread of your life were to break? You don’t know whether it will be the next night, or indeed, the next moment. Where would you be then? Where would you drop? Truly, upon the snap of just this thread, if you die in your present state, you would fall into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone where you must lie scalding and sweltering in a fiery ocean as long as God exists. Doesn’t your soul tremble as you read this? Don’t your tears wet the paper, and your heart throb in your chest? Don’t you yet begin to strike your breast, and think to yourself what need you have of a change? Oh, what is your heart made of?
Have you not only lost all regard for God, but are without any love and pity for yourself?
Oh, study your misery until your heart cries out for Christ as earnestly as a drowning man cries for a boat, or the wounded cries for a surgeon. Men must come to see the danger, and feel the sting of their deadly sores and sickness, or else Christ will be a physician of no value to them. Mat 9.12 The man-slayer hastens to the city of refuge when he is pursued by the avenger of blood. So too, men must be hounded out of themselves, or they will not come to Christ. It was distress and extremity that made the prodigal think of returning home.Luk 15.16-17 While Laodicea thinks she is rich, increased in goods and in need of nothing, there is little hope. She must be deeply convinced of her wretchedness, blindness, poverty, and nakedness before she will come to Christ for gold, raiment, and eye-salve.Rev 3.17-18 Therefore hold the eyes of your conscience open; amplify your misery as much as possible; don’t flee the sight of it just because you fear it will fill you with terror. The sense of your misery is just the festering of the wound which is needed for its cure. Better to fear the torments that abide with you now, than feel them hereafter.
Direct. IV. Settle it in your heart that you are forever unable to recover yourself. Never think that your praying, reading, hearing, confessing, or amending will cure you. These must be attended to, but you are undone if you rest in them for salvation.Rom 10.3 You are a lost man if you hope to escape drowning on any other plank than Jesus Christ.Act 4.12
You must unlearn yourself, and renounce your own wisdom, your own righteousness, your own strength, and throw yourself wholly upon Christ, just as a swimmer must throw himself upon the water, or else you cannot escape. While men trust in themselves, and establish their own righteousness, and have confidence in the flesh, they will not come savingly to Christ.1 You must know that your gain is but loss and dung, your strength is but weakness, your righteousness is but rags and rottenness, before there will be an effectual closure between Christ and you.2 Can the lifeless carcass shake off its grave-clothes and loose the bonds of death? Only then might you recover yourself, for you are dead in trespasses and sins, and under an impossible burden of acceptably serving your Maker in this condition.3 Therefore, when you go to pray or meditate, or
1 Luke 18.9; Phi. 3.3
2 Phi. 3.7-9; 2Cor 3.5; Isa 54.6 3 Rom 8.8; Heb. 11.6
do any of the duties to which you are directed here, leave yourself; call in the help of the Spirit; despair of doing anything that would be pleasing to God if done in your own strength.
Yet don’t neglect your duty: lie at the pool and wait in the path of the Spirit.Joh 5.1-8 While the Eunuch was reading, then the Holy Ghost sent Philip to him;Act 8.28-29 when the disciples were praying,Act 4.31 and when Cornelius and his friends were hearing,Act 10.44 then the Holy Ghost fell upon them and filled them all. Strive to give yourself up to Christ; strive to pray, strive to meditate, strive a thousand times over. Try to do it as well as you can, and while you are endeavouring to do your duty, the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and help you do what you are utterly unable to do by yourself.Pro 1.24
Direct. V. Renounce all your sins without delay. If you yield yourself to the practice of any sin, you are undone.Rom 6.17 You hope in vain for life by Christ unless you depart from your iniquity.2Tim 2.19 Forsake your sins, or else you cannot find mercy.Pro 28.13 You cannot be married to Christ unless you are divorced from sin. Turn over the traitor or you can have no peace with heaven. Throw the head of Sheba over the wall; don’t keep Delilah in your lap. You must part with your sins, or else with your soul. Spare but one sin, and God will not spare you. Never make excuses: either your sins must die, or you must die for them.Psa 68.21 If you allow one sin, though just a little one, a secret one, even though you plead necessity, and have a hundred justifications and excuses for it, the life of your soul must be exchanged for the life of that sin.Eze 18.21 And won’t that be dearly bought?1
O sinner! Hear and consider: if you will part with your sins, God will give you his Christ. Isn’t this a fair exchange? I testify to you this day that if you perish, it is not because there was never a Saviour provided, nor a life tendered, but because you preferred (as the Jews did) the murderer before your Saviour, sin before Christ, and you loved darkness rather than light.Joh 3.10 Search your heart therefore with candles, as the Jews searched their houses for leaven before the Passover. Labour to discover your sins. Enter into your closet and consider, “What evil have I lived in? What duty have I neglected towards God? What sin have I lived in against my brother?” And now strike the dagger through the heart of your sins, as Joab did through Absalom’s. 2Sam 18.14 Never stand contemplating your sin, or hiding the morsel under your tongue.Job 20.12 Spit it out as poison, with fear and detestation. Alas! What do you think your sins will do for you, that you would hesitate at parting with them? They will flatter you, but they will also undo you and cut your throat while they smile at you, and poison you; while they please you and arm the justice and wrath of the infinite God against you. They will open hell for you, and pile up fuel to burn you. Behold the gallows they have prepared for you. Oh, serve them like Haman, and give them the execution they would otherwise have given you. Away with them, crucify them, and let only Christ be Lord over you.
Direct. VI. Solemnly choose God for your portion and blessedness.Deu 26 With all possible devotion and veneration, avouch that the Lord is your God. Put the world with all its glory, paint, and gallantry, with all its pleasures and promotions on the one hand; and put God with all his infinite excellencies and perfections on the other; and see that you deliberately make your choice.Josh. 24.15 Take your rest in God.Joh 6.68 Sit down under his shadow.Song 2.3 Let his promises
1 Alleine is not speaking of sinless perfection here, but of our intent and resolve to put sin away. He writes on page 48 (page 26 intra), “Instead, he turns from all his sins, and he keeps all God’s statutes, even though not perfectly (except in his desire and endeavour). Yet he is sincere in not giving himself permission to breach any.”
and perfections turn the scale against all the world. Settle it in your heart that the Lord is an all- sufficient portion, and that you cannot be miserable while you have God to live upon: take him for your shield and your exceeding great reward. God alone is more than all the world. Content yourself with him. Let others carry the preferments and glory of the world. You place your happiness in finding his favour and the light of his countenance.Psa 4.6-7
Poor sinner! You have fallen away from God, and you have engaged his power and wrath against you. Still, know that out of his abundant grace, he offers to be your God again in Christ.2Cor 6.17-18 What do you say, man? Will you have the Lord for your God? Take this counsel and you will have him: come to him by his Christ.Joh 14.6 Renounce the idols of your own pleasures, gain, and reputation.1Thes 1.9 Let these be pulled off the throne, and set God’s interest uppermost in your heart. Take him, as God, to be highest in your affections, estimations, and intentions, for he will not tolerate having any other set above him.1 In a word, you must take him in all his personal relations, and in all his essential perfections.
First, in all his personal relations. God the Father must be taken for your Father.Jer 3.4, 19, 22 Oh, come to him with the prodigal’s plea, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am not worthy to be called your Son. But since by your wonderful mercy you are pleased to take me as your child, even though I am a dog, a pig, a devil, I solemnly take you for my Father. I commend myself to your care. I trust to your providence, and toss my burden on your shoulders. I depend on your provision, and I submit to your corrections. I trust under the shadow of your wings. I hide in your chambers, and I fly to your name. I renounce all confidence in myself. I repose my confidence in you. I depose my concerns with you. I will be for you, and for no other.”
Again, God the Son must be taken as your Saviour, as your Redeemer and righteousness.Joh 1.12 He must be accepted as the only way to the Father, and the only means of life. Heb 7.25 Oh then, put off the raiment of your captivity — put on the wedding garment, and go and marry yourself to Jesus Christ. “Lord I am yours, and all that I have: my body, my soul, my name, my estate. I send a bill of divorce to my other lovers. I give my heart to you. I will be yours undividedly, yours everlastingly. I will put your name on all I have, and use it only as your goods, as your loan, during your leave, resigning all to you. I will have no king but you. Reign over me: other Lords have had dominion over me, but now I will make mention only of your name.
I hereby take an oath of fealty to you, promising and vowing to serve, love, and fear you above all other competitors. I disavow my own righteousness, and I despair of ever being pardoned and saved for my own duties or graces. I lean only on your all-sufficient sacrifice and intercession for pardon, life, and acceptance before God. I take you for my only guide and instructor, resolving to be led and directed by you, and to wait for your counsel. Yours will be my driving voice.”
Lastly, God the Spirit must be taken for your Sanctifier,2 for your advocate, your counsellor, your comforter, the teacher in your ignorance, and the pledge and earnest of your inheritance.3 Awake, north wind, and come forth; blow upon my garden.Song 4.16 “Come, Spirit of the Most High; here is a house for you; here is a temple for you: rest here forever; dwell here, and rest here. Look, I release possession to you, full possession. I send you the keys of my heart, that everything may be for your use, that you may put your goods and your grace into your every
1 Exo 20.3; Rom 1.24; Psa 83.25
2 Rom 8.9, 14; Gal. 5.16, 18
3 Rom 8.26; Psa 73.24; Joh 14.6; Eph 4.30
room. I release the use of it all to you, so that every faculty, and every member may be your instrument to work righteousness, and to do the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
Secondly. In all his essential perfections. Consider how the Lord has revealed himself to you in his word. Will you take him as such a God?
O sinner! Here is the most blessed news that ever came to the sons of men: the Lord will be your God if you will only close with him in his excellencies.1 Will you have the merciful, gracious, sin- pardoning God to be your God? Oh, yes, (says the sinner) I am undone otherwise. But God further tells you, I am the holy and sin-hating God. If you would be owned as one of my people, then you must be holy:1Pet 1.16 holy in heart, holy in life. You must put away all your iniquities, no matter how dear, how natural, how necessary to maintain your fleshly interest. Unless you distance your sin, I cannot be your God. Throw out the leaven; put away the evil of your doings; cease to do evil; learn to do well; or else I can have nothing to do with you.Isa 1.16-18 Bring out my enemies, or else there is no peace to be had with me. What does your heart answer? “Lord, I desire to have you as such a God. I desire to be holy as you are holy, to be made a partaker of your holiness. I love you, not only for your goodness and mercy, but for your holiness and purity. I take your holiness for my happiness. Oh, be a fountain of holiness to me; set the stamp and impress of your holiness on me. I will thankfully part with all my sins at your command. I forsake my wilful sins at once; and for my infirmities that I cannot get rid of, even though I desire to, I will strive against them by every means. I detest them, and pray and war against them, and I will never let them have quiet rest in my soul.” Beloved, whoever thus accepts the Lord for his God, will have him.
Again, he tells you, I am the all-sufficient God.Gen 17.1 Will you lay everything at my feet, and give it up to my disposition, and take me for your only portion? Will you own and honour my all- sufficiency? Will you take me as your happiness and treasure, your hope and bliss? I am a sun and a shield, all in one. Will you have me for your all? 2 Now, what do you say to this? Does your mouth water for the onions and flesh-pots of Egypt? Are you loth to exchange the earthly happiness for a part in God? And though you would be glad to have God and the world too, is it possible for you to think of having him and nothing but him? Or would you rather consort with the earth below, if God would only let you keep it as long as you wanted? This is a fearful sign. But now, if you are willing, sell everything for the pearl of great price.Mat 13.46
Does your heart answer, “Lord, I desire no other portion but you. Take the corn, and the wine, and the oil, whoever wants them, that I may have the light of your countenance. Psa 4.6-7 I fix on you for my happiness; I gladly venture myself on you, and trust myself with you. I set my hopes in you. I take up my rest with you. Let me hear you say, ‘I am your God, your salvation,’ and I have enough — all I wish for. I will make no terms with you except for yourself. Let me but have you for sure. Let me be able to make my claim, and see my title to you.
As for other things, I leave them to you. Give me more or less, anything or nothing, and I will be satisfied in my God.” If this is your heart’s answer, then take him thus, and he is your own.
Again, he tells you, I am the sovereign Lord. If you will have me for your God, you must give me the supremacy.Mat 6.24 I will not be an underling; you must not make me a second to sin, or to any worldly interest. If you will be my people, I must have the rule over you. You must not live at
1 Gen 17.7; Rev 21.3 2 Gen 15.1; Psa 84.11
your own whims. Will you come under my yoke? Will you bow to my government? Will you submit to my discipline, to my word, to my rod? Sinner, what do you say to this? “Lord, I would rather be at your command, than live by my own whims. I would rather have your will be done than mine. I approve of and consent to your laws, and I consider it my privilege to lie under them. And even though the flesh rebels and often breaks its boundaries, I am resolved to take no other Lord but you. I willingly take the oath of your supremacy, and I acknowledge you for my Liege Sovereign. I resolve all my days to pay to you the tributes of worship, obedience, love and service, and to live to you as the end of my life.” This is a right acceptance of God.
To be short, he tells you, I am the true and faithful God. If you would have me for your God, then you must be content to trust me.1 Will you risk yourselves upon my word, and depend on my faithfulness, and take my bond for your security?
Will you be content to follow me, in poverty, reproach, and affliction here, to see much going out and little coming in, and to wait until the next world for your preferment? Mat 9.21 I deal upon trust. Will you be content to labour, and to suffer, and to wait for your returns until the resurrection of the just? Luk 14.14 The womb of the promise will not quickly yield: will you have the patience to wait? Heb 10.36 Now, beloved, what do you say to this? Will you have this God for your God? Will you be content to live by faith, and trust him for an unseen happiness, an unseen heaven, and an unseen glory? Do your hearts answer, “Lord, we will venture ourselves upon you; we commit ourselves to you; we rest on you; we know whom we have trusted; we are willing to take your word; we will prefer your promises before our own possessions, and the hopes of heaven before all the enjoyments of the earth; we will await your leisure. Do what you will here, so that we may have but your faithful promise for heaven hereafter.” If you can in truth, and upon deliberation, accept God in this way, then he will be yours. Thus, in a right conversion to God, you must close with him in a way suitable to his excellencies. But when men embrace his mercy, yet still love sin and hate holiness and purity; or when they take him for their benefactor, but not for their sovereign; or for their patron, but not for their portion — this is not a thorough or a sound conversion.
Direct. VII. Accept the Lord Jesus in all his offices, with all his inconveniences, as yours. Christ may be had on these terms. Sinner, you have undone yourself, and you are plunged into the ditch of most deplorable misery which you will never be able to climb out of. But Jesus Christ is able and ready to help you, and he freely tenders himself to you.2 No matter how many, or however great or long-continuing your sins may be, yet you will most certainly be pardoned and saved if you don’t wretchedly neglect the offer that is hereby made to you in the name of God. The Lord Jesus calls to you to look to him and be saved.Isa 45.22 Come to him and he will in no way throw you out.Joh 6.37 Yes, he is your suiter, and he beseeches you to be reconciled.2Cor 5.20 He cries in the streets; he knocks at your door; he woos you to accept him and live with him.3 If you die, it is because you would not come to him for life.Joh 5.40 Now accept an offered Christ, and you are forever made.4 Give your consent to him now, and the match is made; all the world cannot hinder it. Don’t stay back because of your unworthiness. Man, I tell you that nothing in all the world can undo you but your own unwillingness. Speak, man! Do you want the match? Will you have Christ in all his relations to be yours: your king, your priest, your prophet? Will
1 2Tim 1.12; Pro 3.5
2 Heb 7.25; Joh 3.36
3 Pro 1.20; Rev 2.30
4 That is, assured of success — this is an image of betrothal, a secured promise of eternal union with Christ.
you have him with all his inconveniences? Don’t take Christ by raising your hand, but sit down first and count the cost.
Will you lay everything at his feet? Will you be content to take every risk with him? Will you take your lot with him, fall where it may? Will you deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him? Are you deliberately, understandingly, freely, fixedly determined to cling to him in all times and conditions? If so, my soul for yours. You will never perish,Joh 3.16 but you have passed from death to life.Joh 5.24 Here lies the main point of your salvation: that you are found in your covenant- closure with Jesus Christ: and therefore, if you love yourself, see that you are faithful to God and to your soul here.
Direct. VIII. Resign all your powers and faculties, your whole interest, to be his. They gave themselves to the Lord.2Cor 8.5 Present your bodies as a living sacrifice.Rom 12.1 The Lord does not seek what is yours, but you. Therefore, resign your body with all its members to him, and your soul with all its powers, so that he may be glorified in your body and in your spirit which are his. 2Cor 6.20 In a right closure with Christ, all the faculties surrender to him. The judgment subscribes, “Lord, you are worthy of all acceptance, chief of ten thousand; happy is the man who finds you. All things that could be desired are not to be compared with you,” Pro 3.13-15 The understanding lays aside its corrupt reasonings and cavils,1 and its prejudices against Christ and his ways. It is now past questioning and disputing. It throws it away for Christ, against all the world.
It concludes that it is good to be here. It sees such a treasure in this field, such a value in this pearl, that it is worth it all.Mat 13.44 “Oh, here is the richest bargain I ever made; here is the richest prize that man was ever offered; here is the most sovereign remedy that mercy ever prepared. He is worthy of my esteem, worthy of my choice, worthy of my love, worthy to be embraced, adored, and admired forevermore.Rev 5.12 I approve of his articles; his terms are righteous and reasonable, full of equity and mercy.” Again, the will resigns: it no longer stands wavering, or wishing and woulding, but is peremptorily determined: “Lord, your love has overcome me; you have won me, and you will have me. Come in, Lord; I freely open to you. I consent to be saved in your own way; you will have anything — you will have it all — let me have but you.” The memory surrenders to Christ: “Lord, here is a store-house for you: out with this trash, lay in the treasure. Let me be a granary, a repository of your truth, your promises, your providences.” The conscience comes in: “Lord, I will always side with you, I will be your faithful register. I will warn him when the sinner is tempted, and strike him when you are offended. I will witness for you, and judge for you, and guide him into your ways, and will never let sin have quiet in this soul.” The affections also come in to Christ: “Oh, says love, I am sick for you. Oh, says desire, now I have my longing: here is the satisfaction I searched for; here is the desire of nations; here is bread for me, and balm for me — all that I want.” Fear bows the knee with awe and veneration: “Welcome, Lord. To you will I pay my homage; your word and your rod will command my actions; I will reverence and adore you; I will fall down before you and worship.” Grief likewise joins in: “Lord, your displeasure and your dishonor, your people’s calamities and my own iniquities, will be what bursts me apart. I will mourn when you are offended. I will weep when your cause is wounded.” Anger likewise comes in for Christ: “Lord, nothing so enrages me as my folly against you — that I should be so duped and bewitched as to listen to the flatteries of sin, and the temptations of Satan against you.” Hatred, too, will side with Christ: “I protest mortal hostility with your enemies, that I will never be friends with
1 An evasion of the point of an argument by raising irrelevant distinctions or objections.
your foes. I vow an immortal quarrel with every sin. I will give no quarter; I will make no peace.” Thus let all your powers surrender to Jesus Christ.
Again, you must surrender your whole interest to him. If there is anything you withhold from Christ, it will be your undoing.Luk 14.33 Unless you forsake all (in preparation and resolution of your heart) you cannot be his disciple. You must hate father and mother, yes, and your own life too, in comparison to him, and as far as it competes with him.1 In a word, you must give him yourself, and all that you have, without reservation, or else you can have no part in him.
Direct. IX, Choose the laws of Christ as the rule of your words, thoughts, and actions.Psa 119.30
This is the true convert’s choice. But here remember these (two) rules,
(1.) You must choose them all. There is no coming to heaven by partial obedience: read Psa 119.6, 128, 160; Eze 18.21.2 None may think it is enough to take the cheap and easy part of religion, and leave behind the duties that are costly and self-denying, those which grate upon the
interests of the flesh. You must take all or none. A sincere convert, though his conscience makes most of the greatest sins and the weightiest duties, yet it also makes much of little sins and all duties.Psa 119.6, 113; Mat 23.23
(2.) For all times: in prosperity and in adversity, whether it rains or shines. A true convert is resolved in his way. He will stick to his choice and not set his back to the wind or join the religion of the times. I have stuck to your testimonies. I have inclined my heart to perform your statutes always, even to the end. I have taken your testimonies as a heritage forever.Psa 119.31, 111, 117, 44, 93 I will respect your statutes continually. This must not be done just by raising the hand, but deliberately and understandingly. The disobedient son said, I go, sir; but he did not.Mat 24.30 How nicely they promised, “All that the Lord our God will speak to you, we will do it;” and they spoke as if they meant it: but when it came to trial, it was found that such a heart was not in them to do what they promised. Deu 5.27, 29 If you would be sincere in closing with the laws and ways of Christ, then
First, study the meaning, latitude, and compass of them. Remember that they are spiritual: they reach the very thoughts and inclinations of the heart, so that if you would walk by this rule, then your very thoughts and inward motivations must be under their governance. Again, they are very strict and self-denying, quite against the grain of your natural inclinations.Mat 16.24 You must take the strait gate, the narrow way, and be content to have the flesh curbed from the liberty it desires.Mat 7.14 In a word, remember they are comprehensive. For your commandment is exceedingly broad. Psa 119.96
Secondly, don’t rest in generalities (there is much deceit in that). Instead, bring your heart down to the particular commands of Christ. Those Jews in the prophet seemed as well- resolved as any in the world, and they called God to witness that they meant what they said: but they stuck to generalities. When God’s command crossed their inclinations, they would not obey. Jer 42.1-6 with Jer 43.2 Take the assembly’s larger catechism;3 see their excellent and most succinct exposition of the commandments, and take it to heart. Are you resolved in the
1 Mat 10.37; Luk 14.26-27, etc.
2 Psa 119:6 Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments. Psa 119:128 Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way. Psa 119:160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. Eze 18:21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
3 That is, the Westminster Assembly’s Larger Catechism, c. 1647. 76
Directions for Conversion
strength of Christ to set upon the conscientious practice of every duty you find required of you there, and to set yourself against every sin that you find forbidden there? This is the way to be found blameless in God’s statutes, so that you may never be ashamed.Psa 119.80
Thirdly, notice the special duties that your heart is most against, and the special sins that it is most inclined to commit, and see whether your heart is truly resolved to perform the one and forego the other. What do you say to your private sin, your lucrative sin? What do you say to your costly, hazardous, and flesh-displeasing duties? If you hesitate here, and don’t resolve by the grace of God to oppose your flesh, and get to it, then you are unsound. Psa 18.23, and 119.6
Direct. X. Let all of this be completed in a solemn covenant between God and your soul.1 For your help in this, take these few directions.
First, Set apart some time, more than once, to be spent in secret before the Lord:
1. Earnestly seek his special assistance and gracious acceptance of you.
2. Distinctly consider all the terms and conditions of the covenant proposed on the next page.
3. Search your heart to see whether you are sincerely willing to forsake all your sins and resign yourself, body and soul, to God and to his service — to serve him in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life.
Secondly, Put your spirit in the most serious frame possible, suitable to a transaction of so high an importance.
Thirdly, Lay hold of the covenant of God; rely on his promise of giving grace and strength by which you may then be enabled to perform your promise. Don’t trust your own strength, or the strength of your own resolutions, but take hold of his strength.
Fourthly, Resolve to be faithful; having engaged your heart, opened your mouth, and subscribed with your hand to the Lord, now resolve in his strength to never go back.
Lastly, Being thus prepared, set upon the work at some convenient time set apart for the purpose. In the most solemn manner possible, as if the Lord were visibly present before your eyes, fall down on your knees, and stretching your hands toward heaven, open your heart to the Lord in these or similar words:
O MOST dreadful God! For the passion of your Son, I beg you to accept your poor prodigal who is now prostrating himself at your door. I have fallen from you by my iniquity. I am by nature a son of death, and a thousandfold more the child of hell by my wicked practice.2 But by your infinite grace, you have promised your grace to me in Christ, if I will only turn to you with all my heart. Therefore, upon the call of your gospel, I have now come in; and throwing down my weapons, I submit myself to your mercy.
Because you require as the condition of my peace with you, that I put away my idols, and defy all your enemies (which I acknowledge I have wickedly sided with against you), I hereby renounce
1 Psa 119.106; Neh. 10.9
2 See page 49, point 6: “The terms of our communion are either from which, or to which.” (we pledge to turn from sin, to God) — WHG
them all from the bottom of my heart, firmly covenanting with you not to allow myself to continue in any known sin, but to conscientiously use all the means that I know you have prescribed for the death and utter destruction of all my corruptions.1 And because I have formerly, inordinately, and idolatrously placed my affections on the world, I hereby resign my heart to you who made it, and humbly vow before your glorious Majesty, that this is the firm resolution of my heart. I do sincerely desire grace from you, so that when you call me to it, I may practise my resolution, through your assistance, to forsake all that is dear to me in this world rather than turn from you to the ways of sin. And I will watch against all its temptations, whether in prosperity or adversity, lest they withdraw my heart from you. I beg you also to help me against the temptations of Satan, to whose wicked suggestions I resolve, by your grace, never to yield myself as a servant. And because my own righteousness is but menstruous rags, I renounce all confidence in it, and acknowledge that, of myself, I am a hopeless, helpless, undone creature, without righteousness or strength.
Out of your bottomless mercy, you have most graciously offered to me, a wretched sinner, to again be my God through Christ, if I would accept it from you.2 Therefore, I call heaven and earth to witness this day that I hereby solemnly avouch that you are the Lord my God; and with all possible veneration, bowing the neck of my soul under the feet of your most sacred majesty, I hereby take you, Lord Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for my portion and my chief good;3 and I surrender myself, body and soul, to be your servant, promising and vowing to serve you in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life.
And since you have appointed the Lord Jesus Christ as the only means of coming to you, I hereby, on the bended knees of my soul, accept him as the only new and living way by which sinners may have access to you; and I hereby solemnly join myself in marriage covenant to him.4
O blessed Jesus, I come to you hungry and hardly of use. I am poor, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked: a most loathsome, polluted wretch, a guilty, condemned malefactor, forever unworthy to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord, much less to be solemnly married to the King of Glory. But because such is your unparalleled love, I hereby accept you with all my power, and take you for my head and husband, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, for all times and conditions, to love, honor, and obey you before all others; and I vow this to the death. I embrace you in all your offices. I renounce my own unworthiness, and I hereby avow that you are the Lord my righteousness. I renounce my own wisdom, and here take you for my only guide: I renounce my own will, and take your will for my law.
And since you have told me that I must suffer if I reign, I hereby covenant with you to take my lot as it falls with you; by your grace assisting me, I will run all risks with you, truly supposing that neither life nor death will part you and me.Rom 8.35-39
And because you have been pleased to give me your holy laws as the rule of my life,5 the way in which I should walk to your kingdom, I hereby willingly put my neck under your yoke, and set my shoulder to your burden. Subscribing to all your laws as holy, just, and good, I solemnly take
1 Ibid., “The things from which we turn… — sin, Satan, the world, and our own righteousness” — must be thus renounced.
2 See page 58, point 2: “The terms to which we must turn are either ultimate, or mediate.”
3 Ibid. “The ultimate is God the Father, Son, & Holy Ghost, who must be thus accepted.”
4 See page 60: “The mediate terms are either principal, or less principal. The principal is Christ the Mediator, who must thus be embraced.”
5 See page 63: “The less principal are the laws of Christ which must be thus observed.”
them as the rule of my words, thoughts, and actions, promising that though my flesh may contradict and rebel, yet I will endeavor to order and govern my whole life according to your direction, and I will not allow myself to neglect anything that I know is my duty.
Only because I am subject to many failings through the frailty of my flesh, I am bold to humbly avow that forbidden miscarriages that are contrary to the settled bent and resolution of my heart, will not void this covenant; for so you have said.
Now, Almighty God, searcher of hearts, you know that I make this covenant with you this day without any known guile or reservation; I beg you, that if you spy any flaw or falsehood in it, you would disclose it to me, and help me to do it rightly.
And now, glory be to you, O God the Father, whom I will be bold from this day forward to look upon as my God and Father, that you found such a way to recover undone sinners. Glory be to you, O God the Son, who have loved me and washed me from my sins in your own blood; you have now become my Saviour and Redeemer. Glory be to you, O God the Holy Ghost who, by the finger of your almighty power, have turned around my heart from sin to God.
O dreadful Jehovah, the Lord God Omnipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! You have now become my covenant friend, and through your infinite grace, I have become your covenant servant. Amen. So be it. And let the covenant which I have made on earth, be ratified in heaven.
THE AUTHOR’S ADVICE.
I advise you to make this covenant not only in heart, but in word; not only in word, but in writing; and that you would, with all possible reverence, spread the writing before the Lord, as if you were presenting it to him as your act and deed. And when you have done this, set your hand to it; keep it as a memorial of the solemn transactions that have passed between God and you, so that you may return to it upon your doubts and temptations.
Direct. XI. Beware delaying your conversion: set upon a speedy and present turning. I made haste and did not delay.Psa 119.60 Remember and tremble at the sad instance of the foolish virgins who did not come until the door of mercy was shut, Mat 25 and of a convicted Felix who put off Paul until another season — and we don’t find that he had another season.Act 14.25 Oh, come in while it is called today, lest you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin;Heb 3.13 lest the day of grace be over, and the things that belong to your peace are hidden from your eyes. Now mercy is wooing you: now Christ is waiting to be gracious to you and the Spirit of God is striving with you: now ministers are calling; now your conscience is stirring; now the market is open and oil may be had: you have an opportunity to buy; now Christ is to be had for the taking. Oh, shake hands on these offers of grace; now or never! If you make light of this offer, God may swear in his wrath that you will never taste his supper.Luk 14.24
Direct. XII. Attend conscientiously to the word as the appointed means for your conversion.1
Don’t attend to it thoughtlessly, but conscientiously, and with this desire, design, hope and expectation: that you may be converted by it. Come to every sermon you hear with this thought: “Oh, I hope God will now come in: I hope this day may be the time, and that this may be the man by whom God will bring me home.” When you come to the ordinances2, lift up your heart to God
1 Jas. 1.18-19; 1Cor 4.15
2 That is, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Alleine is not indicating that the elements are efficacious in themselves to save us. Yet, if we combine them with faith, they become a real means of grace.
in this way: “Lord, let this be the Sabbath, let this be the season in which I receive renewing grace. Oh, let it be said that today such a one was born to you.”
Obj. You may say, “I have been a longtime hearer of the word, and yet it has not led to my conversion.”
Ans. Yes, but you have not attended to it as a means for your conversion, nor with that intent; nor were you praying for and expecting that this would be the happy effect of it.
Direct. XIII. Shake hands with the Spirit when he begins to work upon your heart. When he convicts, don’t stifle it, but join in with him and beg the Lord to carry on these convictions to conversion. Do not quench the Spirit; don’t reject him, don’t resist him.
Beware of smothering your convictions with evil company, or worldly business. When you are troubled by sin, and by fears about your eternal state, beg God that these may not leave you until they have thoroughly worked your heart away from sin, and worked it over to Jesus Christ. Say to him, “Strike home, Lord; don’t leave the work half-done. You see that I am not yet wounded enough, that I am not troubled enough — wound me deeper still, Lord. Oh, get to the bottom of my corruption; spill the life-blood of my sin.” Thus yield yourself to the workings of the Spirit, and hoist your sails to his gusts.