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though they were formerly moft vile and hopeless creatures, yet, on their hearing of John, repented, and became disciples indeed. The second represents the Priests and Pharisees, who, notwithstanding of their high pretences to religion, yet were ineleed strangers to it, their practices did not correfpond with their profession.

In the toxt, which concerns the first son, pointing out the penitent publicans and harlots, have two things.

1. The finner's first aníwer to the gospel-call; and it is a sliort one: I will not. Like Israel, Pfal. lxxxi. 11. “But my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me.” The inner so loves his finful ease, that he cannot think of the work in God's vineyard. Observe in this answer, (1.) The rudeness of it. The son remiembered not that he was speaking to a father, so has not so much as a fair word to befyow on him. O the rude treatment Christ meets with at sinners hands! They remember not his authority over tiem, nor do they regard it; but they will be their cwn; who is Lord over them? (2.) The plainnefs of it. He tells the matter plainly; says-not, he cannot, but he will not. It is want of will to the work of religion that is the great stop. Sinners hearts cannot relish the work of religion : The bent of their hearts lies another way. (3.) The peremptoriness of it. He is at a point. The hearing of the word raises his heart against it. Let {inners hear of the work of religion, and that is enough, they desire no more of it. It is a plain case to them, they must not, they will not, engage in such a task.

2. The second answer, in which the former bad answer is happily retracted : But afterwards he repented, and went. He complies with the call he

had

had before refused. The spring of this was, his heart was touched; he took second thoughts of the business, and changed his mind. He fell under after grief, anxiety, and solicitude, as the word fignifies. Conscience, that was filent before, now begins to speak, and his blood begins to cool; he calmly considers what he had answered, and he calls himself beast and fool, that should have adventured so to treat his Father; and hence he takes up the work of religion, which he had before res jected. From this subject there arises this DOCTRINE, That refusing the work of religion is

not to be stood to, but retracted, and the finner will see cause for it, if ever he comes to himself. They who have refused to comply with the gospel-call, to engage in the work of the Lord, should take their word again, and heartily comply with it; and if ever they be wise, they will: do it.

In illustrating this point, I propose to fhew,

I. What is that work to which the gospel calls. and with which finners will not comply?

II. Why is it that finners will not comply with a this work ? :

III. Why this refusal should be retracted.
IV. Make some practical improvement.

I. I AM to fhèw, What is that work to which the gospel calls, and with which finners will not comply ? It is the work of practical godliness, to which most men are strangers. It is a large work, as extensive as the commandment, which is exa ceeding broad. I shall take it up in these two,

1. The gospel calls you to fall to your salvation--Fork, Phil. ii. 126.5 Work out your own salvation

with.

E 3.

with fear and trembling.” Sinners, you are in a
ruined condition ; your souls are pining away in
your iniquities; there is a burden of guilt on you
that will link you ; there is a swarm of living lufts
preying on you, that will devour you. O guilty
creature ! knowest thou not, that thou art God's
enemy, justice's debtor, the law's criminal, and
that the
avenger
of blood is at

your

heels ? The gospel is calling you to consider your ways, and fall to the work of your salvation, before it be too late. This work has two parts: (1.) The work of faith, John vi. 29.“ Jesus anfwered, and faid, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Acts xvi. 31.

" And they faid, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou fhalt be faved, and thy house." It is not that faith wherewith ye have lived in a good belief all your bypast days, so that you had never power to believe an ill tale of your own state'; that is a faith of the devil's planting, and the gospel will have it rooted

up.

It is not that faith which conGifts in your going on in fin without fear. The devils' faith goes beyond this, for they believe and tremble, Jam. ii. 19. But the work of faith to which the gospel calls you, is that whereby a finner, sensible of his undone state, flees out of himself to the Lord Jesus, to unite with him for righteousness aud fanétification, 1 Cor. i. 30. It is that faith, which, when the house, in which the presumptuous hoped, wherein the secure finner efted in his fins, is overturned as by an earthquake, makes the fina ner, naked and destitute, to flee to Jesus Christ, as the only rock and shelter. It is that whereby the finner, sensible that he has lost his two eyes, and therefore cannot guide himself through the wildernefs to Canaan, gives up himself wholly to Christ as his leader, prophet, and healer; and, seeing

the

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the flaming sword of justice pursuing him for fin, runs in under the covert of Jesus' blood, saying, This is my reft ; and being willing to part with fin, but unable to master his lusts, puts himself under the protection of Christ as his King, that he may make havock of his enemies. This, finner, is

your work, your foundation work. Haste, then, out of your natural state, and escape for your life to Jesus Christ. 2. The work of fanctification. Ezek. xviii.

31. « Caft away from you all your tranfgressions whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel ?”-Heb. xii. 14. « Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Sin is the great devourer and destroyer, and therefore the great falvation is from sin. Jesus saves his people from their fins. To think of being saved in sin, is a contradiction, for to be left in it is ruining. The fick man does not desire the physician to remove death, but yet sparé his disease ; yea, but the foolish sinner is thus unreasonable in the case of his soul ; he has no will that his cloaths be burnt, yet he will needs carry fire in his bofom ; he wishes not his feet to be burned, yet he will walk on coals of fire. Living lufts will devour the soul; therefore to work, fin

you must either kill, or be killed. Let not the vineyard of your souls be any more like that of the sluggard. The finner's soul is overgrown with hurtful lusts, there is no fence about it. O! then, work; seek holiness.

3. The gospel calls you to your generation-work. Adts xiii. 36. “ For David, after he had served his own generation, by the will of God, fell on sleep.” Wherefore were you sent into the world, and made members of society? Was it not to

honour

ners, for

honour God, and to be useful to your fellow-servants ? Surely God fent none of us into the world to play ourselves, like the leviathan in the fea; nor to be like mice and rats, good for nothing but to cat that for which others have laboured. Far less did he send you to be agents for the devil, to advance his kingdom, and to oppose the work of the Lord in the places where you live ; nor yet like the beasts, only to eat, drink, work, and sleep. To your work, then, your proper work, the service of God. Perhaps ye will say, ye have not been idle ; but what have ye done for God in your day? What have ye done for the good of any soul ? What have ye done to pluck any brand out of the burning ? I fear, if we reckon our days according to what we have done for God in them, most of us may reckon our days loft days. Look up to God, who placed you in the world, and fay: for what good purpose you have taken up room in his earth. For what use are you in the world? God has given you a talent, what have you gained? He has placed you in such and such situations, and relations, have you done the dries of each?

I am to shew,

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II. Why is it that finners will not comply with: this work ?

1. Because it is the work to which, of all works, their hearts are most averse. Rom. viii. 7. “ Be-cause the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” They would rather do any thing than go and work in God's vineyard. It is against the grain with unrenewed minds. The prodigal would Tather feed fwine than go back to his father, till he came to himself. Judas would rather go to a halter, than go to Christ for pardon. It is like

cutting

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