Master Sermon List
What Must I Do To Be Saved?
The Greatest Concern in the World
by Cotton Mather
[The jailer] "brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:30-31)
What Must I Do to Be Saved?
It is impossible to ask a more weighty Question! It is deplorable that we hear it asked with no more Frequency, with nor more Agony. The Spirit of Slumber which the Poison of the old Serpent has brought upon the children of Men is to be deplored exceedingly. Awaken us out of this [terrible] stupidity, O God of all Grace, lest we perish [eternally].
My Design is to bring in a Good and full Answer to this Weighty Question, Oh! how Thankful ought we to be, for the Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, that makes us able to Answer it! The Gospel which we have in our hands, this a Gospel of such astonishing Mystery, of such Heavenly Majesty, and of such Consummate Purity, that it can be no other than the Word of God; It must be of a Divine Original. Oh! highly Favoured People, who know this Joyful Sound! Oh! Unavoidably and Inexcusably Wretched, if we disregard it.
The Devils knew, That those Excellent Ministers of the Lord Paul and Silas, were come to Philippi, with a design to answer this Weighty Question. They could not bear it; they feared it would issue in a Destruction upon their Kingdom there. They stirred up the minds of some Wicked People, to abuse and Revile these Ministers, and run them into Prison. Some Wicked People were afraid lest they should lose a little Money, by the coming of such Ministers among them; and the Devils inspired these Muckworms to use incessant Endeavours until they had made these Ministers uncapable of Preaching any more unto them.
Our Glorious Lord appeared for his Faithful Servants. They Glorified Him in the midst of their Trials. They Sang His Praises under the Stripes and the Stocks which the Satanic Party inflicted on them. Oh, Patient Servants of the Lord! What a symptom have you that you shall one Day Reign in Glory with Him? These poor men Sang unto the Lord; the Lord heard them, and sav'd them! A terrible Earthquake at Midnight shook open the Doors of their Prison. The Keeper that had the now superseded keys of the Prison, was terrified. In his consternation, he falls down at the feet of his Prisoners, he treats them no longer as Prisoners, but rather as Angels. He fervently puts to them the Question, which, Oh! That it were often heard with an equal fervency among us! What must I do to be Saved?
Some Learned men think that the Goaler had from the Traditions of their Philosophers, conceived some Hope of a better Life; and seeing his Life here in danger, he does, as distressed Wretches in the Last minutes of their Life use to do, Cry out for some help to make sure of a Better Life, Or, more probably, the late words of the possessed Young Woman in the Town about these Ministers; These men are the Servants of the most High God, who show unto us the way of Salvation; might run in his mind, and mind him of that Salvation, and make him think, whether these men were not appointed of God, for the Instruction of others in the way to that Salvation.
There is a most important matter which must now be undertaken to be demonstrated. That whereas there must be something done, by every man that would be saved, it should be the Sollicitious Inquiry of every man What must be done by him, that he may be Saved.
We will proceed upon the awakening Demonstrations of this thing; Demonstrations more powerful than any Thunderbolts. Oh! that the issue might be, that the Hearers may be Awakened, with a mighty Impression upon their Souls to make the Enquiry What must I do to be Saved?
I. You must know, that There is a Great Salvation proposed unto the sinful Children of men; And you must Know, and Think, That there is Nothing of So Great Concernment for any man, as to obtain a part in that Great Salvation.
Indeed Knowledge is the first Thing, that is necessary in order to Salvation; And it is absolutely necessary, Unspeakable Necessary. [Prov. 1] We read Hosea 4:6. of People Destroyed for the lack of Knowledge.
Ah! destructive Ignorance, what shall be done to chase thee out of the World! A world which by thee is rendered a dark World, the Kingdom of Darkness! The Oracles of Wisdom have assured us The Soul without knowledge is not good; They assured us,
They who know not God shall have a Vengeance in flaming Fire, taken of them; They have assured us; 'Tis Life Eternal, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. An Ignorance of the [true] Gospel, is attended with a long Train of Unknown, but very Evil Consequences. Tis the Gospel of Salvation; They that are Ignorant of it must needs miss of Salvation.
'Tis an Erroneous and Pernicious Principle, That a Man may be Saved in any Religion, if he do but Live according to it. The unerring and infallible Gospel has expressly taught us otherwise [in] 2 Cor. 4:3 "If our gospel be hid, it is hid unto them that be lost."
It is not unseasonable here, and as Early as may be, to bring in that Admonition.
Knowledge, Knowledge; To get good Knowledge, let that be the First Care of them that would be Saved. Knowledge, 'Tis a Principal thing; My Child, Get Knowledge; with all thy might, Get understanding. Oh! That this Resolution might immediately be made in the minds of all our people; I will get as much Knowledge as ever I can!
The Word of God must be Read and Heard with Diligence that so you may arrive to the Knowledge that is needful for you.
The Catechisms in which you have the Word of God fitted for your more early Apprehension of it must be diligently Studied.
Unto all the other Means of Knowledge, there must be added, Humble and Earnest Supplications before the Glorious Lord, You must cry to God for Knowledge, and lift up your Voice to Him for Understanding; Prefer it before Silver, Before any Earthy Treasures.
There may be some so very Ignorant, that they know not how to Pray. I would advise them to take the Hundred and Nineteenth Psalm. They will find in it many a Prayer suited unto their circumstances, Take it, Use it, and particularly those Petitions in it: Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy Statutes; and Lord, Teach me Good Judgment and Knowledge; and Lord, Give me Understanding, that I may know thy Testimonies: Give me understanding and I shall Live. Take Encouragement from that word; and Plead it before the Lord: James 1:5. If any of you lack of Wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men Liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
And now to pursue diverse Ends at once, I am to tell you That the Main Things which 'tis necessary for you to know, are the things which concern Salvation. More Particularly;
You must know, first; From What you do need Salvation. And here, First; You are to know, That the One Eternal and Infinite God who Subsisteth in Three Persons which His Word call, The Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit Created our First Parents, in an Holy and Happy State, at the End of the Six Days, in which He Created all things.
But, our First Parents hearkening to the Temptations of Wicked Spirits, did Eat a Forbidden Fruit; and by that sin, they fell from God, and from their Holy and Happy State;
And their Fall has bro't their Children with them, into a State of Sin and Misery, their Sin was our Sin, from their corrupt nature we are born into the world envenom'd with such a Nature [heart].
The Death [eternal] which the Broken Law of God threatened unto them; is due to us all: A Death which intends all Misery, not only in this World, but in Another, where our Souls continue Immortal [live forever], after they have left this world.
Then you are to know; That there is a Law given to us, which, is the Everlasting Rule, according to which God requires us to glorify Him; a Law of Love to God and Man, contained in our Ten Commandments.
But, that you daily break this Law; and that every Breach of it Incurs the Wrath of God who is of Purer Eyes than to behold Evil and cannot look upon Iniquity.
Lastly, you are to know, That while you lie under the Guilt of Sin, you are also under the Reign of Sin, and under the Reign of Satan too; A most woeful Oppression from the Worst Enemies That Can Be. God is in Ill Terms with you. He visits you not with His great consolations All Things are against you; The things that appear for your Welfare, do but Ensnare you, do but Poison you, do but produce your further Distance from God.
Your very prosperity hurts you; Your Adversary lays the Chains of Death upon you. You are every moment in danger, of being seized by the formidable Justice of God for Eternal Burnings. If you Die Unpardoned, you are sent among Devils. Damn'd unto torments; must undergo a strange Punishment, and a long one which is Reserved in a Future State, for the workers of iniquity [unrepentent sinners].
Oh! Sinner; this, is thy Lamentable Case And Knowing this how canst thou do any other than make that Sollicitious Enquiry; What must I do to be Saved? Knowing this Terror of the Lord. Oh! Be Perswaded!
You must know secondly by Whom you may have Salvation. And here; You are to know the great mystery of godliness God manifests in flesh. Your Salvation depends on your knowing of such a Saviour.
We have not the least Intimation in the Book of God, That a unknown Saviour will be ours. But it is dreadfully intimated, That if People have no Understanding of Him, He that made them will not have mercy on them and He that formed them will shew them no Favour.
You are then to know; That the Son of God assumed the Blessed Jesus, the Sinless and Holy Son of a Virgin, into one person with Himself.
And this Admirable Person, who is God and Man in one Person, has as our Surety, fulfilled the Law of God for us; answered the precept of it, in his Righteous Life; answered the Penalty of it, in His grievious death; suffered the Cross, and Endured the Curse in our stead.
You are to know herewithal; that this mighty and matchless and Only Saviour of the world, who is also the Govenor of the World, is Risen from the Dead, and is Enthroned in the Heavens, and will return to rule and Judge the World; but He will Save unto the utermost All that come unto God by Him.
Oh! Undone Sinner; canst thou hear of such a Saviour and not make that Sollicitious enquiry, What must I do, that I may have an Interest in the Only Saviour?
You must Know, Thirdly; What shall be done for you if you find Salvation.
And here; You are to know that no good thing shall be withheld from the Saved of the Lord. Wonder wonder. Be swallowed up with wonderment, at this Grace, O self destroyed ones!
There is Proposed unto You A deliverance from all the undesirable Circumstances, into which you have Run, by your Departure from God.
It is proposed unto you, That you shall No longer be the children of Death, but be made the Children of God. That you shall be Forgiven and Accepted with a Reconciled God and be followed with perpetual Testimonies of his Fatherly Love: That No Iniquity shall have Dominion over you, but you shall become the amiable Temples, wherein He will dwell, with the sweet Influences of His Good Spirit forever irradiating of you.
It is propos'd unto you; That your Spirits, at your Dissolution [death] shall put on the Garments of Light, and Enter into the Peace a Rest of an Heavenly Paradise: That your Bodies ere long by a Resurrection shall be Restored unto your Spirits: but be the Lively, the Lovely, the most Agreeable and Everlasting Mansions for them: That you shall have a Joyful Portion in the city of God, and have His marvelous kindness Forever doing unutterable things for you, in that strong city: There you shall at length be filled with all the Fulness of God and have God become All in All unto you for ever and ever.
All this is contained in the Salvation whereof You have a Tender. Salvation, 'Tis a comprehensive Word as Incomprehensible Good! Eye has not seen, Ear has not heard, no Heart can conceive, what is laid up in the Salvation of God.
Oh! Ruin'd Sinner; why does it not now become thy Sollicitous Enquiry; What must I do that I may not lose the vast things whereunto I am invited by my Saviour?
These are the things that must be known. And if these Things Be known, and Own'd, the plain Inference from them will be this; That the Man is forsaken of Reason, Unworthy to be called a Reasonable Man, who is not very solicitously Inquisitive; What must I do to be saved?
But now, 'tis time to answer that great Enquiry, we will do it by calling in a Second Proposition.
II. Something must be done by every man that would not forfeit all claim, Reject all Hope of the Great Salvation.
And this also must be known. You must Know What must be done. And thereupon it shall be said unto you; Job 13:17. "When you know these things happy are you If you do them." It is Not Enough to Know; There must be Practice Joyn'd With your knowledge.
Something must be done; Else it had never been said, Hebrews 5:6 "Christ is the Author of eternal Salvation, unto all them that Obey him", Something must be done; Else we had never been told; Hebrews 6:9 "There are the things that accompany Salvation."
We are often instructed in the Sacred Writings, That there Is a Way, wherein alone Salvation is to be Expected, A way called The way of Life; and, The way of truth; The way of the Lord; and the way of Peace; and The way of Good men; and, The way of the Righteous. In this way, Something must be done, There are Steps to be taken that we may Fnd this way, and Keep this way. Tis the Everlasting way; There is no Altering of it.
Something must be done; For we are sure, All men are not saved. There are some, who are Children of Perdition, There are some, who are Vessels of wrath; there are some who go away into everlasting punishment, Something must be done, to distinguish you from that crooked Generation. We read, Matthew 7:14 "Narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and Few there be that Find it".
Indeed there is Nothing to be done by us, to merit our Salvation, But something must be done to secure our Salvation.
Indeed there is Nothing to be done by us, in our own strength. But something Must be done by us, thro' Christ who strengthens us.
More plainly, Our Blessedness now come not unto us, on the Terms of a Covenant of works, 'Tis not properly our doings, that is the condition of our Blessedness. We are to be Saved, by Taking rather than by Doing. The condition is receive and be saved. It is, approve, and be Saved. Or, Be willing to be Saved. We speak of Doing, in the Largest sense of the word; and we still say, something must be done, that we may be Saved.
Let the Question then come in. And, Oh! Bring it in with all the Solicitude, which were proper for, the Greatest Concern in the World.
What Must I Do To Be Saved?
I have seen this Question Scandalously answered, in Pamphlets that have been dispersed about our Nation. The One Thing that is needful has been left unregarded, unmention'd. Perhaps the Observation of certain Superstitious Holidays has been recommended instead of that one thing. Alas how have the souls of men been betrayed, by men unskilful in the word of righteousness! How unskilfully, and unfaithfully have the methods of Salvation been declared by many who pervert the Gospel of Christ! Not so now I hope! A pure gospel, a sound doctrine, must be pursu'd, You are now to be treated with nothing but wholesome Words; nothing but the faithful sayings of God.
I. And what Better, what other Answer can be given, (Other Foundation can no man Lay!) to this Question, but what the Apostles of God gave to it of old? When the poor man said what must I do to be Saved, we read they said Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.
This is the Sum of the Gospel; This is the Charge given to the Ministers of the Gospel; Mark 16:15, 16 "Preach the Gospel to every Creature. He that believeth... shall be saved."
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Only Saviour; This, This must be found in all that will be saved.
The faith, which is, A satisfaction of the mind in the way of Salvation by a Glorious Christ Revealed in the Gospel.
The Faith by which we deny our selves, and Rely on a Glorious Christ, for all Salvation.
The Faith by which we Receive a Glorious Christ, and Rest on Him for Salvation as He is offered unto us.
But How must this faith operate in all that would be saved?
Oh Set! Your Hearts to these things; they are not vain things; Your Lives, the very Lives of your Souls are concerned in them.
If your Hearts may now fall in with these things, and form'd and shap'd according to the Evangelical Mold of them lo, This Day Salvation is come unto your souls. Glorious Lord, incline the hearts of our People, to do what must be done that so thy Salvation may be bestow'd upon them.
First this must be done; You must come to be bitterly Sensible, that you want [lack] a Glorious Christ for your Saviour.
We read, John 7:37. "If any Man Thirst let him come unto me." Truly, no man will come to a Christ, until a Thirst or a pungent and Painful Sense of the Want of a Christ be raised in him.
You must feel the Burden of your sin, lying on you; and cry out, Oh' Tis a heavy Burden too heavy for me! You must see God Angry with you, Sin Binding of you, Hell gaping for you; and utterly Despair of helping yourselves out of the confusion that is come upon you.
You must be filled with sorrow, for what you have done; with horror at what you are Expos'd unto. The Cry of your Uneasy Souls must be that; of Romans 7:24. "O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me!" You must be no strangers to such soliloquies as these; I have sinned; I have sinned, and, woe is unto me, that I have sinned, I have lost the knowledge of God and lost the Image of God, and lost the Favour of God. My Sin renders me obnoxious to the Vengeance of God. Lust enchants me, enslaves me; Satan Tyrannizes over me. I am in hourly Hazzard of an Eternal Banishment from God, into Outer Darkness, into the Place of Dragons. Oh! wretched man that I am: I can do nothing to deliver myself. I perish, I perish, except a Glorious Christ be my deliverer.
The Degree of this Distress on the minds of them that shall be saved is Various. There is a Variety in that Prepatory Work, which does distress the Elect of God, in their coming to a Saviour. Converts do sometimes needlessly Distress themselves, and Even deceive themselves, by insisting too much on the Measure of this Preparation.
But so much of this Work, as will render us restless without a Christ; so much of this Work, as will render a whole Christ precious to us before there must be so much in our Experience, if we would be saved.
Secondly; This must be Done; You must confess yourselves, Unable To Do Anything Effectually of yourselves, in coming to a glorious Christ, as your Saviour.
With a fearful trembling of Soul, you must make this Profession; Lord thou worketh in us to Will and to Do, of thy own good Pleasure!
Your Profession must be that of Eph 2:8 "By Grace are ye saved, thro' Faith and that not of yourselves it is the Gift of God."
Your Profession must be that of John 6:65. "No man can come, except it be given to him." Oh! Lie at the Foot of Soverign Grace confessing and Imploring Lord, I am justly destroyed. If I do not sincerely renounce my sin, sincerely embrace my Saviour. But I cannot, Oh! I cannot! I have deadly fetters upon my Soul; I shall never answer thy gracious Calls, except thy Soverign Grace enable me. Oh! Quicken me: Oh! Strengthen me: Oh! Enable me; Turn thou me and I Shall be Turned.
Your Impotency must not now be made an Excuse for your Impenitency. Your Inability must Affright you exceedingly. Affect you Exceedingly; It may not Excuse you in a slothful Negligence. You must Not Remain Careless of doing anything, Because you can thoroughly do nothing.
Having first Cry'd unto God, that He would help you to do what you have to do, you must now try to do it; now try, whether He do not help you to do it.
Thirdly; This must be done; You must Admire, You must Adore, You must Address a Glorious Christ, in all His offices for all His Benefits. Oh! Hear a Compassionate Redeemer Calling you; Isai. 45:22 "Look unto me all ye Ends of the Earth, and be ye Saved." Comply, Reply; Lord, I look unto thee, I will be thine, Save me.
And here, you are to Remember that the First Thing you want is Attonement and Acceptance with God.
For this Purpose you must behold a Glorious Christ, as a Priest bringing a Sacrifice and making a Righteousness for you Accordingly.
Your first Address to Heaven must be this; Lord let my many and horrid sins be Forgiven me for the sake of that great Sacrifice, which thou hast had in the Blood of Jesus Christ thy Son, which Cleanseth from all sin. And Lord Let me who am a poor Sinner utterly hopeless of working out for myself a Righteousness now stand before Thee in the wondrous Righteousness of that Lord, who is the Head of His church, and who has wrought out a Spotless Righteousness for us.
But Remember to Depend on this most sufficient Sacrifice and Righteousness, not as Qualified for it by any good Thing to be observed in yourselves. Do not stay from it on a Prospect anon to come recommended unto it by some commendable goodness in yourselves first attained. No Depend, and Venture upon it, as Encouraged by no other Qualification but this; A most miserable Sinner; yet invited, yet Compelled unto this Mercy of the Lord.
Well; If the Faith which has got thus far, be not a counterfeit, it wont stop here. You must behold a glorious Christ, as a Prophet, and a King. Faith has other errands unto the Saviour besides that, of a desire to be Justified. A true Believer will not count himself saved, if he be not Sanctified, as well as justified.
The Saviour puts this demand unto you; Matthew 20:32 What will ye that I shall do unto you? You answer; O, my great Saviour I come unto thee that by thy being my Sacrifice and my Righteousness and my Advocate, Everliving to make Intercession for me, I may be Saved unto the Uttermost.
But this must not be all. There must be this in the Answer, O my Saviour I come unto thee for Instruction: Let thy Spirit with thy Word cause me to Know the Things of my Peace, and keep me from all Delusions.
And there must be this in the Answer, O my Saviour I come unto thee for Government: Let thy Spirit of Grace, conquer the Enmity of my Heart against the things that are pleasing to God and make me a conquerer over all my Spiritual Adversaries.
This is that Faith, whereof the End is the Salvation of the Soul. Believe after this manner, and you believe to the Saving of the Soul.
II. But we may carry on the Answer, without being reproved for adding anything unto the words of God. A true Faith, will always have Repentance accompanying of it.
Repentance unto life; Tis a Dead Faith which cannot show it; A Dead Soul that has it not,
A genuine Faith is always a Repenting Faith. We see the two sisters hand in hand; Acts 20: 21 Repentance towards God and Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. We constantly see it in the Experience of all the Faithful. 'Tis the Denomination of Repentance; 2 Cor 7:10. Repentance to Salvation. It must be found in all the Candidates of Salvation.
Well then; First; This must be done; You must heartily and bitterly Bewail all your Sins.
Your Original Sin, your Actual Sin; the monstrous Aggravation of your Sin; You must be convinced of it.
A contrition must follow this conviction; With a Broken heart you must cry out, Psalm 38:18 "I will declare my iniquity, I will be sorry for my Sin."
You must mourn for your Sin, and mourn for the Offence given to God by your Sin, as well as for the Mischief done to yourselves: Mourn, Mourn, and never count that you have mourned enough.
Secondly; This must be done You must make a Penitent Confession of your Sins; a Remorseful confession of them, All your known crimes, you must as particularly as you can, Enumerate with shame and grief before the Lord.
You must be able to say; Psalm 51:3, "I acknowledge my Transgressions and my Sin is ever before me. Your Acknowledgement of your secret Sins must be only to the Lord: but where your Sins are Known, where your Neighbors have been either Sufferers by, or Witnesses of your Miscarriages, they also should Know that you acknowledge them.
Thirdly; This must be done; Every way of Sin must be Abhorr'd, must be Avoided, must be Forsaken.
Amendment is Essential to Repentance: Except you reform you don't repent. So you are warn'd of God; Prov. 28:13. "He that confesseth and forsaketh shall find mercy." If you go on in any Evident way of Sin you will find it a Way of Death, a Path of the Destroyer; it will bring to a Damnation that slumbereth not.
Very tremendous Things will be done to those Enemies of God, who go on still in their trespasses. Have you done Amiss? You must say I will do so no more you must not persist in what you have done.
And hence, if you have wrong'd another man in what you have done, you must Vigorously Endeavour all possible restitution, restitution, a Thing too little understood, too little exhorted, too little practised; restitution without which there can be no right repentance. This is the Repentance which is found in every true believer; It must be found in every one that would be saved.
III. And, Holiness, Holiness; A patient continuance in will doing.
There is No Life in the Faith, which is not Productive to an Holy Life; 'Tis not a Faith which will bring to everlasting Life. If the Grace to Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, be infused into the Soul, the Habit of every other Grace is at the same Instant infused.
I will show you the Motto on the Golden Gates of the Holy City; Hebrews 12:14. "Without Holiness no man shall see the Lord." An Holy Life, A Life pressing after Universal and Perpetual conformity to the Rules of Holiness; This, This is the Royal Path leading to salvation; Yea, tis no little part of our Salvation.
This must be done; You must Resign yourselves up unto the Holy Spirit of the Lord; Consent, Request, Entreat, That He would Eternally take Posession of you.
From the Dust, cry unto Him; Psalm 141:10. "Thou art my God thy Spirit is good; lead me unto the land of Rectitude." Cry unto Him; O Spirit of Holiness, Raise me out of the Ruins that my Sin has brought upon me. Possess me forever. Cause me to fear God, and Love Christ, and hate Sin, and slight this World and know myself, and make me meet for the Inheritance of the Saints in Light; Bring me to be one of them, I pray thee, I pray thee! There is a good Foundation of Holiness laid in this resignation.
But then, This must be done; You must Livelily Pursue the Death of Every Sin.
You must fly to the Death of your Saviour, as the purchase and the Pattern of so great a Blessing; but you must count no Trouble too much to be undergone, that you may come at such a Blessing. This is that Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
This must be done: You must set before yourselves the Example of your Saviour: Study how He was in the World; Study to walk as He walked; mightily Delight in every stroke of Resemblance unto Him; Yea, tho' it be in Sufferings that you resemble him. This is that Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
This must be done; You must by a solemn Dedication of yourselves, and your All unto the Lord, become the Lord's.
It must therefore be your Desire to have all your Talents, all your Posessions, and Enjoyments and Interests employ'd for the Honour of the Lord: and owning the Lord, as the great Giver, and Owner, the Lord Proprietor of all that you have, you must be ready to submit unto the will of God when he pleases with afflictive Dispensations to take any of it from you. This is the Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
This must be done; You must remember, That the Eye of the omnipotent God is upon you,
You must often bring this to remembrance, God sees me, hears me, knows me, is acquainted with all my ways, A sense of your being under the Notice of God, and of the Account unto which you will be called by God must make you afraid of incurring His Displeasure; Afraid even of Secret Miscarriages. This is that Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
This must be done: You must make it your Exercise to keep a conscience clear of Offence towards God and towards Man.
You must labour to be Acquainted with your Whole Duty; and your Acquaintance with the Will of God must be followed with proportionable Desires and Labours after Obedience to it.
You must Pray always with all Prayer, with secret Prayer, with Household Prayer, with Public Prayer.
You must have an High Value for those two Sacraments of the New Testament, the Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.
You must religiously Observe the Lord's Day.
You must Preserve your own Place and Life and Bed and Wealth and Name: You must, with the same Sincerity, befriend your Neighbours also in theirs. Love your Neighbours as yourselves, and Do as you would be Done unto.
You must be especially and mightily conscientious of Relative Christianity. Carry it well in all the Relations wherein the Lord has placed you, whether Superiors, or Inferiors, or Equals; with such a Carriage as may adorn the Doctrine of God your Saviour; such a Carriage as may render your co-relatives the better for you.
Briefly, You must Deny all Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts and Live godily and soberly and righteously in the World. This is that Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
Methinks a most Obvious Inference may be drawn from these Things, That the Ministry of the Gospel must be attended, and not neglected, by them who would not neglect the great Salvation; A most awful Inference,
That it is a dangerous Thing to live without the means of Salvation, which are in the ministry of the [True] Gospel ordinarily to be met withal. The Wells of Salvation are kept open in such a ministry. Oh! Do not undervalue the Blessings of those Upper Springs! There are men, who by the command of a glorious Christ, give themselves up unto the service of the Evangelical Ministry, and are the Preachers of the Gospel unto the rest of the world:
An order of men concerning whom our glorious Lord has promised Matthew 28:20, "Lo, I am with you always to the end of the world." If an Angel should come from Heaven unto you as unto Cornelius, once to Speak unto this Question, What must I do to be saved? He would unquestionably say, Repair to such a ministry don't think to live without it.
We have settled the Point; Without Faith we can have no Salvation. But I assume: Romans 10:14, 17 "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Oh! That the Ungospelized Plantations which live, I should rather say, which die, without the means of salvation, would consider of it.
Your Question is answered. O souls in Peril, I may now say unto you; I Cor. 15:2 "You are saved if you keep in memory what I have preached unto you." And yet I must say unto you,
That if after all, you trample upon these things, it will be good for you that you had never been born; the very mention of them will dreadfully increase and inflame your condemnation.
But the success of all must be left with the Glorious One.
And O Father of mercies, Do thou mercifully look down upon the Soul that has heard these Things. Dispose and assist that soul, to do those Good Things, upon which thou hast promised the salvation of the soul. I Pray thee, I Pray thee!
Awake up my soul! the awful day,
Is coming swiftly on,
When thou must leave this House of Clay,
And fly to Worlds unknown.
Oh! do not pass thy Life in Dreams,
To be surpriz'd by Death:
And drop unthinking down to Flames,
When I resign my Breath.
No: every day thy Course review,
Thy real State to learn:
And with an ardent Zeal pursue
Thy Great and Chief concern.
Rouze all the man: thy Work is great,
And all the man demands;
Thine Head, thine Heart, thy Breath, thy Sweat,
Thy Strength and both thine Hands.
Oh! let the important Work be done,
Done whilst 'tis call'd to Day.
Lest thou the time of Hope out-run,
And rue the mad Delay.
Repent (my soul) Believe and Pray:
Bid every lust farewell.
To thy Redeemer haste away,
And scape from Death and Hell.
To whom Dear Jesus, should I live
To whom but Thee alone.
Thou didst at first my being give,
And I am all Thine own.
To Thee I'll then my self devote,
My Life and all my Pow'rs.
Each warm affection, busy thought,
And all my passing Hours.
O Let those glorious Hopes refine,
And elevate my Soul.
To heavenly Things my Heart incline,
And meaner Joys control.
May Faith and Hope stretch all their wings,
And bear me up on high;
And as I mount may Earthly Things,
Below unheeded lie.
JESUS my Saviour and my God,
My Life and Sacrifice,
My Hopes deep founded in thy Blood,
Raise far above the skies.
Prepare me, Lord, for thy Right Hand,
Then come the joyful Day:
Come Death, and come Celestial band,
To bear my Soul away.