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how many came afterwards none can tell), they were first served.
Put in thy name, man, among the biggest, lest thou art made to wait till they are served. You have some men that think themselves very cunning, because they put up their names in their prayers among them that feign it, saying, God, I thank thee I am not so bad as the worst. But believe it, if they be saved at all, they shall be saved in the last place. The first in their own eyes shall be served last; and the last or worst shall be first. The text insinuates it, “ Begin at Jerusalem ;” and reason. backs it, for they have most need. Behold ye, therefore, how God's ways are above ours; we are for serving the worst last, God is for serving the worst first. The man at the pool, that to my thinking was longest in his disease, and most helpless as to his cure, was first healed; yea, he only was healed; for we read that Christ healed him, but we read not then that He healed one more there! (John v. 1–10.)
Wherefore, if thou wouldest soonest be served, put in thy name among the very worst of sinners. Say, when thou art upon thy knees, Lord, here is a Jerusalem sinner! a sinner of the biggest size! and whose burden is of the greatest bulk and heaviest weight! one that cannot stand long without sinking into hell, without Thy supporting hand! "Be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thou to help me!"
Wherefore, I say, be ruled by me in this matter ; feign not thyself another man, if thou hast been a filthy sinner, but go in thy colours to Jesus Christ, and put thyself among the most vile, and let Him alone to put thee among the children (Jer. ü. 19). Confess all that thou knowest of thyself; I know thou wilt find it hard work to do thus; especially if thy mind be legal; but do it, lest thou stay and be deferred with the little sinners, until the great ones have had their alms. What do you think David intended when he said, his wounds stunk and were corrupted, but to hasten God to have mercy upon
THE JERUSALEM SINNER.
him, and not to defer his cure ? “Lord,” says he, “I troubled ; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. . . . . I am feeble and sore broken, by reason of the disquietness of my heart” (Psalm xxxviii. 6–8).
David knew what he did by all this : he knew that his making the worst of his case, was the way to speedy help; and that a feigning and dissembling the matter with God, was the next way to a demur as to his forgiveness.
I have one thing more to offer for thy encouragement, who deemest thyself one of the biggest sinners; and that is, thou art as it were called by thy name, in the first place, to come in for mercy. Thou man of Jerusalem, hearken to thy call; men do so in courts of judicature, and presently cry out, Here, sir; and then they shoulder and crowd, and say, Pray give way, I am called into court. Why, this is thy case, thou great, thou Jerusalem sinner; be of good cheer, He calleth thee (Mark x. 46-49). Why sittest thou still ? arise : why standest thou still? come, man, thy call should give thee authority to come. “Begin at Jerusalem,” is thy call and authority to come ; wherefore up and shoulder it, man; say, Stand away, devil, Christ calls me; stand away, unbelief, Christ calls me; stand away, all ye my discouraging apprehensions, for my Saviour calls me to Him to receive of His mercy. Men will do thus, as I said, in courts below; and why shouldst not thou approach thus to the court above? The Jerusalem sinner is first in thought, first in commission, first in the record of names; and therefore should give attendance with expectation, that he is first to receive mercy of God.
Is not this an encouragement to the biggest sinners to make their application to Christ for mercy ? “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden," doth also confirm this thing; that is, that the biggest sinner, and he that has the biggest burden, is he who is first invited. Christ pointeth over the heads of thousands, as He sits on the throne of grace, directly to such a man ; and says, Bring in hither the maimed, the halt, and the blind; let the Jerusalem sinner that stands there behind come to Me. Wherefore, since Christ says, “ Come,” to thee, let the angels make a lane, and let all men give place, that the Jerusalem sinner may come to Jesus Christ for mercy.
Mr Badman's Courtship. [Rough and homely as it is, “The Life and Death of Mr Badman” is both an entertaining and an affecting book. The picture is from the life. This degenerate son of pious parents had too many counterparts in the licentious days which followed the downfall of the Protectorate and Puritanism; and no book gives us a better notion of the ways of the world at that unprincipled and riotous period. But at the same time that the lively description and the satirical touches make us smile, the terrible reality of the downward career is more fitted to make us stand in awe; and in the broken-hearted life and early death of Mr Badman's wife, the writer finds an outlet for all the tenderness of his gentle nature.]
As I said, he wanted money, and that must be got by a wife, or no way: nor could he so easily get a wife neither, except he became an artist at the way of dissembling; nor would dissembling do among that people that could dissemble as well as he. But there dwelt a maid not far from him, that was both godly and one that had a good portion; but how to get her, there lay all the craft. Well, he calls a council of some of his trusty and cunning companions, and breaks his mind to them; to wit, that he had a mind to marry; and he also told them to whom. But, said he, how shall I accomplish my end? she is religious, and I am not. Then one of them made reply, saying, Since she is religious, you must pretend to be so likewise, and that for some time before you go to
her. Mark, therefore, whither she goes daily to hear, and do you go thither also; but there you must be sure to behave yourself soberly, and make as if you liked the Word wonderful well; stand also where she may see you: and when you come home, be sure that you walk the street very soberly, and go within sight of her. This done for a while, then go to her, and first talk of how sorry you are for your sins, and shew great love to the religion that she is of, still speaking well of her preachers, and of her godly acquaintance, bewailing your hard hap, that it was not your lot to be acquainted with her and her fellow-professors sooner; and this is the way to get her. Also you must write down sermons, talk of scriptures, and protest that you came a-wooing to her, only because she is godly, and because you should count it your greatest happiness if you might have but such a one. As for her money, slight it: it will be never the further off; that is the way to come soonest at it: for she will be jealous at first that you come for her money: you know what she has, but make not a word about it. Do this, and you
shall see if you
do not entangle the lass.
Thus was the snare laid for this poor honest maid, and she was quickly catched in his pit.
Attentive. Why, did he take this counsel ?
Wiseman. Did he ! yes, and after a while, went as boldly to her, and that under a vizard of religion, as if he had been for honesty and godliness one of the most sincere and uprighthearted in England. He observed all his points, and followed the advice of his counsellors, and quickly obtained her too; for natural parts he had. He was tall and fair, and had plain, but very good clothes on his back; and his religion
more easily obtained, for he had seen something in the house of his father and first master, and so could the more readily put himself into the form and show thereof.
So he appointed his day, and went to her, as that he might easily do, for she had neither father nor mother to oppose. Well, when he was come, and had given her a civil compliment, to let her understand why he was come, then he began and told her, That he had found in his heart a great deal of love to her person; and that of all the damsels in the world he had pitched upon her, if she thought fit to make her his beloved wife. The reasons, as he told her, why he had pitched upon her were her religious and personal excellences; and therefore entreated her to take his condition into her tender and loving consideration. As for the world, quoth he, I have a very good trade, and can maintain myself and family well, while my wife sits still on her seat; I have got thus and thus much already, and feel money come in every day; but that is not the thing that I aim at; it is an honest and godly wife. Then he would present her with a good book or two, pretending how much good he had got by them himself. He would also often be speaking well of godly ministers, especially of those that he perceived she liked and loved most. Besides, he would be often telling of her what a godly father he had, and what a new man he was also become himself; and thus did this treacherous dealer deal with this honest and good girl, to her great grief and sorrow, as afterwards you shall hear.
Atten. But had the maid no friend to look after her ?
Wise. Her father and mother were dead, and that he knew well enough, and so she was the more easily overcome by his naughty, lying tongue. But if she had never so many friends, she might have been beguiled by him. It is too much the custom of young people now to think themselves wise enough to make their own choice, and that they need not ask counsel of those that are clder, and also wiser than they ; but this is a great fault in them, and many of them have paid dear for it. Well, to be short, in little time Mr Badman obtains his desire; gets this honest girl and her money; is married to her; brings