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he will, till by our wilful fins we become too wicked for such a guide.
Lastly. God does never withdraw his Spirit from us while we continue fit for such a mercy, that is, while there are any hopes (and God knows it very well) whether his grace shall not still be abused and despised. The truth and goodness of God give us all the assurance imaginable of this; and every man's experience may satisfy him, that God leaves no methods untried, which may become a merciful Father, and just Creator, in order to bring his children and creatures to their duty and happiness.
But though a man may, from the good motions of God's Spirit, hope that he is still within the care of God; that God hath not yet given him up to a reprobate mind; yet he ought not to conclude, that therefore he may still go on in wickedness, and still hope that the same infinite love will evermore fave him from ruin. For it is true, God doth wonderfully prevent us, and with great long-suffering bear with his creatures, while there is any hope of a reformation. But when that is over, when we have grieved the Spirit of God too long, and wearied his patience, then followeth the fad state-to be forsaken of God, and given over to a reprobate mind.
The conclusion of the whole will be this: -That nothing but the preserving in your minds a sense and fear of God, can secure
220 THE SIN OF GRIEVING THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
from the foulest vices, from the crafts and assaults of the devil, from God's wrath, and from everlasting damnation.
As then we heartily pray to be delivered from these, we are bound to take great heed unto our ways, that we grieve not the good Spirit of God, and force him to leave us to be governed by our own reason and choices.
May that good Spirit defend us all by his heavenly grace, that we may continue his servants unto our lives end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SERMON SERMON LXXXVII.
PREACHED AT AN ORDINATION.
OUR SAVIOUR'S CONCERN FOR THE COMMON PEOPLE, A PATTERN FOR HIS FOLLOWERS, AND ESPECIALLY FOR MINISTERS OF
MATTH. ix. 36, 37, 38.
BUT WHEN HE SAW THE MULTITUDES, HE WAS MOVED WITH COMPASSION FOR THEM, BECAUSE THEY FAINTED AND WERE SCATTERED ABROAD AS SHEEP HAVING NO SHEPHERD. THEN SAITH HE UNTO HIS DISCIPLES, THE HARVEST TRULY IS PLENTEOUS, BUT THE LABOURERS ARE FEW. PRAY YE THEREFORE THE LORD OF THE HARVEST, THAT HE WILL SEND FORTH LABOURERS INTO HIS HARVEST.
HEN the Son of God is moved with
compassion, to be sure it is not without cause: And yet we find by experience, (such is our ignorance and the corruption of our nature) that that very fight which caused compassion in him, is too often amongst men an occasion of contempt and disregard.
He could not behold, the multitude but with concern and pity, and an earnest desire of having their case and misfortunes confi
dered, and taken care of:-While the gene-
For, verily, the condition of all people, who live without God in the world, is so forlorn and miserable, that if it were but well considered, what hazard they run, and what happiness they are like to lose for want of using their best endeavours to attain it, we could not chuse but be moved with compassion, (as our blessed Saviour was) and strive, at least pray, with all our hearts, that God would raise up men to help them; that he would send forth labourers into his harvest, that he would dispose and fit men with qualifications to instruct the people in the ways of truth and righteousness.
Now, that what I am going to say to you 'may be more edifying, we shall consider, more particularly,
ist. The occasion of our Saviour's great concern.
2dly. We shall see whether the same reasons for concern are not even now to be found amongst us? If so, then,
3dly. We all have equal reason to be affected with pity and compassion, and cheerfully undertake the relief of such as are committed to our care. And, on the other hand,
4thly. The multitude, for whom we shall have a just compasion, will have reason to be very thankful for the concern we express towards them.
And these are the particulars which (by God's good blessing) I shall now explain to you,
I. And first we shall consider the occasion of our Saviour's great concern and compassion. 'The text faith, it was because they fainted, or were tired and lay down, and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. : It is certain, that, to a mind thoroughly awakened, there is not a greater burthen than the sense of that corruption of our nature which is every moment leading us into rebellion against God. To know what is good, and not to be able to perform that good; to know that we must all appear before the judgment-seat of God, and at the same time to know that our lives and actions will not bear to be enquired into; to see a law in our members warring against the law of our minds, and bringing us into captivity to the law of fin; this will make the stoutest heart cry out, O wretched man that I am! who Mall deliver me from this body of death.
And this was the very case of the multitude, which our Saviour beheld with compassion;