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which was cast into the sea," the world, " and
gathered of every kind," good and bad ; " which
when it was full, they drew it to shore," to the end of
the world, " and sat down," in judgment, " and
gathered the good into vessels, and cast the bad
away." Some bad fishes ; nay, I doubt a great
many, will be found in the net of the gospel
at the day of judgment. Watch and be sober,
professors !

12. " And many shall come from the east and
from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham,
and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven ;
and the children of the kingdom shall be cast out."
(Matt. viii. 12.) The children of the kingdom,
whose privileges were said to be these, " to whom
pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the
covenants, and the giving of the law, and the ser-
vice of God, and the promises." (Rom. ix. 4.)
I take liberty to harp the more upon the fir.^t
church, because that that happened to them, hap-
pened as types and examples, intimating, there is
ground to think, that things of as dreadful a nature
are to happen among the churches of the Gentiles.
(1 Cor. x. 11, 12.) Neither, indeed, have the
Gentile churches security from God that there
shall not as dreadful things happen to them. And
concerning this very thing sufficient caution is
given to us also. (1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Gal. v. 19 — 21.



394



THE STRAIT GATE.



Eph. v. 8— fi. rhil. iii. 17, 19. 2 Thcss. ii. 11, 12.
2 Tim. ii. 20, 21. Heb. vi. 4—8 ; x. 26—28.
2 Pet. ii. ; iii. 1 John v. 10. Rev. ii. 20—22.)

18. The parable of the true vine and its
branches confirms what I have said. By the vine
there I understand Christ, Christ as head ; by the
branches I understand his church. Some of these
branches proved fruitless east-aways, were in time
oast out of the church, were gathered by men, and
burned. (John xv. 1 — 6.)

14. Lastly, I will come to particular instances :

(1.) The twelve had a devil among them, (John
vi. 70.) ('2.) Ananias and Sapphira were in the
church of Jerusalem. (Acts v.) (3.) Simon Ma-
gus was among them at Samaria. (Acts viii.)
(1.) Among the church of Corinth were them that
had not the knowledge of God. (1 Cor. xv. 34.)
(5.) Paul tells the Galatians, false brethren crept
in unawares ; and so does the Apostle Jude, ami
yet they were as quick-sighted to see as any QOW-
a-days. (Gal. ii. 4. Jude iii.) (G.) The church in
Sardis had but a few names in her to whom the
kingdom of heaven belonged : " Thou hast a few
nanus, even in Sardis, which have not defiled their
garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for
they are worthy." (Rev. iii. 4<) (7. As for the church
.if the Laodiceans, it is called "wretched, and mise-
rable, and poor, and blind, and naked." (Rev. iii.
17.) So that, put all things together, and I may
boldly say, as I also have said already, that among
the multitude of them that shall be damned, pro-
fessors will make a considerable party ; or, to
speak in the words of the observation, " When
men have put in all the claim they can for heaven,
hut few will have it for their inheritance."

I will now show yon some reasons of the point,
besides those five that. I showed you before.

I. I will show you why the poor, carnal, igno-
rant world miss of heaven ; and then, II. Why
the knowing professors miss of it also.

1. 1. The poor, carnal, ignorant world miss of
heaven, even because they love their sins, and
cannot part with them : " Men love darkness rather
than light, because their deeds be evil." (John iii.
I'.*.) The poor ignorant world miss of heaven,
because they are enemies in their minds to God,
his word, and holiness: they must be all damned
who take pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess.
ii. 10 — 12.) The poor ignorant world miss of
heaven, because they stop their ears against con-
victions, and refuse to come when (iod calls:
'• Because I have called, and ye refused ; I have
Btretched out my hand, and no man regarded, but
have set at nought all my counsels, and would
none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your
calamities, and mock when your fear cometh as
desolation, and your destruction as a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish cometh upon you ; then
thai! you call upon me, but I will not answer;
Bhey shall seek me early, but shall not find me."
(Prov. i. 24 28.)

2. The poor gnorant world miss of heaven,



because the god of this world hath blinded their
eyes that they can neither see the evil and damn-
able state they are in at present, nor the way to
get out of it ; neither do they see the beauty of
Jesus Christ, nor how willing he is to save poor
sinners. (2 Cor. iv. 2, 3.) *

3. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven,
because they put off and defer coming to Christ
until the time of God's patience and grace is over.
Some, indeed, are resolved never to come ; but
some again say, We will come hereafter •> and so it
comes to pass, that because God called, and they
did not hear ; so they shall cry, and I will not
hear, saith the Lord. (Zech. vii. 11 — 13.)

4. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven,
because they have false apprehensions of God's
mercy. They say in their hearts, We shall have
peace, though we walk in the imagination of our
heart, to add drunkenness to thirst. But what
saith the word ? " The Lord will not spare him ;
hut then the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy,
shall smoke against that man, and all the curses
that are written in this book shall be upon him,
and God shall blot out his name from under
heaven." (Dent. xxix. 20.)

5. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven,
because they make light of the gospel that offereth
mercy to them freely, and because they lean upon
their own good meanings, and thinkings, and
doings. (Matt. xxii. 1—5. Rom. ix. 30, 81.)

G. The poor carnal world miss of heaven, be-
cause by unbelief, which reigns in them, they are
kept for ever from being clothed with Christ's
righteousness, and from washing in his blood,
without which there is neither remission of sin
nor justification. But to pass these till anon,

II. I come, in the next place, to show'ybu some
reasons why the professor falls short of heaven.

First. In the general, they rest in things below
speeial grace ; as in awakenings that are not spe-
cial, in repentance that is not special, &c. ; and
a little to run a parallel betwixt the one and the
other, that, if God will, you may see and escape.

1. Have they that shall be saved awakenings
about their state by nature ? So have they that
shall be damned. They that never gj> to heaven
may see much of sin, and of the wrath of God due
thereto. This had Cain and Judas, and yet they
came short of the kingdom. (Gen. iv. Matt, xxvii.
4.) The saved have convictions, in order to their
eternal life ; but the others' convictions are not so.
The convictions of the one do drive them sincerely
to Christ ; the convictions of the other do drive
them to the law, and the law to desperation at
last.

2. There is a repentance that will not save, a
repentance to be repented of; and a repentance to
salvation, not to be repented of. (2 Cor. vii. 10.)
Yet so great a similitude and likeness there is
betwixt the one and the other, that most times the
wrong is taken for the right, and through this mis-
take professors perish. As, (1.) In saving repent-



THE STRAIT GATE.



89/



ance there will be an acknowledgment of sin ; and
one that hath the other repentance may acknow-
ledge his sins also. (Matt, xxvii. 4.) (2.) In
saving repentance there is a crying ont under sin ;
but one that hath the other repentance may cry
out under sin also. (Gen. iv. 13.) (3.) In saving
repentance there will be humiliation for sin ; and
one that hath the other repentance may humble
himself also. (1 Kings xxi. 29.) (4.) Saving re-
pentance is attended with self-loathing ; but he
that hath the other repentance may have loathing
of sin too, (2 Pet. ii. 22 ;) a loathing of sin, because
it is sin, that he cannot have ; but a loathing of
sin, because it is offensive to him, that he may
have. The dog doth not loathe that which trou-
bleth his stomach, because it is there, but because
it troubleth him ; when it has done troubling of
him, he can turn to it again, and lick it up as be-
fore it troubled him. (5.) Saving repentance is
attended with prayers and tears ; but he that hath
none but the other repentance, may have prayers
and tears also. (Gen. xxvii. 34, 35. Ileb. xii. 16,
17.) (G.) In saving repentance there is fear and
reverence of the word and ministers that bring it;
but this may be also where there is none but the
repentance that is not saving ; for Herod feared
John, knowing that he was a just man, and holy,
and observed him ; when he heard him, he did
many things, and heard him gladly. (Mark vi. 20.)
(7.) Saving repentance makes a man's heart very
tender of doing anything against the word of God.
But Balaam could say, " If Balak would give me
his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond
the word of the Lord." (Numb. xxiv. 13.)

Behold, then, how far a man may go in repent-
ance, and yet be short of that which is called
" repentance unto salvation, not to be repented
of." 1. He may be awakened ; 2. He may ac-
knowledge his sin ; 3. He may cry out under the
burden of sin ; 4. He may have humility for it ;
5. He may loathe it; G. May have prayers and
tears against it ; 7. May delight to do many things
of God ; 8. May be afraid of sinning against him ;
and after all this may perish for want of saving
repentance.

Second. Have they that shall be saved; faith ?
Why, they that shall not be saved may have faith
also ; yea, a faith in many things so like the faith
that saveth, that they can hardly be distinguished,
though they differ both in root and branch. To
come to particulars.

1. Saving faith hath Christ for its object; and
so may the faith have that is not saving. Those
very Jews, of whom it is said they believed on
Christ, Christ tells them, and that after their be-
lieving, " Ye are of your father the devil, and the
lusts of your father ye will do." (John viii. 44.)
2. Saving faith is wrought by the word of God ;
and so may the faith be that is not saving. (Luke
viii. 13.) 3. Saving faith looks for justification
without works ; and so may a faith do that is not
saving. (James ii. 18.) 4. Saving faith will sanc-



tify and purify the heart; and the faith that is
nut saving may work a man off from the pollutions
of the world, as it did Judas, Demas, and others.
(See 2 Pet. ii.) 5. Saving faith will give a man
tastes of the world to come, and also joy by those
tastes ; and so will the faith do that is not saving.
(Heb. vi. 4, 5. Luke viii. 13.) G. Saving faith
will help a man, if called thereto, to give his body
to be burned for his religion ; and so will the faith
do that is not saving. (1 Cor. xiii. 1 — 5.) 7. Sav-
ing faith will help a man to look for an inherit-
ance in the world to come ; and that may the
faith do that is not saving : " All those virgins
took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bride-
groom." (Matt. xxv. 1.) 8. Saving faith w'll
not only make a man look for, but prepare to meet
the bridegroom ; and so may the faith do that is
not saving : " Then all these virgins arose, and
trimmed their lamps." (Matt. xxv. 7.) 9. Sav-
ing faith will make a man look for an interest in
the kingdom of heaven with confidence, and the
faith that is not saving will even demand entrance
of the Lord : Lord, Lord, open unto us. (Matt,
xxv. 11.) 10. Saving faith will have good works
follow it into heaven ; and the faith that is not
Baving may have great works follow it, as far as
to heaven gates : " Lord, have we not prophesied
in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, and
in thy name done many wondrous works?" (Matt,
vii. 22.)

Now, then, if the faith that is not saving may
have Christ for its object,' be wrought by the word,
look for justification without works, work men off
from the pollutions of the world, and give men
tastes of, and joy in the things of another world ;
I say again, if it will help a man to burn for his
judgment, and to look for an inheritance in
another world ; yea, if it will help a man to pre-
pare for it, claim interest in it; and if it can carry
great works, many great and glorious works, as
far as heaven gates, then no marvel if abundance
of people take this faith for the saving faith, and
so fall short of heaven thereby. Alas, friends!
there arc but few that can produce such for re-
pentance ; and such faith, as yet you see, I have
proved even reprobates have had in several ages
of the church. But,

Third. They that go to heaven are a praying
people ; but a man may pray that shall not be
saved. Pray ! he may pray, pray daily ; yea, he
may ask of God the ordinances of justice, and may
take delight in approaching to God ; nay, further,
such souls may, as it were, cover the altar of the
Lord with tears, with weeping and crying out
(Isa. xxviii. 2. Mai. ii. 13.)

Fourth. Do God's people keep holy fasts ? they
that are not his people may keep fasts also, may
keep fasts often, even twice a-week. " The Pha-
risee stood, and prayed thus with himself : God, I
thank thee that I am not as other men are, extor-
tioners, unjust, adnlterers, or even as this Publi-
can. I fast twice a-week, I give tithes of all that



396



THE STRAIT GATE.



I possess." (Luke xviii. 11, 12.) I might enlarge
upon things, but I intend but a little book. I do
not question but many Balaamites will appear
before the judgment-seat to condemnation ; men
that have had visions of God, and that knew the
knowledge of the Most High ; men that have had
the Spirit of God come upon them, and that have
by that been made other men ; yet these shall go
to the generations of their fathers, they shall never
see light. (Numb. xxiv. 2, 4, 16. 1 Sam', x. 6, 10.
Ps. xlix. 19.)

I read of some men whose excellency in reli-
gion mounts up to the heavens, and their head
reaches unto the clouds, who yet shall perish for
ever like their own dung ; and he that in this
world hath seen them, shall say at the judgment,
Where are they ? (Job xx. 5 — 7.) There will be
many a one that were gallant professors in this
world, be wanting among the saved in the day of
Christ's coming ; yea, many whose damnation was
never dreamed of. Which of the twelve ever
thought that Judas would have proved a devil ?
nay, when Christ suggested that one among them
was naught, they each were more afraid of them-
selves than of him, (Matt. xxvi. 21 — 23.) Who
questioned the salvation of the foolish virgins ?
the wu'se ones did not, they gave them the privi-
lege of communion with themselves. (Matt, xxv.)
The discerning of the heart, and the infallible
proof of the truth of saving grace, is reserved to
the judgment of Jesus Christ at his coming. The
church and best of saints sometimes hit, and some-
times miss in their judgments about this matter ;
and the cause of our missing in our judgment, is,
1. Partly because we cannot infallibly, at all times,
distinguish grace that saveth from that which doth
but appear to do so. 2. Partly, also, because some
men have the art to give right names to wrong
things. 3. And partly because we, being com-
manded to receive him that is w T eak, are afraid to
exclude the least Christian. By a hid means,
hypocrites creep into the churches. But what
saith the Scripture ? "I the Lord search the
heart, I try the reins." And again ; " All the
churches shall know that I am he that searches
the reins and hearts, and I will give to every one
of you according to your works." ( Jer. xi. 20 ;
xvii. 10. Rev. ii. 23.) To this Searcher of hearts
is the time of infallible discerning reserved, and
then you shall see how far grace that is not saving
hath gone ; and also how few will be saved in-
deed ! The Lord awaken poor sinners by my
little book.

I come now to make some brief Use and Appli-
cation of the whole ; an 1,

I. My first word shall be to the open profane.
Poor sinner, thou readest here, that but a few will
be saved, that many that expect heaven will go
without heaven. What sayest thou to this, poor
sinner? Let me say it over again. There are
but few to be saved, but very few ; let me add,
but few professors; but few eminent professors.



What sayest thou now, sinner? If judgment
begins at the house of God, what will the end of
them be that obey not the gospel of God ? This
is Peter's question. Canst thou answer it, sinner ?
Yea, I say again, if judgment must begin at them,
will it not make thee think, What sh'all become
of me ? And I add, when thou shalt see the stars
of heaven to tumble down to hell, canst thou think
that such a muck -heap of sin as thou art shall be
lifted up to heaven? Peter asks thee another
question, to wit, " If the righteous scarcely be
saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear ?"
(1 Pet. iv. 18.) Canst thou answer this question,
sinner ? Stand among the righteous thou mayest
not ; " The ungodly shall not stand in the judg-
ment, nor sinners in the congregation of the right-
eons." (Ps. i. 5.) Stand among the wicked, thou
then wilt not dare to do. Where wilt thou
appear, sinner ? to stand among the hypocrites
will avail thee nothing. The hj'pocrite " shall not
come before him," that is, with acceptance, but
shall perish. (Job xiii. 16.) Because it concerns
thee much, let me over with it again. When thou
shalt see less sinners than thou art bound up by
angels in bundles to burn them, where wilt
thou appear, sinner ? Thou mayest wish thyself
another man, but that will not help thee, sinner.
Thou mayest wish, Would I had been converted
in time ! but that will not help thee neither. And
if, like the wife of Jeroboam, thou shouldst feign
thyself to be another woman, the Prophet, the
Lord Jesus, would soon find thee out? What
wilt thou do, poor sinner ? Heavy tidings, heavy
tidings, will attend thee, except thou repent, poor
sinner ! (1 Kings xiv. 2, 5, 6. Luke xiii. 3, 5.)
Oh, the dreadful state of a poor sinner, pf^an open
profane sinner ! Every body that hath but com-
mon sense knows that this man is in the broad
way to death, yet he laughs at his own damnation.
Shall I come to particulars with thee ?

1. Poor unclean sinner, the harlot's house is
the way to hell, going down to the chambers" of
death. (Prov. ii. 18 ; v. 5; vii. 27.)

2. Poor swearing and thievish sinner, God hath
prepared the curse, that " every one that stealeth
shall be cut off, as on this side, according to it ;
and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as
on that side, according to it." (Zech. v. 3.)

3. Poor drunken sinner, what shall I say to
thee ? " Woe to the drunkards of Ephraim ;"
" woe to them that are mighty to drink wine, and
men of strong drink; they shall not inherit the
kingdom of heaven." (Isa. xxviii. 1 ; v. 22^ 1 Cor.
vi. 9, 10.)

4. Poor covetous, worldly man, God's word says
that "the covetous the Lord abhorreth;" that
" the covetous man is an idolater ;" and that the
covetous " shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
(Ps. x. 3. Eph. v. 5. John ii. 15. l^Cor. vi. 9, 10.)

5. And thou, liar, what wilt thou do ? " All
liars shall have their part in the lake that burnetii
with fire and brimstone." (Rev. xxi. 8, 27.)



THE STRAIT GATE.



397



I shall not enlarge. Poor sinner, let no man
deceive thee ; for M because of these things cometh
the wrath of God upon the children of disobe-
dience." (Eph. v. 6.) I will therefore give thee a
short call, and so leave thee.

Sinner, awake ; yea, I say unto thee, Awake !
Sin lieth at thy door, and God's axe lieth at thy
root, and hell -fire is right underneath thee. I say
again, Awake ! " Every tree, therefore, that
bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and
cast into the fire." (Gen. iv. 7. Matt. iii. 10.)

Poor sinner, awake ! Eternity is coming, and
his Son, they are both coming to judge the world.
Awake! art yet asleep, poor sinner? let me set
the trumpet to thine ear once again. The hea-
vens will be shortly on a burning flame ; the earth,
and the works thereof, shall be burned up, and
then wicked men shall go into perdition. Dost
thou hear this, sinner ? (2 Pet. iii.) Hark again ;
the sweet morsels of sin will then be fled and
gone, and the bitter burning fruits of them only
left. What sayest thou now, sinner ? canst thou
drink hell-fire ? will the wrath of God be a plea-
sant dish to thy taste ? This must be thine every
day's meat and drink in hell, sinner.

I will yet propound to thee God's ponderous
question, and then for this time leave thee : " Can
thine heart endure, or can thine hand be strong in
the day that I shall deal with thee, saith the
Lord?" (Ezek. xxii. 14.) What sayest thou?
Wilt thou answer this question now ? or wilt thou
take time to do it ? or wilt thou be desperate, and
venture all ? And let me put this text in thine
ear, to keep it open ; and so the Lord have mercy
upon thee : " Upon the wicked shall the Lord rain
snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tem-
pest ; this shall be the portion of their cup." (Ps.
xi. 6.) Repent, sinners !

II. My second word is to them that are upon
the potter's wheel ; concerning whom, we know
not, as yet, whether their convictions and awaken-
ings will end in conversion, or no ; several things
I shall say to you, both to further your convictions,
and to caution you from staying anywhere below
or short of saving grace.

1. Remember that but few shall be saved ; and
if God should count thee worthy to be one of that
few, what a mercy would that be !

2. Be thankful, therefore, for convictions ; con-
version begins at conviction, though all conviction
doth not end in conversion. It is a great mercy
to be convinced that we are sinners, and that we
need a Saviour ; count it therefore a mercy ; and
that thy convictions may end in conversion, do
thou take heed of stifling of them. It is the way
of poor sinners to look upon convictions as things
that are hurtful ; and therefore they use to shun
the awakening ministry, and to check a convincing
conscience. Such poor sinners are much like to
the wanton boy that stands at the maid's elbow,
to blow out her candle as fast as she lights it
at the fire. Convinced sinner, God lighteth thy



candle, and thou puttest it out ; God lights it
again, and thou puttest it out ; yea, " how oft is
the candle of the wicked put out!" (Job xxi. 17.)
At last God resolveth he will light thy candle no
more ; and then, like the Egyptians, you dwell all
your days in darkness, and never see light more,
but by the light of hell-fire ; wherefore give glory
to God, and if he awakens thy conscience, quench
not thy convictions. Do it, saith the prophet,
" before he cause darkness, and before your feet
stumble upon the dark mountains, and he turn
your convictions into the shadow of death, and
make them gross darkness." (Jer. xiii. 16.)

(1.) Be willing to see the worst of thy condition.
It is better to see it here than in hell ; for thou
mnst see thy misery here or there. (2.) Beware
of little sins, they will make way for great ones,
and they again will make way for bigger, upon
which God's wrath will follow ; and then may thy
latter end be woi's« than thy beginning. (2 Pet. ii.
20.) (3.) Take heed of bad company, and evil
communication, for that will corrupt good manners.
God saith, evil company will turn thee away from
following him, and will tempt thee to serve other
gods, devils. " So the anger of the Lord will be
kindled against thee, and destroy thee suddenly."
(Deut. vii. 4.) (4.) Beware of such a thought as
bids thee delay repentance ; for that is damnable.
(Prov. i. 24. Zech. vii. 12, 13.) (5.) Beware of
taking example by some poor carnal professor,
whose religion lies in the. tip of his tongue. Be-
ware, I say, of the man whose head swims with
notions, but " his life is among the unclean." (Job
xxxvi. 14.) " He that walketh with wise men
shall be wise ; but a companion of fools shall be
destroyed." (Prov. xiii. 20.) (6.) Give thyself
much to the word, and prayer, and good confer-
ence. (7.) Labour to see the sin that cleaveth to
the best of thy performances, and know that all is
nothing if thou be not found in Jesus Christ. (8).
Keep in remembrance, that God's eye is upon thy
heart, and upon all thy ways : " Can any hide
himself in secret places, that I should not see him,
saith the Lord ? do not I fill heaven and earth,
saith the Lord?" (Jer. xxiii. 24.) (9.) Be often
meditating upon death and judgment. (Eccles. xi.
9 ; xii. 14.) (10.) Be often thinking what a
dreadful end sinners that have neglected Christ
will make at that day of death and judgment.



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