(Guthrie, The Christian's Great Interest. part 6)

often peace as to a man's state according to Scripture, whilst his 
conscience threatens the contrary, and does still condemn, and refuseth 
to acquit the man, as being reconciled unto God through Christ. In this 
case, the conscience must be informed, and the man's gracious state made 
out by the marks of grace, as we showed before; and here the witness of 
my own spirit will do much to allay the cry of the conscience; and if the 
Spirit of the Lord join His witness and testimony, the conscience is 
perfectly satisfied, and proclaimeth peace to the man. 
   The other peace, as to a man's present case or condition, namely, that 
it is approved of God in a gospel sense, may be awaiting, and justly 
wanting, although the peace concerning a man's state be sure. This peace 
as to a man's case and condition, is either such in the court of 
Scripture, and this is when a man is not regarding iniquity, and 
respecting the commands of God without exception: then the Scripture 
saith, he stands in an even place, and he need fear no stated quarrel 
between God and him in order to a temporary stroke: and when it is thus, 
his conscience should also acquit him that same way, and would do so if 
it were rightly informed. But because the conscience is often in the 
dark, therefore a man may be alarmed with evil in the court of 
conscience, as if he were justly to expect a stroke from God because of 
his sin, and some quarrel God has at him, although He intend salvation 
for him. This is enough to keep a man in disquiet, and to prohibit him 
from the rejoicing allowed him whilst he is walking in his integrity; 
therefore a man must here also inform his conscience, and receive no 
accusations nor condemnings from it, unless it make them clear by 
Scripture. At that by let every man stand, both as to his state, and his 
condition or case; and let him appeal from all other courts to that, and 
not receive any indictment, unless conformed to the truth of God, by 
which the conscience is to be regulated in all things. And if this were 
well looked unto, there would not be so many groundless suspicions 
amongst the Lord's people, either as to their state or their condition, 
upon every thought which entereth their mind. 
   12. There is the joy of the Holy Ghost; and this is when the Spirit 
breathes upon our rejoicing in God, which is a grace very little in 
exercise with many, and maketh it set out sensibly and vigorously; and 
when He excites and stirs the passion of joy and of delight in the soul, 
so that there is an unspeakable and glorious joy in the soul, in the 
apprehension of God's friendship and nearness unto him--'In whom though 
now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and 
full of glory.' (1 Peter 1: 8.) This joy followeth upon peace, and peace 
followeth upon righteousness--'The kingdom of God--is righteousness and 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' (Rom. 14: 17.) This joy will in 
general not fail to be according to the measure of the assurance of 
faith, as 1 Peter 1: 8--'In whom believing ye rejoice.' So that the 
removal of mistakes about other things will allay doubts as to this. 
   Now, because some of these excellent communications of the Spirit, 
after they are gone, are brought into question as delusions of Satan: for 
vindication of them, we say that the special operations of God's Spirit 
in any high degree, usually are communicated to people after much 
brokenness of spirit--'Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones 
which Thou hast broken may rejoice' (Psa. 51: 8),--after singular pains 
in religious duty--'And I set my face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer 
and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and whiles I 
was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin, the man Gabriel whom I 
had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, 
touched me' (Dan. 9: 3, 21),--or in time of great suffering for 
righteousness--'Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's 
sufferings, that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also 
with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are 
ye, for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you' (1 Peter 4: 
14);--or if they break in as the rain that waiteth not for man, then they 
do so humble and abase the person--'Woe is me, for I am undone, because I 
am a man of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of 
hosts' (Isa. 6: 5),--and there are found so many evidences of grace in 
the man--'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are 
the children of God' (Rom. 8: 16),--or these things do so provoke unto 
holiness, and to have every thing answerable and conformable to these 
manifestations of God--'Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, 
depart from iniquity.' (2 Tim. 2: 19.) The person under them loathes all 
things besides God's friendship and fellowship--'Peter said unto Jesus, 
Lord, it is good for us to be here.' (Matt. 17: 4.) And these things 
carry on them and with them so much authority and divine superscription, 
whilst they are in the soul, that afterwards they do appear sufficiently 
to be special communications of God, and singular gracious operations of 
His Spirit, and no delusion of 'Satan transforming himself into an angel 
of light' (2 Cor. 11: 14); nor such common flashes of the Spirit as may 
afterwards admit of irrecoverable apostasy from God-- 'For it is 
impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the 
heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted 
the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall 
fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.' (Heb. 6: 4, 5, 6.) 
   Now, then, to conclude this part of the work that relates to the 
trial: I say to all those who complain of the want of the precious 
outpourings of the Spirit,--1. Bless God if you want nothing essential 
for the making out of a saving interest in Christ. God has given unto you 
Christ Jesus, the greatest gift He had; and since your heart is laid out 
for Him, He will, with Him, give you all things that are good for you in 
their season. 2. I do believe, upon a strict search and trial, after you 
have understood the communications of the Spirit, you are not so great a 
stranger to many things as you suspected yourselves to be. But, 3. 
Remember, the promises of life and of peace with God, are nowhere in 
Scripture made unto those special things whereof you allege the want: the 
promises are made unto faith, followed with holiness; and it may be 
presumed, that many heirs of glory do not in this life partake of some of 
these things, but 'are in bondage all their days through fear of death' 
(Heb. 2: 15); so that there shall be no mistake about these things; we 
may seek after them, but God is free to give or withhold them. 4. Many do 
seek after such manifestations before they give credit by faith unto 
God's word. He has borne record that there is life enough for men in 
Christ Jesus; and if men would by believing, set to their seal that God 
is true, they should partake of more of these excellent things. 5. I may 
say many have not honorable apprehensions and thoughts of the Spirit of 
God, whose proper work it is to put forth the aforesaid noble operations. 
They do not adore Him as God, but vex, grieve, quench, and resist Him: 
and many people, complaining of the want of these things, are not at the 
pains to seek the Spirit in His outgoings, and few do set themselves 
apart for such precious receptions: therefore be at more pains in 
religion, give more credit to His word, and esteem more highly the grace 
of the Spirit of God, and so you may find more of these excellent things. 

The Christian's Great Interest 
PART II.--How to Attain a Saving Interest in Christ 
Having, in the former part of this Treatise, put every man's state to the 
trial, it now remains that, in this following part, we give advice to 
those who neither can nor dare lay claim to the marks formerly mentioned. 
Quest. II. What shall they do who want the marks of a true and saving 
interest in Christ, already spoken of, and neither can nor dare pretend 
unto them? 
Ans. If men do not discover in themselves the marks of a saving interest 
in Christ, spoken of before, then it is their duty, and the duty of all 
that hear the gospel, personally and heartily to close with God's device 
of saving sinners by Christ Jesus, and thus to secure their state. 
Chapter I.--Some Things Premised for the Information of the Ignorant 
For the better understanding of this, we shall premise some things for 
the information of those who are more ignorant, and then speak more 
directly to the thing. As for the things to be premised:-- 
   1. The Lord did, at the beginning, out of His bounty, make a covenant 
with man in Adam--'And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every 
tree in the garden thou mayst freely eat; but of the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that 
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' (Gen. 2: 16, 17.) And He gave 
the man ability to abide in that covenant--'God has made man upright' 
(Eccl. 7: 29); but man, by eating of that forbidden fruit, did break that 
covenant--'They, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant' (Hos. 6: 7); 
and made it void forever, and involved himself in misery thereby--'By the 
deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in His sight' (Rom. 
3: 20); 'As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and 
so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' (Rom. 5: 12.) 
   2. The Lord did most freely, from everlasting, purpose and intend to 
save men another way, namely, by Christ Jesus, and the covenant of grace, 
in which He intended reconciliation with the elect through Christ Jesus, 
God and man, born of a woman, in due time to make this agreement 
effectual. And this device of satisfying His own justice, and saving of 
the elect by Christ, He did at first intimate to our parents in paradise, 
saying, 'That the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head.' 
(Gen. 3: 15.) And the Lord has in all generations made this known to His 
   3. The Lord has in all ages covenanted to be the reconciled God of all 
those who, by their subjection to His ordinances, did profess their 
satisfaction with this device, and oblige themselves to acquiesce in the 
same, and to seek salvation by Christ Jesus, as God does offer Him in the 
gospel; so all the people of Israel are called the Lord's people, and are 
said to avouch Him to be their God, and He does avouch them to be His 
people 'Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk 
in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His 
judgments, and to hearken unto His voice; and the Lord has avouched thee 
this day to be His peculiar people, as He has promised thee, and that 
thou shouldst keep all His commandments.' (Deut. 26: 17, 18.) Yea, the 
Lord does also engage Himself to be the God of the seed and children of 
those who do so subject themselves to His ordinances. The covenant is 
said to be made between God and all the people, young and old, present 
and not present that day (Deut. 29: 10-15); and all are appointed to come 
under some seal of that covenant, as was enjoined to Abraham. (Gen. 22: 
10.) Not only was it so in the Old Testament, but it is so in the New 
Testament also. The Lord makes offer of Himself to be our God in Christ 
Jesus; and the people professing their satisfaction in that offer, and in 
testimony thereof subjecting themselves unto the ordinances, they are 
reckoned a covenanted people, and are joined unto His church in 
thousands, receiving a seal of the covenant, without any further 
particular previous trial--'Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be 
baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the 
remission of sins. Then they that gladly received the word were baptized; 
and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.' 
(Acts 2: 38, 41.) 
   4. Many deal treacherously with God in this covenant--'Nevertheless, 
they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their 
tongues; for their heart was not right with Him, neither were they 
steadfast in His covenant.' (Psa. 78: 36, 37.) And although they profess 
their estimation of Christ the Saviour, and their heart-satisfaction with 
that device of saving sinners by Him, and having the image of God 
restored by Him in them; yet their heart is not right with God, and they 
do content themselves with an empty title of being in a sealed covenant 
with God: 'Abraham is our Father,' say they. (John 8: 3.) For although 
the Lord obligeth every man, who professeth his satisfaction with Christ 
Jesus, the devised ransom, to be cordial and sincere herein; and only to 
those who are so does He make out the spiritual promises of the covenant, 
they only being privileged to be the sons of God who do really receive 
Christ (John 1: 12); yet the Lord does permit many to profess their 
closing with Him in Christ, both in the Old and New Testament, whilst 
their heart is not engaged; and He does admit them to be members of His 
church, granting unto them the use of ordinances, and many other external 
mercies and privileges denied unto the heathen, who are not in covenant 
with Him. 
   5. Although the greater part of people do foolishly fancy that they 
have closed with God in Christ Jesus sincerely and heartily; or, at 
least, they do, without any ground or warrant, promise a new heart to 
themselves before they depart this life; yet there be but very few who do 
really and cordially close with God in Christ Jesus as He is offered in 
the gospel: and so there be but very few saved, as is clear--'Strait is 
the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be 
who find it' (Matt. 7: 14); 'Many are called, but few are chosen.' (Matt. 
20: 16.) If people would believe this, it might help to alarm them. 
   6. Although none at all do cordially close with God in Christ Jesus, 
and acquiesce in that ransom found out by God, except only such as are 
elected--'But the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded' 
(Rom. 11: 7)--and whose hearts the Lord does sovereignly determine to 
that blessed choice--'No man can come to Me, except the Father, which has 
sent Me, draw him' (John 6: 44); yet the Lord has left it as a duty upon 
people who hear this gospel, to close with His offer of salvation through 
Christ Jesus, as if it were in their power to do it; and the Lord, 
through these commands and exhortations, wherein He obligeth men to the 
thing, does convey life and strength to the elect, and does therein 
convey the new heart unto them, which pointeth kindly towards this new 
device of saving sinners, and towards Christ in His covenant relations; 
for it is the Lord's mind, in these commands and invitations, to put 
people on some duty, with which He uses to concur for accomplishing that 
business between Him and them: so then, it is a coming on our part, and 
yet a drawing on His part; 'No man can come to Me, except the Father, 
which has sent Me, draw him.' (John 6: 44.) It is a drawing on His heart, 
and a running on our part--'Draw me, we will run after Thee.' (Cant. 1: 
4.) It is an approaching on our part, and yet a 'choosing and causing to 
approach' on His part. (Psa. 65: 4.) It is a believing or receiving on 
our part--'But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become 
the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name;' and yet 'it is 
given us to believe.' (John 1: 12; Phil. 1: 29.) 
Chapter II.--The Duty of Closing with God's Plan of Saving Sinners by 
Christ Jesus 
Having premised these things, I say, if men do not find in themselves the 
marks of a saving interest in Christ, spoken of in the former part of the 
treatise; then, for securing their state, they ought forthwith, with all 
diligence, personally and heartily to accept of and close with God's 
device of saving sinners by Christ Jesus, held out in the gospel. 
   In handling of this we shall show-- 
   1. What it is to accept of and close with that noble device. 
   2. That it is the necessary duty of those who would be in favour with 
God and secure their souls. 
   3. What is previously required of those who perform this duty. 
   4. What are the qualifications and properties of this duty, if rightly 
   5. What are the native consequences of it, if it be performed aright. 
I.--What it is to accept of, and close with, the gospel offer 
1. As for the first, What it is to close with God's device of saving 
sinners by Christ Jesus, held out in the gospel. Here we must remember, 
as we showed before, that at first God willed man to abide in His favour, 
by holding fast his first integrity in which he was created; but man by 
his transgression lost God's favour, made void that covenant of works, 
and put himself in to an utter incapacity to regain the Lord's 
friendship, which he had lost by his sin, and to rescue himself from the 
curse and wrath now due to him for sin, or any way to procure his own 
salvation: but the Lord has freely manifested another way of repairing 
man's lost estate, namely, by sending His Son Christ Jesus in the flesh, 
to satisfy His justice for the sins of the elect, and to restore in them 
His image, now defaced, and to bring them unto glory; and He has made 
open proclamation in the church, that whosoever will lay aside all 
thoughts of saving themselves by the covenant of works, or inherent 
righteousness, and will agree heartily to be saved by Christ Jesus, they 
shall be restored to a better condition than formerly man was in, and 
shall be saved. So then, to close with God's device of saving sinners by 
Christ Jesus, is to quit and renounce all thoughts of help or salvation 
by our own righteousness, and to agree unto this way which God has found 
out: it is to value and highly esteem Christ Jesus as the treasure 
sufficient to enrich poor sinners; and with the heart to believe this 
record, that there is life enough in Him for men: it is to approve this 
plan and acquiesce in it, as the only way to true happiness: it is to 
point towards this mediator, as God holdeth Him out in the gospel, with a 
desire to lay the stress of our whole state on Him. This is that which is 
called faith or believing, the 'receiving of Christ,' or 'believing on 
His name.' (John 1: 12.) This is that 'believing on the Lord Jesus 
Christ,' commanded to the jailer for his safety. (Acts 16: 31.) This 
agreeth to all the descriptions of justifying faith in the Scripture. 
This answers to the type of looking to the 'brazen serpent lifted up in 
the wilderness' (John 3: 14, 15); and this is supposed in all those 
ordinary acting of faith to which promises are annexed in the Scripture; 
and will be found in all who have got the new heart from God, and it will 
be found in none else. 
II.--This the duty of those who would be saved 
   As to the second thing, namely, That this is the necessary duty of all 
such as would be in favour with God and secure their souls; it appeareth 
   1. This closing with God's device or believing in Christ, is commanded 
everywhere in Scripture by the Lord as the condition of the new covenant, 
giving right and title unto all the spiritual blessings of the same; for 
it is, upon the matter, the receiving of Christ. This is commanded, when 
God bids 'men come and buy,' that is, appropriate all, by closing with 
that device. (Isa. 55: 1) 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest.' (Matt. 11: 28.) The weary are commanded 
to come unto Him thus, for their rest--'This is His commandment, that we 
should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ.' (1 John 3: 23.) This 
is enough to prove it a duty incumbent. But further, it is such a duty as 
only gives right and title to a sonship; for only they who receive Him 
are privileged to be sons--'But as many as received Him, to them gave He 
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.' 
(John 1: l2.) 
   2. It appears to be the necessary duty of all, thus: No less than this 
does give an opportunity for God, offering Himself to be our God in 
Christ; and no less than this does answer our profession, as we are in 
covenant with Him, as members of His visible church. The Lord offereth to 
be our God in Christ; if we do not close with the offer, laying aside all 
thoughts of other ways by which we may attain to happiness, we give no 
opportunity to him. He saith--'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased, hear ye Him. (Matt. 17: 5.) If we close not with the offer, we 
give no answer unto God. Moreover, we are all 'baptized in the name of 
the Lord Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.' (Acts 2: 38.) Now, 
unless we close with Christ, as aforesaid, we falsify that profession: 
therefore, since this is the thing which does answer God's offer in the 
gospel, and maketh good our profession, as members of His church, it is a 
necessary duty lying upon us. 
   3. Whatsoever a man has else, if he do not thus close with God's 
device concerning Christ Jesus, and do not receive Him, it does not 
avail, either as to the accepting of His person, or of His performances, 
or as to the saving of His soul. Men are accepted only in Christ the 
beloved--'To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us 
accepted in the Beloved.' (Eph. 1: 6.) Abel and his offering are accepted 
by faith. 'Without faith;t is impossible to please God' (Heb. 11: 4, 6); 
and 'He that believeth not is condemned already, and shall not see life, 
but the wrath of God abideth on him.' (John 3: 18, 36.) For want of this, 
no external title does avail; the children of the kingdom are 'cast out,' 
if this be wanting. (Matt. 8: 10-12.) The people of Israel are like other 
heathens, in regard of a graceless state, lying open to the wrath of God- 
-'Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them 
which are circumcised with the uncircumcised, Egypt and Judas, and Edom; 
for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are 
uncircumcised in the heart.' (Jer. 9: 25, 26.) If men do not believe that 
He who was slain at Jerusalem, who was called Christ Jesus, and witnessed 
unto by the prophets, and declared to be the Son of God by many mighty 
works--I say, if men do not believe that He is the way, and close not 
with Him as the only way, they shall die in their sins--'I said therefore 
unto you, that ye shall die in your sins; for if ye believe not that I am 
He, ye shall die in your sins.' (John 8: 24.) 
   We say, then, it is a most necessary duty thus to close with Christ 
Jesus, as the blessed relief appointed for sinners. Every one who is come 
to years of understanding, and hearth this gospel, is obliged to take to 
heart his own lost condition, and God's gracious offer of peace and 
salvation through Christ Jesus, and speedily to flee from the wrath to 
come, by accepting and closing with this offer, heartily acquiescing 
therein as a satisfying way for the salvation of perishing sinners. And, 
that all may be the more encouraged to set about this duty, when they 
hear Him praying them to be reconciled unto Him, let them remember that 
peace and salvation are offered in universal terms to all without 
exception: 'If any man will,' he shall be welcome. (Rev. 22: 17.) If any 
thirst, although after that which will never profit, yet they shall be 
welcome here, on the condition aforesaid--'Ho, every one that thirsteth, 
come ye to the waters, and he that has no money: come ye, buy and eat; 
yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price. Wherefore 
do ye spend money for that which is not breads and your labour for that 
which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which 
is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, 
and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an 
everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.' (Isa. 55: 
1-3.) All are 'commanded to believe.' This is His commandment, 'that we 
should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ.' (1 John 3: 23.) The 
promises are to all who are externally called by the gospel. God excludes 
none, if they do not exclude themselves--'The promise is unto you, and to 
your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our 
God shall call.' (Acts 2: 39.) So that if any desire salvation, they may 
come forward, 'He will in no wise cast them out' (John 6: 37), being 
'able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God through Him.' 
(Heb. 7: 25.) And those who have long delayed to take this matter to 
heart, have now the more need to look to it, lest what belongs to their 
peace be hid from their eyes. But all these words will not take effect 
with people, until 'God pour out His Spirit from on high' (Isa. 32: 15); 
to cause them to approach unto God in Christ; yet we must still press 
men's duty upon them, and entreat and charge them, by the appearing of 
the Lord Jesus Christ, and their reckoning to Him in that day, that they 
give the Lord no rest until He send out that 'Spirit, which He will gee 
to them who ask it' (Luke 11: 13), and cause them to know what belongs 
unto their peace, and bring them to their duty. 
III.--What is required of those who would believe on Christ Jesus and be 
We come now to speak of the third thing which is previously required of 
those who are to perform this duty. Men must not rashly, inconsiderately, 
and ignorantly, rush in upon this matter, saying, they approve of the 
device of saving sinners by Christ, and will acquiesce and rest on Him 
for safety. Often men do deceive themselves here, and do imagine that 
they have done the thing. We shall, therefore, notice some things 
pre-required in a person who is to close with Christ Jesus; which, 
although we offer not as positive qualifications, fitting a man for 
Christ that way: 'Come--without money, and without price' (Isa. 55: 1); 
vet they are such things as without them a man cannot knowingly and 
cordially perform the duty of believing on Christ Jesus. 
   Besides the common principles which are to be supposed in those who 
live under gospel-ordinances; as the knowledge that men have immortal 
souls; that soul and body will be united again at the last day; that 
there is a heaven and hell, one of which will be the everlasting portion 
of all men; that the Old and New Testaments are the true word of God and 
the rule of faith and manners; that every man is by nature void of the 
grace of God, and is an enemy unto God, and an heir of condemnation; that 
reconciliation is only by the Mediator Christ Jesus; that faith unites 
unto Him, and is the condition of the new covenant; that holiness is the 
fruit of true faith, and is to be followed as that without which no man 
shall see God: I say, besides these things, the knowledge of which is 
necessary, it is required of him who would believe on Christ Jesus-- 
   First, That he take to heart his natural condition; and here he must 
know some things, and be very serious about them; I say, he must know 
some things; as 
   1. That as he was born a rebel and an outlaw unto God, so he has by 
many actual transgressions disobeyed God, and ratified the forfeiture of 
His favour: yea, a man should know many particular instances of his 
rebellion on all hands; as that he is a liar, Sabbathbreaker, blasphemer, 
or the like; as Paul speaketh very particularly of himself afterwards-- 
'Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious.' (1 Tim. 
1: 13.) 
   2. The man must know that the wrath of God denounced in Scripture is 
standing in force against those very sins whereof he is guilty, and so, 
consequently, he is the party undoubtedly against whom God, who cannot 
lie, has denounced war. A man must know, that when the Scripture saith, 

'Cursed is he that offereth a corrupt thing unto God' (Mal. 1: 14); it 
speaketh against him for his superficial service performed unto God with 
the outward man, when his heart was far off. When the word saith, 'The 
Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain' (Exod. 20: 
7), the man must know it speaketh against himself, who has often 
carelessly profaned that dreadful name, before which all knees shall bow 
(Phil. 2: 10); and which His enemies do take in vain. (Psa. 139: 20.) 
When the word saith, 'Cursed is he that does the work of the Lord 
negligently' (Jer. 48: 10), the man must know that it speaks against 
himself, who has irreverently, with much wandering of heart, and 
drowsiness, heard the word preached; and without sense, faith, or 
understanding, has often prayed before him. When the word saith, 'Woe be 
unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, and putteth his bottle to him, 
to make him drunk also' (Hab. 2: 15,16), the man must know that it is 
spoken against himself, who has gloried in making his neighbour drunk, 
and that dreadful wrath is determined by the Lord against him according 
to that scripture. When the word saith, 'God will judge unclean persons' 
(Heb. 13: 4), and will exclude them from the 'New Jerusalem, and they 
shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone' 
(Rev. 21: 8); the man must know that the Scripture speaketh these very 
words against him, he being an unclean person; so that he is the person 
against whom the curses of the law do directly strike. 
   3. A man must know that he has nothing of his own to procure his 
peace, and to set him free from the hazard under which he lieth; because 
'all his righteousness is as an unclean thing.' (Isa. 64: 6.) His 
prayers, his other services done to God, his alms-deeds, etc., are not 
acceptable unto God, since they came not from a right principle in his 
heart, and were not performed in a right way, nor upon a right account, 
nor for a right end; his 'sacrifices have been an abomination unto God.' 
(Prov. 21: 27.) 
   4. He must know, that as he is void of all the saving graces of the 
Spirit, as the true love of God, the true fear of his name, godly sorrow 
for sin, etc., so particularly, that he wants faith in Christ, who taketh 
away the sins of all them who believe on Him. Until a man know this, he 
will still leave all his debt and burden, without care or regard anywhere 
else, before he bring it to the Surety. 
   Now, not only must a man know these things, as I said before, but he 
must also very seriously take them to heart; that is to say, he must be 
affected with these things, and must be in earnest about them, as he used 
to be in other cases in which he is most serious; yea, he should be more 
in earnest here than in other cases, because it is of greater concernment 
unto him. This seriousness produceth-- 
   1. A taking of salvation to heart more than anything else. Shall men 
be obliged to 'seek first the kingdom of God?' (Matt. 6: 33); is there 
but 'one thing necessary?' (Luke 10: 42); shall Paul 'count all things 
loss and dung' for this matter (Phil. 3: 8); is a man a loser, if he gain 
'the whole world and lose his own soul?' (Mark 8: 36); shall this be the 
only ground of joy, 'that men's names are written in the book of life?' 
(Luke 10: 26); and shall not men, who would be reckoned serious, take 
their soul and salvation more to heart than anything else? Surely it 
cannot fail. Let none deceive themselves. If the hazard of their soul, 
and the salvation thereof, and how to be in favour with God, have not 
gone nearer to their heart than anything in the world beside, it cannot 
be presumed, upon just grounds, that they have known sin, or God, or the 
eternity of His wrath, aright. 
   2. This seriousness breaks the man's heart, and causeth the stoutness 
of it to faint, and leadeth it out to sorrow as for a firstborn. (Zech. 
12: 10.) I grant their sorrow will better suit that scripture afterwards, 
when they apprehend Christ pierced by their sins. 
   3. It leads the man to a self-loathing. A man taking up himself so, 
cannot but loathe himself for his abominations, whereby he has destroyed 
himself. There is somewhat of that spirit of revenge, which is mentioned 
as a fruit of true repentance 'This selfsame thing that ye sorrowed after 
a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you; yea, what revenge?' (2 
Cor. 7: 11.) 
   4. This seriousness makes the man peremptory to find relief; since it 
is not in himself. He dare not put off and delay his business as before; 
and this is indeed required, that he finds himself so pursued and urged 
to it, that he flees for refuge somewhere. I grant some have a higher and 
some a lesser degree of this seriousness, as we showed in the former part 
of this treatise: but if we speak of the Lord's ordinary way of working 
with those who are come to age, we say, they must very seriously take 
their soul's estate to heart, despairing of help in themselves, since 
'the whole need not a physician, but those who are sick.' (Matt. 9: 12.) 
As for the measure, we plead only that which probably supposes that a man 
will be induced thereby to treat cordially with Christ, on any terms he 
does offer himself to be closed with. 
   The second thing pre-required of him who would believe on Christ Jesus 
is, He must know and take to heart the way of escape from God's wrath; 
the Spirit must convince him of that righteousness. Here a man must 
understand somewhat distinctly, that God has devised a way to save poor 
lost man by Jesus Christ, whose perfect righteousness has satisfied 
offended justice, and procured pardon and everlasting favour to all those 
whom he persuadeth, by this gospel, to accept of God's offer--'Be it 
known unto you, therefore, that through this man is preached unto you the 
forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all 
things.' (Acts 13: 38, 39.) 'As many as received Him, to them gave He 
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.' 
(John 1: 12.) So that no person is excluded, of whatsoever rank or 
condition, whatsoever has been his former way, unless he be guilty of the 
sin against the Holy Ghost, which is a malicious hatred and rejection of 
the remedy appointed for sinners, as we shall hear; for 'all manner of 
sins' are forgiven unto those who accept of the offer in God's way. 
(Matt. 12: 31.) 'He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto 
God through Him.' (Heb. 7: 25.) 
   The third thing pre-required is, A man must know, that as God has not 
excluded him from the relief appointed, so He is willing to be reconciled 
unto men through Christ, and has obliged men to close with Him through 
Christ Jesus, and so to appropriate that salvation to themselves. He not 
only invites all to come--'Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the 
waters, and he that has no money: come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy 
wine and milk, without money and without price' (Isa. 55: 1, 2); and 

(continued in part 7...)

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