Baxter - HP BV4920 B38 1829

PREFACE. 43 life! And those few that God hath made so happy are ~ommonly the by-word of their neighbours. \Vhen we see ~ome live in drunkenness, and some in pride and worldliness, and most of them have little care of their salvation, though the cause be gross and past all controversy, yet will they hardly be convinced of their misery, and more hardly recovered and reformed; but, when we have done all that we are able to save them from their sins, we leave the most of them as we find them. And if, according to the law of God, we cast them out of the communion of the church, when they have obstinately rejected all our admonitions, they rage at us as if we were their enemies, and their hearts are filled with malice against us, and they will sooner set themseh·es against the Lord, and his laws, and church, and ministers, than against their deadly sins. This is the doleful case of England: we have magistrates that countenance the ways of godliness, and a happy opportunity for unity and refurma- ~ion is before us, and faithful ministers long to see the right ordering of the church and of the ordinances of God: but the power of sin in our people doth fi·ustrate almost all. Nowhere can almost a faithful minister set up the unquestionable discipline of Christ, or put back the most scandalous impenitent sinners from the communion of the church and participation of the sacraments, but the most of the people rail at them and revile them; as if these ignorant careless souls were wiser than their teachers, or than God himself. And thus, in the day of our visitation, when God calls upon us to 1·eform his church, thouah magistrates seem willing, and faithful ministers seem wfiling, yet are the multitude of the people still unwilling, and have so blinded themselves, and hardened their hearts, that, even in these days of light and grace, they are the obstinate enemies of light and grace, and will not be brought by the calls of God to see their folly, and know what is for their good. 0 that the people of England knew at least)n this their day, the things that 'belong unto their peace, before they are hid from their eyes! Luke xix. 42. 0 fooli sh miserable souls! Gal. iii. I. Who hath bewitched your minds into such madness, and your hearts unto such deadness, that you should be such mortal enemies to yourselves, and go on so obstinately towards damnation, that neither the word of God, nor the persuasions of men, can change your minds, or hold your hands, or stop you,till you are past remedy! Well, sinners! this life will not last always; this patience will not wait upou you still. Do not t;hink that you shall abuse your Maker and Redeemer, and .ecrve his cnemi.es1 and debase your souls, and trouble tlu;