Baxter - HP BV4920 B38 1829

44 PREFACE. world, and wrong the church, and reproach the godly, and grieve your teachers, and hinder reformation, and all this upon free cost. You know not yet what this must cost you, but you must shortly know, when the righteous God shall take you in hand, who will handle you in another manner than the sharpest magistrates or the plainest dealing pastors did, unless you prevent the everlasting torments, by a sound conversion and a speedy obeying of the call of God, "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear," while mercy hath a voice to call. One objection I find most common in the mouths of the ungodly, especially of late years; they say,' We can do nothing without God, we cannot have grace, if God will not give it us; and, if he will, we shall quickly turn; if he have not predestinated us, and will not turn us, how can we turn ourselves, or be saved1 It is not in him that wills nor in him that l'uns.' And thus they think they are excused. I have answered this formerly, and in this book; but let me now say this much. I. Though you cannot cure yourselves, you can hurt and poison yourselves. It is God that must sanctify your hearts; but who corrupted them1 Will you wilfully take poison, because you cannot cure yourselves1 l\iethinks you should the more forbear it. You should the more take heed of sinning, if you cannot mend what sin doth mar. 2. Though you cannot be converted without the special grace of God, yet you must know that God gi1·eth his grace in the use of his holy means which he hath appointed to that end; and common grace may enable you to forbear your gross sinning (as to the outward act) and to use those means. Can you truly say, that you do as much as you are able to do1 Are you not able to go by an alehouse door, or to forbear the company that hardeneth you in sin1 Are you not able to hear the word, and think of what you heard when you come home, and to consider with yourselves of your own condition and of everlasting things1 Are you not able to read good hooks from day to day, at least on the Lord's day, and to converse with those that fear the Lord1 You cannot say that you have done what you are able. 3. And therefore you must know that you can forfeit the grace and help of God by your wilful sinning or negligence, though you cannot, without grace, turn to God. lf you will not do what you can, it is just with God to deny you that grace by which you might do more. 4. And, for God's decrees, you must know that they separate not the end and means, but tie them together. God never decreed to save any but the sanctified, nor to damn any hut the unsanctified God doth as truly decree whether your land this year shall be barren or