Baxter - HP BV4920 B38 1829

PREFACE. '45 fruitful, and just how long you shall live in the world, as he hath decreed whether you shall be saved or not; and yet you would think that man but a fool that would forbear ploughing and sowing, and say, ' If God bath decreed that my ground shall bear corn, it will bear, whether I plough and sow or not. If God have decreed that I shall live, I shall live, whether I eat or not; but, if he have not, it is not eating that will keep me alive.' Do you know how to answer such a man, or do you not'! If you do, then you know how to answer yourselves; for, the case is alike: God's decree is as peremptory about your bodies as your souls: if you do not, then try .first these conclusions upon your bodies, before you venture to try them on your souls: see first whether God will keep you alive without food or raiment_. and whether he will give you corn without tillage and labour, and whether he will bring you to your journey's end without your travel or carriage; and, if you speed well in this, then try whether he will bring you to heaven without your diligent use of means, and sit down and say, We cannot sanctify ourselves. Well, sirs, I have but three requests to you, and I have done. ' First, That you will seriously read over this small treatise; and, if you have such as need it in your families , that you would read it over and over to them; and if those that fear God would go now and then to their ignorant neighbours, and read this or some other book to them of this subj ect, they might be a means of winning souls. If we cannot entreat so small a labour of men for their own salvation, as to read such short instructions as these, they set little by themselves and will most justly perish. . S econdly, When you have read over this book, I would entreat you to go alone and ponder a little what you have read, and bethink you, as in the sight of God, whether it be not true, and ilo not nearly touch your souls, and whether1t be not time to look about you. And also entreat you, that you will upon your knees beseech the Lord that he will open ' your eyes to understand the truth, and turn your hearts to the love of God, and beg of him all that saving grace which you have so long neglected, and follow it on from day to day, till your hearts be changed. And withal, that you will go to your pastors, (that are set over you to take care of the health and safety of your souls, as physicians do for the health of your bodies,) and desire them to direct you what course to take, and acquaint them with your spiritual estate, that you may have the benefit of their advice and ministerial help.