Baxter - BV4831 84 F3 1830

96 THE NECESSITY OF SEEKING [Chap. 7, seek the Lord in prayer, and his wrath were poured out upon such prayerless families, our towns would be as places overthrown by the plague, the people being dead within, and the mark of judgment without. I fear, where one house would escape, ten would be marked out for death ; and then they might teach their doors to pray, " Lord have mercy upon us," because the people would not pray themselves. But especially if wecould see what men do in their secret chambers, how fewwould you find in a whole town that spend one quarter of an hour, morn- ing and night, in earnest supplication to God for their souls ! O how little do these men set by eternal rest ! Thus do they slothfully neglect all endeavors for their own welfare, except some public duty in the congregation, which custom or credit engages them to. Persuade them to read good books, learn the grounds of religion in their catechism, and sanctify the Lord's day in prayer, and me- ditation, and hearing the word, and forbearing all worldly thoughts and speeches; and what a tedious life do they take this to be ! as if they thoughtheaven were not worth doing so much for. Another sort are formal professors, who will be brought to any outward duty, but to the inward work of religion they will never be persuaded. They will preach, or hear, or read, or talk of heaven, or pray in their families, and take part with the persons or causes that are good, and desire to be esteemed among the godly ; but you can ne- ver bring them to the more spiritual duties ; as to be con- stant and fervent in secret prayer and meditation; consci- entious in self-examination; heavenly-minded; to watch over their hearts, words, and ways; to mortify the flesh, and not make provision to fulfil its lusts; to love and hear- tily forgive an enemy, and prefer their brethren before themselves; to lay all they have, or do, at the feet of Christ, and prize his service and favor before all ; to pre- pare to die and willingly leave all to go to Christ. Hypo- crites will never be persuaded to any of these. If any hypocrite entertains the Gospel with joy, it is only in the surface of his soul ; he never gives the seed any depth of earth : it changes his opinion, but never melts and new moulds his heart, nor sets up Christ there in full power and authority. As his religion lies most in opinion, so