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should presently consider you: or if you want any thing, you think he should consider your wants: and yet will you not consider of him, and of your own wants? When you are in trouble, you cry to God, "Have mercy upon me, O Lord, consider my trouble;" Psal. ix. 33. "Consider and hear me, O God;" Psal. xiii. 3. When you lie in pain and sickness, you will then cry to God, "Consider mine affliction, and deliver me;" Psal. cxix. 153. If you be oppressed or abused, you will groan as the Israelites under their taskmasters, and perhaps cry to God, as the captive people, Lam. i. 11. "See O Lord, consider; for I am become vile: remember, O Lord, what is come upon us; consider, and behold our reproach; chap. v. 1. ii. 20. And must God consider of you, that will not consider of him, or your own souls? Or may you not rather expect that dreadful answer, which he gives to such regardless sinners; Prov. i. 24-30. And hear your cries, as you hear his counsel; and think of you, as you thought of him.
Nay, more than so; even while you forget him, the Lord doth daily consider you, and supply your wants, and save you from dangers; and should you then cast him out of your thoughts? If he did not think of you, you would quickly feel it to your cost and sorrow.
11. Moreover, the nature of the matter is such, as one would think should force a reasonable creature to consider of it, and often and earnestly to consider. When all these things concur in the matter, he must be a block or a madman that will not consider, (1.) When they are the most excellent, or the greatest things in all the world. (2.) When they are our own matters, or nearly concern us. (3.) When they are the most necessary, and profitable, and delightful things. And (4.) When there is much difficulty in getting them, and danger of losing them. And all these go together in the matter of your salvation.
(1.) If you will not think of God and your souls, of heaven and hell, what then will you think of? All other things in the world are but toys and jesting matters to these. Crowns and kingdoms, lands and lordships are but chaff, and baubles, dirt and dung, to these everlasting things. The acts of renowned kings and conquerors, are but as puppet-plays in comparison of the working out of your salvation. And yet will you not be drawn to the consideration
of such astonishing things as these? One would think that the exceeding greatness of the matter should force you to consider it whether you will or no. When smaller objects affect not the senses, yet greater will even force their way. He that hath so hard a skin that he cannot feel a feather, methinks should feel the weight of a millstone: and if he feel not the prick of a pin, methinks he should feel a dagger. He that cannot hear one whisper, methinks should hear a cannon, or a clap of thunder, if he have any such thing as hearing left him. He hath bad eyes that cannot see the sun. One would think so glorious an object as God, should so entice the eyes of men that they should not look off him. One would think that such matters as heaven and hell should follow thy thoughts which way soever thou goest, so that thou shouldst not be able to look besides them, or to think almost of any thing else, unless with great neglect and disesteem. O what a thing is a stony heart, that can forget not only the God that he liveth by, but also the place where he must live for ever? Yea, that will not be persuaded to the sober consideration of it for an hour.
(2.) And as these are the greatest matters, so they are your own matters, and therefore one would think you should not need so much ado to bring you to consider them. If it were only other men's matters, I should not wonder at it. But self-love should make you regard your own. In outward matters, all seek their own things; Phil. ii. 21. And have they not more reason to seek their own salvation? It is your own souls, your own danger, your own sin, your own duty, that I persuade you to consider of. It is that God, that Christ, that would be your own; it is that heaven, that blessedness, that may be your own, if you lose it not by neglect; it is that hell, that torment, that will certainly be your own, if you prevent it not. And should not this be thought on? You will think of your own goods, or lands, or riches; of your own families, your own business, your own lives, and why not also of your own salvation?
(3.) Especially, when it is not only your own, but it is the "one thing needful;" Luke x. 42. It is that which your life or death, your everlasting joy or torment lieth on; and therefore must be considered of, or you are utterly undone for ever. Necessity lieth upon you; and woe be to you, if you consider not of these things. It is not so necessary
that you eat, or drink, or sleep, or live, as it is necessary that you make sure your everlasting life. And the profit also doth answer the necessity. Buy but this one pearl, and you will be infinite gainers, though you sell all that you have in the world to buy it; Matt. xiii. 44-46. Get God, and get all: make sure of heaven, and then fear no loss, nor want, nor sorrow. If you count not all the world as dung for the winning of Christ, that you may be found in him, possessed of his righteousness, it is because you know neither the world nor Christ; Phil. iii. 7-9. Yea, the delight will also answer the commodity; for " in the presence of God is fulness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore; Psal. xvi. 11. And the forethoughts of them may well make glad our hearts, and cause our glory to rejoice;" Psal. xvi. 8, 9. 66 For goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever;" Psal. xxiii. 6. "He shall guide us with his counsel, and afterward receive us into glory;" Psal. lxxiii. 24. And lest yet you should suspect any lack of comfort, he tells you, you shall "enter into the joy of your Lord;" Matt. xxv. 23. "And that you shall be with him where he is, to behold his glory;" John xvii. 24,
(4.) And yet if all this might be had with a wet finger; if heaven were the portion of worldlings, and sluggards, that trouble not their thoughts much about it, then you might have some excuse for your inconsiderateness. But it is not so; there are difficulties in your way, and they are many and great. What a dark understanding have you to inform? What a dull and backward nature to spur on! What an unreasonable appetite! What raging passions! What violent, rebellious senses to contend with, to master, and to rule ! Abundance of adversaries on every hand: a subtle devil, and as malicious as subtle; and as furious and able to do you a mischief, if God restrain him not. A world of wicked men about you; each one more stiff in error than you in the truth; and more fast to the devil than you are to God, (if his grace do not hold you faster than you will hold yourselves;) and therefore they are more able to deceive you, than you are to undeceive them: many of them are crafty and can puzzle such ignorant beginners as you, and put a face of reverence and truth upon damnable errors, and pernicious ways; and those that have not wit, have foolish
violence, and scorn, and passion, and can drive you towards hell, if they cannot draw you. All these enemies you must conquer, or you are lost. And is it not time for a man in so much danger to consider of them, that he may know how to escape? And for one that is compassed about with such difficulties, to consider how he may well get through them? What abundance of things have you to consider of? of all your life past; of the relations you have borne; and how you have performed the duties of those relations? Of the time you have had; and how you have spent it? Of the means you have had, and what you have received by them? Of the present state of your souls, your sins, your miseries, your hopes, and the duties that are incumbent on you, in order to your recovery. Of the temptations to be encountered with; and the graces that are daily to be exercised and confirmed! Would not a man bethink himself with all possible care, and consider, a hundred times consider, that hath all this to do, or be undone for ever? You have much to know that will not easily be known, and yet must be known; much to do, receive and suffer, that hath difficulty adjoined with necessity: were it necessary and not hard, the facility might draw you to make light of it. And were it hard and not necessary the difficulty might more discourage than the matter would excite you: but when it must be done, or you must be shut out of heaven, and lie in hell for it world without end, and yet there are so many difficulties in the way, I think it is time to look about you, and seriously consider.
12. To conclude, Consideration would prevent a world of misery, which else would make you consider when it is too late. It must be a principal means of your salvation if ever you be saved. If God have so much mercy for you, he will make you consider; and set your sins in order before you; (Psal. 1. 21.) and set hell-fire before your face, and hold your thoughts on it that you cannot look off. He will set before you a crucified Christ, and tell you, that this your sins have done, and make you think of the reason of his sufferings; and what there is in sin that could require it; and what it is to rebel against the Lord, and run yourselves into the consuming fire. Now your thoughts are gadding abroad the world, and straggling after every trifle, and going away from God; but if ever God will save you, he will overtake
your hearts, and fetch them home, and shew them that they have something else to think on. If commands will not serve, he will send out his threatenings, and terrors shall come upon you, and pursue your soul as the wind; Job xxxiii. 15. He will fetch you out of the alehouse, and the gaming-house, and take you off the merry pin, and lay that upon your heart that you shall not easily shake off. If you are taken up with the cares of the world, he will shew you that you have somewhat else to care for; and drown those cares in greater cares. If you have such giddy, unsettled, vagrant minds, that you cannot call in your thoughts of God, nor hold them with him; he will lay those clogs and bolts upon them at first, that shall restrain them from their idle vagaries; and then he will set upon them such a bias, as shall better order them, and fix them for the time to come. Men do not use to go to heaven, and never think of it: and to escape hell-fire, and the plague of sin, and the curse of the law, and the wrath of God, and the rage of satan, and never think on it; nor do they use to mind other matters, and find themselves in heaven, before they ever dreamed of it, or before their hearts were set upon it. No sirs, if ever God will save you, he will make you consider, and again consider, and perhaps with many a sigh and groan; and bring these things so near your hearts, that you shall not only think on them, but feel them; according to that command, Deut. vi. 6, 7. xi. 18-20. They shall be as written before your eyes; you shall think of them when you lie down, and when you rise up, as if they were written upon the tester of your beds; you shall think of them when you sit at home, when you go abroad, as carrying them still with you, which way soever you go. As before, God was not in all your thoughts, so now he will be the sum and end of them all.
And if by your resistance you escape these considerations, believe it, God will bring you to consideration by a severer and more dreadful way. If he do but give your conscience a commission, it will follow you, and bring you to such a consideration as Judas was brought to. If he lay you under his judgments, and speak to you by his rod, and give you a lash with every word, and ask you whether yet you will consider of it? It may bring such things to your thoughts, as you were but little troubled with before. If he say but the word, how soon will your soul be required of