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Ye are gone away from mine Ordinances, and have not kept them: Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hofts. Mal. iii. 7.
Therefore say thou unto them, Thus faith the Lord of Hosts, Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of Hoftsy and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of Hofts, Zech. i. 3.
Now these glorious Declarations of God, are certain Evidences that God is willing to be reconciled to Sinners, notwithstanding the Number of their Sins, and although they have long lived in Disobedience to him : They shew that there is a Way, and a sure Way to Reconciliation and Peace with him, a sure Way to obtain Forgiveness, and the Favour of God; and therefore a sure Way to Safety, Comfort, and Happiness.
But what is the Way by which Sinners may return to God? This is a most important Enquiry, and our Blessed Saviour answers it in John xiv. 6. Jesus saith unto him, (that is, to Thomas, ver. 5.) I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life: No Man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The sure Way of returning to God acceptably, is through Faith in Christ Jesus, the only Saviour, and the only Mediator between God and Man.
Faith in Christ is the only way to obtain Salvation from our Sins, and Peace with God, I am the Door ; by me if any Man enter in, be shall be saved, faid our compassionate Saviour, John X. 9.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the Ends of the Earth, faith our gracious Redeemer, Isaiah xlv. 22.
This is the way that God in his Word has revealed, and directs us to.
And it is what the Ministers of the Gospel are to instruct us in.
They are to acquaint us, that there is a Fountain opened for Sin, and for Uncleanness, (Zech. xiii. 1.) in which we may wash, and be clean: They are to preach that the Blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all Sin, (1 John i. 7.) if we believe in his Name.
They are to preach Repentance towards God, and Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, (Aets xx. 21.) and to publish those Declarations, which the God of Mercy and Salvation has made in his Word, concerning those that repent of their Sins, and believe in the Lord Jesus, such as the following, viz.
Axts ii. 38. Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the Remision of Sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost.
Aets iii. 19. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your Sins may be blotted out, when the Times of Refreshing Mall come from the Presence of the Lord.
And that in John iii. 16. viz. God so loved the World, that he gave bis only begotten Son, that whesoever believeth on bim should not perish, but have everlasting Life.
John i. 12. As many as received him, to them gave be Power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on bis Name.
John xii. 46. I am come a Light into the World, (said our gracious Saviour) that whosoever believeth, on me, should not abide in Darkness.
Aēts xvi. 31. It is said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.
These sacred Declarations of God, shew plainly that there is a Way, and a sure Way to obtain the Pardon of Sin and eternal Life, and they shew to us what this Way is, viz, the Way of Repentance and Faith ; or the turning from our Sins, and re
turning to God, and the Obedience we owe unto him ; and the receiving Christ, as our Saviour, and Prince, and trusting in him alone for Salvation.
And other Declarations recorded in the divine Word, do manifest that this Way is the way to Safety, Comfort, and Happiness.
It is the Way to SAFETY. For in Deut. xxxiii. 12. it is said, The beloved of the Lord sball dwell in Safety by him, and the Lord shall cover him (or protect him from Evil) all the Day long.
And in Prov. xviii. 16. it is said, The Name of the LORD is a strong Tower ; the Righteous rnnneth into it, and is safe.
In Jambu xi. 18, 19. Thou shalt take thy Rest in Safety. Also thou shalt lie down, and none small make thee afraid.
In Ifa. xxxii. 18. Our God says, My People Mall dwell in a peaceable Habitation, and in fure Dwellings, and in quiet resting Places.
And that it is the Way to COMFORT appears from fuch Declarations as the following, viz.
Pfal. cxix. 165. Great Peace (and therefore much Comfort) they have which love thy Law, and nothing shall offend them.
In Psal. cxii. 7. it is said, He shall not be afraid of evil Tidings ; his Heart is fixed trusting in the Lord.
In Psal. xxix. 11. it is declared, that, The LORD will bless his People with Peace.
It is the good Pleasure of our heavenly Father, that they who love and serve him, should enjoy inward Peace and Consolation.
Comfort ye, comfort ye, my People, faith your God. Ifa. xl. 1.
COMFORT is promised to repenting Sinners in Ifa. lvii. 18. I have seen bis Ways, and will heal bim : I will lead him also, and restore Comforts unto him.
And the blefsed Jesus has promised unto his Disciples the holy Spirit as a Comforter in Jobn xiv. 16. saying, I will pray the Father, and be hall give you anorber Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.
This Way is also a sure Way to Happiness, to Happiness both in this World and in that which is to come.
It is declared in 1 Tim. v. 8. That Godliness is profitable unto all Things, baving tbe Promise of the Life that now is, and of that which is to come.
The Abundance of precious Promises, Promises of Blessings, spiritual and temporal, in this World to serious Christians, who believe in the Lord Jesus, and love, and serve God in Holiness and Righteouscess, the Promises of an eternal Salvation, of a Crown of Glory, of an everlasting Life, and of eternal Inheritance, (Heb. ix. 15.) are Evidences that there is a fure Way to Happiness.
The Apostle Peter says, Blesed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Chrift, which, according to his abundant Mercy, batb begotten us again unto a lively Hope, by the Refurrcētion of Jesus Chrift from the Dead, to an Inberitance incorruprible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, 1 Pet. i. 3, 4.
In this World, many are the Afflictions of the Righteous, tho’ few, very few, in Comparison with the Numbers of the Mercies they enjoy, and light, very light, in Comparison with the Weight and Importance of the Blessings God has bestowed on them : But God is present with them in all their Amictions, he puts under them the everlasting Arms, and will most certainly deliver them out of all their Troubles.
He will make all Things to issue well unto them, as appears from that Declaration, Rom, viïi. 28.
viz, All Things work together for Good to them tbat love God, to them who are the Called according to his Purpofe. .
I have now shewed from the infallible Word of God, the way that leads to the Suffering of his Wrath in this World, and to an endless Destruction in the next; and also the Way, and the sure Way to Safety, Comfort, and Happiness, here and for ever hereafter.
I shall now conclude this Letter, with a brief Ada dress to those Sorts of Persons, whoin the righteous God has threatned with Punishments in this World.
And let me intreat such of you to consider the awful Threatnings denounced against you. You are the Objects, the miserable Objects of the divine Anger. The Lord's Indignation is against you, his terrible Controversy is with you. You have been hitherto heaping up Wrath against the Day of Wrath ; the Day of his wrathful Visitation for Sin.
And tho he may fuffer many Individuals, in each Sort of Sinners, to escape, in this World, his threatned Vengeance, yet Multitudes will be deftroyed, and by a dreadful Violence be sent to take their dreadful Abode with Devils reserved in Chains under Darkness to the final Judgment. · And you do not know, that you shall not be some of this Multitude.
O ponder this in your Thoughts, and reason with yourselves in the following Manner, as you have good Cause to do so, viz.
"How lamentable is my Condition ! how fearful “ are the Threarnings of the Almighty ! how “ fhall I be able to bear the Execution of them! “ How bitter are the Reflections on the Iniquities " of my Heart and Life ! What Advantage, “ what Confolation have I, or can I have from o those Sins, which I have indulged! How mon