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Holy Ghost. Oh! what are the pleasures of sin to the pleasures of religion? Not worthy to be mentioned with them; the former have a sting attending of them; they will be bitterness in the latter end; the end of that mirth will be heaviness; if ever you seek Christ so as to find him, you will find this to be true; but the joy and pleasure of religion is true and real, and will lead to that, Ps. xvi. 11. “Thou wilt show me the path of life, in thy presence there is fullness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Ps. xxxvi. 8, 9. "They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures; for with thee is the fountain of life. In thy light shall we see light."
Exhort. II. To elder persons, such as are past the time of youth, and are come to riper years; but yet have not to any purpose been seeking of Christ.
Let me beseech you Now to seek him, delay no longer. It is high time for you to awake out of sleep. It would have been much better, if you had sought Christ early: But better late than not at all: And therefore as you ought not to defer, so you ought not to despair. Do not say, that "your hope is lost." Ezek. xxxvii. 11. This would be worse than all the rest. It is bad for persons to say, It is too early, (though most are ready to think, if not to say so, in their youthful time :) But it is worse to say, It is too late. Have a care therefore of this: be humbled that you have sought Christ no sooner and better; justify him though he should never be found of you; but yet seek him, search for him with all your hearts and resolve, that if you perish, it shall be seeking of Christ, and looking to him: And did you ever read or hear of any that were lost in this way?
To conclude. There are some in this assembly who are early seekers of Christ. Who can in some measure say with the Psalmist, Ps. xxvii. 8. "When thou saidst, seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, thy face Lord will I seek." I shall shut up all with one word to you: Be very thankful to God for his directing, influencing and assisting you unto this. It is God that has wrought in you," both to will and to do, of his own good pleasure:" Say then, as Ps. xvi. 7. "I will bless the Lord who hath given me counsel." 1 Tim. i. 12. "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me." And persevere seeking of Christ: If you have found him you will seek him still, and the more you seek him, the more you will find in and of him. Hosea vi. 2. "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord." And if you do not find so much of Christ, as your souls pant and thirst after, yet do not be discouraged, God will support you in seeking
of him : "If your souls follow hard after him, his right hand will uphold you," Ps. lxiii. 8. All your seeming distances from Christ shall work for your good, and what you come short of, as to finding him here on earth, shall be most abundantly recompensed and made up in heaven, where all the early seekers of Christ shall be with him, forever with him, which is best of all. AMEN.
The worst Enemy conquered.
THE METHODS AND MOTIVES
HABITS OF SIN,
WHICH WAR AGAINST THE SOUL.
DELIVERED, ON JUNE 6, 1698, The day for election of officers, IN THE ARTILLERY-COMPANY, AT BOSTON.
BY MR. JOSEPH BELCHER, d. 723
PASTOR OF THE CHURCH IN DEDHAM.
NUNQUAM BELLA BONIS, NUNQUAM CERTAMINA DESUNT; ET QUOCUM CERTET, MENS
PIA SEMPER HABET.
BOSTON IN NEW ENGLAND.
PRINTED BY BARTHOLOMew green, and John allen.
Ir that original sin, which is the original of all our actual sins and plagues, were not the sensible complaint of them that profess the Christian religion, I know no religion commonly received any where in all the world, that would not by its concessions and confessions of that ancient evil, greatly condemn their insensibility. To combat first, and then to conquer, that worst Enemy, of which we daily, and sadly complain, that man is no Christian, who reckons it not a main business of every Christian. Behold then, a brief Discourse, that cannot but be sure of a welcome with every Christian reader, which it had with many a Christian hearer, when it was first uttered by the lively preacher. That a copy of this acceptable and profitable Sermon, with the least alteration possible from the terms in which it was first uttered, is thus come abroad, is not at all owing to the author himself, whose modesty does equal and adorn his other excellent accomplishments, but unto some others, who could not feed on this honey out of the rock, without imparting it. Of this worthy young minister, I would have used some expressions, that Chrysostom once used of young Timothy; if I had not chosen it, as more agreeable unto the language of our own country, rather to say on this occasion, as old Mr. Cotton did, in an assembly of our pastors, when an hopeful young minister had just been preaching before them, Truly, brethren, such young men as this, are, spes gregis, and such a sermon from such a young man, is therefore of much more comfortable account, than it would have been from any of us older men. Let New England thankfully and fruitfully rejoice, in such tokens for good!
1 Cor. ix. 26, 27.
"So fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection."
ONE of the most lively similitudes under which the life of a believer is expressed and set forth, is that of a warfare, which is a life not of ease and idleness, but attended with many hazards, and hardships, and which every Christian must endeavor to endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. As a soldier converses with many dangers and difficulties, and dwells as it were continually in the very territories of death, and the grave; so the life of a Christian is so full either of visible or invisible difficulties, temptations, and dangerous assaults, with which he must enter the lists, and is exposed to encounter; as that he may be said daily to pass the pikes, and for to carry his soul continually in his hand. The devil the captain-general and commander of the black regiment of hell, is restless in his attempts; like him (who whether conquered or did conquer) was never quiet if so be either by himself or his instruments, he may swallow us up, and utterly destroy us. The world, the men of it; some of these are the militia and auxiliaries of Satan, enemies to the truth, and therefore continually opposing, both it, and its professors: and as for the things of the world, the honors, pleasures and profits of it, these have their snares, and stratagems. And as by the flatteries and allurements of these, the devil would fain have overcome our Lord Jesus Christ, the captain himself: so also by the same, would he fain overcome those that are his followers, and who have listed themselves under that captain. But besides the many foreign, a Christian hath many inbred and domestic adversaries; we have enemies of our own house there are not only the temptations of the devil, the oppositions of the world, which we have to conflict with; but there are also the lusts of the flesh. The holiest man that ever trod upon the face of the