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that he has fo fupported me as to keep me from finking under them, and that his power herein has been manifefted in my weaknefs; fo that although I have often been troubleď on every fide, yet I have not been diftreffed, perplexed, but not in despair; cast down, but not deftroyed."

But now I have reafon to think my work is finished which I had to do as your minister: You have public ly rejected me, and my opportunities ceafe.

How highly, therefore, does it now become us, to confider of that time when we must meet one another before the chief Shepherd? When I múft give an account of my ftewardship, of the fervice I have done for, and the reception and treatment I have had among the people he fent me to: And you must give an account of your own conduct towards me, and the im provement you have made of these three and twenty years of my miniftry. For then both you and I muit appear together, and we both must give an account, in order to an infallible righteous and eternal fentence to be paffed upon us, by him who will judge us with refpe&t to all that we have faid or done in our meetings here, all our conduct one towards another, in the house of God and elsewhere, on Sabbath days and on other days;"who will try our hearts, and manifeft our tho'ts, and the principles and frames of our minds, will judge us with refpect to all the controverfies which have fubfifted between us, with the ftri&teft impartiality, and will examine our treatment of each other in thofe controverfies: There is nothing covered, that fhall not be revealed, nor hid, which fhall not be known; all will be examined in the fearching penetrating light of God's omnifcience and glory, and by him whofe eyes are as a flame of fire; and truth and right fhall be made plainly to appear, being ftripped of every veil; and all error, falfehood, unrighteousness, and injury fhall be laid open, stripped of every difguife; every fpecious pretence, every cavil, and all falfe reafoning, fhall vanifh in a moment, as not being able to bear the light of that




day. And then our hearts will be turned infide out, and the fecrets of them will be made more plainly to appear than our outward actions do now. Then it fhall appear what the ends are which we have aimed at, what have been the governing principles which we have acted from, and what have been the difpofitions we have exercised in our ecclefiaftical difputes and contefts. Then it will appear, whether I acted uprightly, and from a truly confcientious careful regard to my duty to my great Lord and Mafter, in fome former ecclefiaftical controverfies, which have been attended with exceeding unhappy circumftances and confequences: It will appear whether there was any juft caufe for the refentment which was manifefted on thofe occafions. And then our late grand controversy, concerning the qualifications neceffary for admiffion to the privileges of members, in complete ftanding, in the vifible church of Chrift, will be examined and judged in all its parts and circumftances, and the whole fet forth in a clear, certain and perfect light. Then it will appear whether the doctrine which I have preached and published concerning this matter be Chrift's own doctrine, whether he will not own it as one of the cious truths which have proceeded from his own mouth, and vindicate and honour as fuch before the whole univerfe. Then it will appear what is meant by the man that comes without the wedding-garment;" for that is the day fpoken of, Matth. xxii. 13. "wherein fuch an one fhall be bound hand and foot, and caft into outer darkness, where fhall be weeping and gnafh. ing of teeth." And then it will appear whether, in declaring this doctrine, and acting agrecable to it, and in my general conduct in the affair, I have been influenced from any regard to my own temporal, intereft, or honour, or defire to appear wifer than others; or have acted from any finifter fecular views whatfoeyer; and whether what I have done has not been from a careful, ftrict, and tender regard to the will of my Lord and master, and because I dare not offend him, being fatisfied



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fatisfied what his will was, after a long, diligent, impartial, and prayerful inquiry; having this conftantly in view and profpect, to engage me to great folicitude not rafhly to determine truth to be on this fide of the queftion where I am now perfuaded it is, that fuch a determination would not be for my temporal interest, but every way against it, bringing a long feries of extreme difficulties, and plunging me into an abyfs of trouble and forrow. And then it will appear whether my people have done their duty to their paftor with refpect to this matter, whether they have fhown a right temper and fpirit on this occafion; whether they have done me juftice in hearing, attending to, and confider ing what I had to fay in evidence of what I believed: and taught as part of the counfel of God; whether I have been treated with that impartiality, candour, and regard which the juft judge efteemed due; and wheth er, in the many fteps which have been taken, and the many things that have been faid and done in the courfe of this controversy, righteousness, and charity, and Chriftian decorum has been maintained; or if other, wife, to how great a degree these things have been violated. Then every ftep of the conduct of each of us in this affair, from firft to laft, and the fpirit we have! exercifed in all, fhall be examined and manifested, and our own confciences will speak plain and loud, and each of us fhall be convinced, and the world fhall know; and never fhall there be any more mistake, misrepresentation, or misapprehenfion of the affair to eternity:


This controverfy is now probably brought to an iffue between you and me as to this world; has iffued in the event of the week before laft: But it must have another decifion at that great day, which certainly will come, when you and I fhall meet together before the great judgment-feat: And therefore I leave it to that time, and fhall fay no more about it at present.

But I would now proceed to addrefs myself partic ularly to feveral forts of perfons.

M 2

I. Te

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I. To those who are profeffors of godliness among


I would now call you to a serious confideration of that great day wherein you must meet him who has heretofore been your paftor, before the Judge whose eyes are as a flame of fire.

I have endeavoured, according to my beft ability, to fearch the word of God, with regard to the diftinguifhing notes of true piety, thofe by which perfons might beft difcover their ftate, and moft furely and clearly judge of themfelves. And thefe rules and marks ( have from time to time applied to you, in the preaching of the word, to the utmost of my fkill, and in the most plain and fearching manner that I have been able, in order to the detecting the deceived hypocrite, and eftablishing the hopes and comforts of the fincere.. And yet it is to be feared, that after all that I have done, I now leave fome of you in a deceived deluded state; for it is not to be fuppofed that among feveral hundred profeffors, none are deceived.

Henceforward I am like to have no more opportunity to take the care and charge of your fouls, to examine and fearch them. But ftill I entreat you to remember and confider the rules which I have often laid down to you during my miniftry, with a folemn regard to the future day when you and I mult meet together before our Judge; when the ufe of examination you have heard from me must be rehearsed again before you, and those rules of trial must be tried, and it will appear whether they have been good or not; and it will also appear whether you have impartially heard them, and tried yourselves by them; and the Judge himself, who is infallible, will try both you and me : And after this none will be deceived concerning the ftate of their fouls.

I have often put you in mind, that whatever your pretences to experiences, difcoveries, comforts and joys, have been, at that day every one will be judged according to his works; and then you will find it fo.


May you have a minifter of greater knowledge of the word of God, and better acquaintance with foul cafes, and of greater skill in applying himself to fouls, whofe difcourfes may be more fearching and convincing; that fuch of you as have held fast deceit under my preaching, may have your eyes opened by his ; that you may be undeceived before that great day.

What means and helps for inftruction and self-examination you may hereafter have is uncertain; but one thing is certain, that the time is fhort, your opportunity for rectifying mistakes in fo important a concern will foon come to an end. We live in a world of great changes. There is now a great change come to pafs; you have withdrawn yourselves from my minif try, under which you have continued for fo many -years: But the time is coming, and will foon come, when you will pafs out of time into eternity; and fo will pafs from under all means of grace what foever.


The greater part of you who are profeffors of godlinefs have, (to ufe the phrafe of the apoftle,)" ac-. knowledged me in part;" you have heretofore acknowledged me to be your spiritual father, the inftrument of the greatest good to you that ever is, or can be obtained by any of the children of men. Confider of that day when you and I fhall meet before our Judge, when it fhall be examined whether you have had from me the treatment which is due to fpiritual children, and whethor you have treated me as you ought to have treated a fpiritual father. As the relation of a natural parent brings great obligations on children in the fight of God; fo much more, in many refpects, does the relation of a spiritual father bring great obligations on fuch whofe converfion and eternal falvation they fuppose God has made them the inftruments of: 1 Cor. For though you have ten thousand inftruc. tors in Chrift, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Chrift Jefus, I have begotten you through the gofpel."


iv. 15.

II. Now I am taking leave of this people, I would apply myself to fuch among them as I leave in a Chrift


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