THE Invaluable Price OF AN Immortal Soul. Shewing the Vanity of most people, in taking care for the Body, but neglect their Duty as to the preservation of their ne­ver-dying SOULS.

By Mr. Richard Baxter.

Printed for J Clarke, in West-smithfield.

The Invaluable Price OF AN IMMORTAL SOUL. Shewing the Vanity of most People, in taking care for the Body, but neglect their Duty as to the preservation of their never-dying Souls. VVith advice to secure Sinners, to examine themselves before it be too late, that when Death shall come to separate their Souls from their Bodies, they may be in a condition to Welcome Death for that happy Change which all prepared Christians will for ever rejoyce in. Very necessary for all People to Read and consider, who would Willingly be ac­counted true Christians. With large Admonition to Prayer, as a du­ty most incumbant upon all who desire to obtain e­verlasting life, through Christ Jesus.

Printed for J. Clark, at the Bible and Harp, at the Hospital-gate, in VVestsmithfield. 1681.

THE Invaluable Price OF AN Imortal Soul, SHEWING, The Vanity of most People in takeing care for the Body, but neglect their Duty as to the preservation of their never-Dying SOƲLS.

THE Immortality of the Soul is a thing indisputable, and the natural proneness of Man to sin, is a thing undeniable: But the Body which should be as a servant to the Soul, is now (the more is the pit­ty) taken more care for in one day, then the soul in one year. How diligent are Men for the preservation of their bodi­ly health, by providing for themselves what Delicates the appetite desires: while their poor souls are even starved [Page] for want of Heavenly Food, and ready to faint for want of Divine Cordials: if the body be distempered, the Physiti­on is run for, but the poor Soul which sometimes lyes in a perishing condition shall not find one Dram of Spiritual Comfort to Refresh it self: Oh Chri­stians, consider how it will be with you at the last Day if you suffer your poor souls to be thus Ship-wrackt, consider the price of your souls, which cost no less then the precious blood of Iesus Christ to redeem them, the riches of the whole world is not worth one soul that now is so little regarded; it had better been for those who are so careless of their Souls never to have had any, but to have been like a brute Beast, that when it Dyes there is an end of him; but it is not so with Man, for he shall give an Account at the great day of all his worldly trans­actions, the neglecting of his Soul, the too great care of his body, the starving of the one and the pompering of the o­ther; which though they know it must Dye and shall Dye, yet will they take more care for it then that which cannot nor shall not dye, but live for ever in endless joys, or unspeakable torments.

[Page]Besides this great neglect of most Men, there are more very great and dangerous defects in and amongst seem­ing professors, who are so secure in their sins, that they will confidently affirm, That if any go to Heaven, they shall be of that number; for say they, VVe have Lived Honestly, we have done no Man wrong, we have not Lived Debauched Lives, we are not given to any noto­rious Vice, but never consider that they have brought sin enough into the world to Damn them, without the great mer­cy of God, who only can preserve and keep us from that Lake of Everlasting Torment provided for those who shall not Dye in the Lord.

How few is there that are convinced of Original sin imputed to them? and how many that never consider that they with Adam Transgressed by eating the Forbidden Fruit; Nay, I fear do not so much as busie their Thoughts with any such matter, but are satisfied with their morallity, and account themselves upright in their dealing, and so conclude they are in a fair way for Heaven: but alas! poor Deceived souls, this is not sufficient for you, for you will never ar­rive [Page] at that desired Haven of Happiness without a better wind do fill your sails, he will fall short of his desires who put­teth his trust in his own VVorks or de­serts, for all the Impieties of Mens wicked lives are nothing in compari­son of that venome which lodges in the heart by nature, and Man himself hard­ly sensible thereof: Oh wretched state that Man knows not his own heart, but hath a Thousand times more sin in him unknown, then the greatest self-conceit­ed person in the world can see perfection in himself: few there are that are not too strongly and too well opinionated of themselves, and some have high e­steem of others, and will say, that such a one is a good natur'd Man, he hath no deceit in him, he would not wrong a VVorm: when alas, these Excellen­cies are nothing in comparison of that Ocean of Sin, deformed Corruption, which lurks in his heart, and cannot be rooted out but by that Heavenly Anti­dote which alone can expell the Poyson of sin out of our corrupted Hearts, car­nal Men do not consider that their wil­ful minds are not nor cannot be subject to the Law of God, which is absolutely [Page] pure without spot or blemish, whilst the best of our actions, the supream of our thoughts, are vain, sinful and Rebelli­ous.

The Carnal mind thinks of nothing more then to provide for this present Life, and hath no reflection upon Eter­nity, nor makes any provision against that severe VVinter which undoubted­ly will follow the pleasant Summer of our pleasure and delight, but minds on­ly the present things of this Life, with the neglect of seeking after eternal hap­piness: would not you account him sil­ly who would exchange Diamonds for Pebbles, Gold for Dross, or Liberty for a Goal? how much more is he then to be accounted witless, that minds mo­mentary pleasures before Everlasting Happiness, taketh more care for his mortal Body then his immortal Soul, and prizes the Riches of this VVorld, which have VVings and will flye away, before those never-ceasing joys which attend all those who do most faithfully and diligently seek after and earnestly desire to obtain them. Carnal minds are slaves to the more ignoble parts of our souls, and love that best which is [Page] least worth: we have such a simpathiz­ing Nature toward sin and momentary pleasure, that we do not only endeavour to extenuate the culpableness of the Crimes, but rather justifie and Plead for them, being so agreeable to our sin­ful Natures. And thus do we VValk dayly more and more in sin, till at last we are brought into such a Labyrinth of sin that we cannot find the way out, nor can our blinded Consciences tell us our errours of our lives, for we conclude all is well with us, we do justifie our selves with good opinions of our selves, and thus we erroniously deceive our ne­ver-dying souls.

Again, Some have a kind of an un­willing willingness to sin, and could wish that such and such things were no sins, because they are so suitable to their sinful desires, they had rather to live a brave, jovial, merry life, like servants to sin, then a sober, serious, and holy life like servants of God: thus still are pre­sent injoyments preferred before ever­lasting Crowns of Glory to come, and conclude with the Old Proverb, A Bird in hand, is worth two in a Bush: these en­joyments they are certain of, but future [Page] injoyment, they may miss, poor incre­dulous sinners, dare you not take Gods word for what he hath promised, think you that he will make any abatement of the Reward which he hath promised to bestow upon those who keep his Com­mandements, and walk in the paths of Righteousness? No, it cannot be, he will rather add then diminish from your joys, he takes as much delight in mul­tiplying mercies, as you in multiplying sins, and what he hath promised shall be made good.

Some also are blinded in their affe­ctions, so as to love what they should have hated, and hate what they should love, and yet are not sensible of what a sad condition they are in, but go mer­rily on, and fear not but in the end they shall be saved, concluding that there are many Thousands far worse then they that live in open sins and abomina­tions, which they abhor; and some of these, if not most or all of them, will say that they hope to be saved as well as others, and if they can hope for salva­tion, well may they who live much more Civilized and strangers to these enor­mous Crimes and detestable practises: [Page] yet still do they deceive themselves, and look not upon sin so as to see it in its greatest deformity, which makes De­vils of many who are still fighting and striving against God and his most just Laws, and do not consider that the de­vil is the Authour of it, but still flatter up themselves, and say, That they have nothing to do with the Devil, nor he with them, yet are never better pleased then when they are busied about the de­vils work: They conclude, that they can live in sin and defie the Devil and all his works.

How few is there that can give a true definition of sin, and what an Enemy it is to all Mankind; for had it not been for that blessed Mediator Christ Iesus, the whole frame of Nature had been ut­terly destroyed by it.

Sin is absolutely contrary to the will of God, therefore should it be absolute­ly detestable to the Heart of Man, sin would pull down what Gods holy Laws would set up, and Establish Gods pre­scribed Laws for the salvation of souls, and the Devil deviseth sins for the De­struction of souls, yet will not poor sin­ners see that impurity which in sin it is [Page] clearly contrary to the very Nature of God. It is universally evil, there is no good in it, nor can come any good of it, Men are not easily persuaded there is any good in Poverty, Reproach, dis­grace, Persecution, but very easily be­lieve there is good in sin.

This jumps with their opinion, this suits with their sinful Natures, and all things fall out according to their world­ly desires: but never to take into consi­deration the Evil effects and Miserable Consequences of sin, the VVriting on the wall is not minded while they are a­live.

VVere it possible for Men to go to Hell-Gate, there to hear the Terrible shrieks and crys of the Damned: Or could we persuade People to believe the words of the Prophet, There is no peace to the Wicked; then surely Men would not set their Delights upon sin, which is the sole Object of Gods hatred, and nothing separates betwixt God and souls but sin; though sin fills the Con­science with Terrour, Hell with Fire, yet few are affrighted hereat, but conti­nue in their old Road of wickedness, till Iudgment follows close and before they [Page] are aware overtakes and destroys them in the midst of their sins.

There are also some who are clearly cast out of the favour of God, yet are not at all sensible of their miserable conditi­ons, but go dauncing along in the de­vils Chains, and mind not that the sen­tence is given forth, because it is not forthwith executed, though there may be but a little breath before they for e­ver perish.

How many is there that never knew what a wounded Conscience or the fear of Iudgement means, yet count them­selves Noble Spirits, and promise to themselves Peace, reckon themselves needy of nothing; when alas, poor decei­ved souls, they need but all.

Though Ministers dayly labour to convince them of their errors, yet they rest confident that their Condition is good as the Precisians, nor can seri­ous consideration take such hold on them as to cause them to lose one Minutes rest to lament their sad Conditions, ne­ver were they so sensible of the insup­portable Burthen of sin, as to cry out What shall I do to be saved? And the rea­son is, because they are dead in Sins [Page] and Trespasses. Death is a Thing which deprives us of sense as well as of Life: the Dead fear not though threat­ned with the greatest of punishments; The Dead fear not though God pro­nounce woes upon woes against them: The Dead see not, though Hell be so frightful a place: The Dead smell not, though sin stinks worse then rotten Sepulchres: The Dead feel not, tho' Mountains of lead were lying on them: They complain not as Cain did in the Bitterness of soul, by reason of Sin: Nor say with Hannah, that they were e­ver of a sorrowful spirit.

And though there be an Entayl of wrath upon the very sins they live in; though Hell be open to receive the im­penitent and hard-hearted sinner; and though room is preparing for them to entertain them with the Vegeance of a Displeased God, yet few VVork out their salvation with Fear and Trembl­ing, but fall short of the sense of Hypo­crite. Oh I pitty these secure souls, how short will they fall of their hopes, and not only so, but how far will they fall short of Heaven.

[Page]And again, Some are not sensible that it is Sathan who finds out these stratagems to destroy their poor souls, or that he hath the Possession of the Hearts of the Vnregenerate: but cer­tain it is, that he hath VValks in the Hearts of meer Natural Men, there­fore plain it is, that while thou art Vn­regenerate, he is as certainly entred in­to thee, as ever he was into the Herd of Swine, and will hurry thee into de­struction, as them into the Sea.

Though some may be convinced of the Deformity of sin, yet they are not convinced of the necessity of Personal and constant Obedience, which is Re­quired by the Covenant of works, but conclude, that if there be any failure in the whole Law, so much as to a vain thought, that then this Covenant is broke, and nothing but dread and fear shall seize upon such a soul.

But to prevent these sorrowful con­sequences of Neglect or misconstructi­ons. Take my advice, and apply your self wholly to God by Prayer for his assistance: Prayer is a thing which shuts up Hell & opens Heavens Gates; yet how little hath Prayer been used [Page] as it ought to be, it is too often seen that Men under affliction appeal to God by prayer, but afflictions being once past, he forgets again, and prayer is neglected. It is very sad, when our affections are so little Heaven-ward, as that we aim not at all at Gods Glory, but altogether our own advantage? how can we expect that God can have any respect to our prayers, when we have none to his Divine Majesty, and per­haps if we be not presently answered, we flye out into extreams, and speak contemptuously of our Creator, who can in one minute throw us all into E­verlasting Misery: such is our weak­ness, such is our wickedness, that up­on every occasion we are apt to charge God wrongfully, nay, speak almost blasphemously: though the cause why our prayers are not ansuered is in our selves: To live without prayer is to be dead while alive, for it is to live without God: what can you do less for God then [...]y this hommage to own him for your Creator? or what can you do less for your own souls, then beg for their sal­vation of him who alone can grant it?

[Page]Prayers may well be counted and and called sallies of the soul for more Grace, and neglect of them can be no less than provocation, it grieves God to see that he should be so merciful and gracious as to let his Door stand o­pen, and that he should assure us of a VVelcome at any time, and that we should be so unkind as not to visit him with our prayers, which should be look­ed upon as Embassies to his Divine Majesty, he cannot but take this very unkindly.

Consider the Reward which is promi­sed to prayer, you have Christs word for it, for he saith, When thou Prayest, enter into thy Closet, and when thou hast shut thy Door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in se­cret, shall Reward thee openly.

But notwithstanding this so sweet promise, how is this Duty by some omitted, and by others quite deserted. Satan is an utter Enemy to prayer, and studies out many ways to put by prayer, he persuades some that if they do pray, it will be but Hypocritically: [Page] others that it is not a convenient time, for some worldly business is to be dis­patched, or any fallasie to put by this Holy Duty, for the Devil doth seek and contrive all the ways that possibly can be used by him to intrap and insnare Mans soul, on purpose to make it as miserable as himself: But Man was Created for a more Nobler design then to be led Captive by the devil, and pray­er is the main instrument to avoid all his allurements.

Private Prayer is in a manner a secret talking with God, and who would not be glad to have such blessed Com­munion with him, who onely can make us eternally happy, or everlasting mi­serable: it is somewhat Saint like to desire private Conference betwixt God and the soul.

But let not the Devil so blind your Eyes, neither as to think that the ut­tering a parcel of good and rhetorical expressions after any manner of way or formality, will be taken for prayer with God: No, that will not do, for you must pray ardently, affectionately, [Page] sincerely, zealously, earnestly, and also constantly: and if you would have your prayers ansuered, you must wait with patience, for Gods time is the best and fittest time to answer prayer in, for he knows best when and how to answer us, and what is fittest for us to enjoy: but many there are, who because that their prayers and petitions are not ansuered presently according to their expectati­ons, do presently revolt from their cu­stome of prayer, thinking that because God doth not suddenly ansuer them, he doth not take any care of them: when alas poor souls, if they did but remain constant and fervent in their devotions, God hath promised to be heard by them, and that he will aid and succour them according to their necessities.

VVe ought to submit our wills to his will, whether our prayers be ansuered or no, and not to desist from praying because we enjoy not the thing which we do earnestly pray for.

For to desist from good VVorks or Holy Duties, is some small kin to Apo­stacy, and Back-sliding will suddenly [Page] bring you out of acquaintance with God, and then will this Duty (so Ne­cessary for all Christians) be Totally extirpated, and you become a Nebuch­adnezzar, unto a Heathen will you soon turn.

If thou dost love God, thou wilt love to be with him in private, where thou mayest freely impart thine affections unto him. Let not thy Religious wor­ship in thy Family be used on purpose to keep up thy Credit with Men, for God who is the searcher of all Hearts, will not be so hypocritically served, the upright and the sincere heart the Lord loveth.

Make it thy Business to wait upon God in private, for when thou art by thy self then thou art the fittest to call upon God, as being at that present freed from worldly incumbrances. The Heathen Scipio doth much Commend these private solitudes, for saith he, Then can I freely entertain my own ima­ginations, and Converse with all the learn­ed that have been in former ages. But thy Honour is greater to converse with [Page] God, who loves to Commune with the soul in private, and communicates his affections to his people in secret: David praised God seven times a Day, but his Day sacrifices yielded him not that marrow and sweetness which he tasted in the Night, being then seque­stred from all Business which might impede or hinder his godly and pious intentions.

VVhen we are alone, satan is most busie, and then have we the most need of Heavens Auxiliaries. No sooner doth the True Christian open his eyes from sleep, but he opens his heart like­wise to God, and posts to Heaven with secret ejaculations and praises to Gods Holy Name, and doubts not but that God will be as willing to receive as he to offer up his Morning sacrifice.

Besides, many Mischiefs attend by deferring Holy Duties, which God ex­presly in his VVord hath commanded we should diligently keep: God is not willing to be served last of all, but ex­pects the first fruits, and reason good, because he bestows upon us his choicest [Page] Blessings. Then let me persuade all those that desire their souls everlasting good, not to neglect this Holy Duty, which will be so beneficial to your souls, and so pleasing unto our Almighty God, which that you may sincerely do, shall be the prayers of him that subscribeth himself a hearty well-wisher to all your souls.

FINIS.
IOHN CLARKE

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