Having explained the nature and need of yielding to God, Howe ends with the call. The last section of this sermon is quite lovely and encouraging. First, Howe calls upon all to “yield to God”:
Shall we then all agree upon this thing?
Shall we unite in one resolution, “We will be the Lord’s.”
Shall every one say in his own heart, “For my part, I will, and so will I, and so will I?”
Come now, one and all.
This is no unlawful confederacy, it is a blessed combination! “Come then, let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant, not to be forgotten,” Jer. 50:5.
With whatsoever after-solemnity you may renew this obligation and bond of God upon your souls, as I hope you will do it, every one apart, in your closets, or in any corner, and you cannot do it too fully, or too often;
yet let us now all resolve the thing; and this assembly make a joint-surrender,
and oblation of itself to
the great God our sovereign,
through our blessed Redeemer and Mediator,
by the eternal Spirit,
(which I hope is breathing and at work among us,) as one living sacrifice,
as all of us alive from the dead,
to be for ever sacred to him!
O blessed assembly!
O happy act and deed!
With how grateful and well-pleasing an odour will the kindness and dutifulness of this offering ascend, and be received above! God will accept, heaven will rejoice, angels will concur and gladly fall in with us. We hereby adjoin ourselves in relation, and in heart and spirit, “to the general assembly, to the church of the first-born ones written in heaven, to the innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,” and within a little while shall be actually among them. Is it possible there should be now among us any dissenting vote?
He then gives reasons for why should come. He presses home the point of how foolish it would be to refuse this God who will be your Judge come Judgment Day; how insane it is to refuse the God who calls you.
He also holds the blessings of coming to this God, who is so full of mercy. This seventh reason he presses for us to yield was particularly sweet:
7. But if you sincerely yield yourselves, the main controversy is at end between the great God and you. All your former sins are pardoned and done away at once. Those glad tidings you have often heard, that import nothing but “glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will towards men,” plainly show that the great God whom you had offended, hath no design to destroy you, but only to make you yield, and give him back his own. Though you have formerly lived a wandering life, and been as a vagabond on the earth from your true Owner, it will be all forgotten. How readily was the returning prodigal received! and so will you. How quiet rest will you have this night, when upon such terms there is a reconciliation between God and you! You have given him his own, and he is pleased, and most of all for this, that he hath you now to save you. You were his to destroy before, now you are his to save. He could easily destroy you against your will, but it is only with your will, he having made you willing, that he must save you. And his bidding you yield implies his willingness to do so. O how much of gospel is there in this invitation to you to yield yourselves to God! consider it as the voice of grace. Will he that bids a poor wretch yield itself, reject or destroy when it doth so?
And he ends with the promise of happiness. For what greater happiness can there be beyond be to reconciled to God so good and full of love and mercy:
8. And how happily may you now live the rest of your days in this world. You will live under his care, for will he not take care of his own, those that are of his own house? An infidel would. You are now of his family, under his immediate government, and under his continual blessing. And were you now to give an account where you have been to-day, and what you have been doing; if you say, you have been engaged this day in a solemn treaty with the Lord of heaven and earth, about yielding yourselves to him; and it be further asked, “Well, and what was the issue? Have you agreed?” Must you, any of you, be obliged by the truth of the case to say, “No?” Astonishing answer! What! hast thou been treating with the great God, the God of thy life, and not agreed? What, man! did he demand of thee any unreasonable thing? “Only to yield myself.” Why that was in all the world the most reasonable thing. Wretched creature, whither now wilt thou go? What wilt thou do with thyself? Where wilt thou lay thy hated head?—But if you can say, “Blessed be God, I gladly agreed to the proposal; He gave me the grace not to deny him:” then may it be said this was a good day’s work, and you will have cause to bless God for this day as long as you have a day to live.
John Howe, The Works of the Reverend John Howe, vol. 1 (London: William Tegg and Co., 1848), 402–405.