ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Service ; But if they could, yet when once gone,you will be forgotten much sooner than you are willing to believe. And why should You relt upon their Care, when you cannot be prevailed with for your Own ? Can it be supposed they should be more concerned for your Salvation, than You,whose proper Interest it is? Allowing then, that these could do you good, yet even thus 'tis better you should do your own Business; better, in regard of the Person, and better in regard of the Time ; For now is the Season of Acceptance, now is the Day of Salvation. And therefore this moment is fittest for your Purpose: The sooner you change, the better : Live then while you may ; and begin from the present Minute to live so, that you may live for ever. For if you suffer the happy Opportunity to slip through your Hands, you will wish for it afterwards, when it is too late ; and may perhaps be reduced to such Circumstances, that One Day, One Hour , for making your Peace with God inay not be obtained ; no, not when you would glad, ly give, were it at your Disposal, the whole world to purchase it.

Consider then, my Friend and Fellow-Christian, consider what a Risque you run by your Delays ; Think, what Misery and Danger, what Confusion and Despair it is now in your Power to prevent, by living like a Man that remembers he must die ; And therefore so spend every Hour, that when your last draws on, you may receive it with Joy and Hope, instead of Fear and Astonishment. Learn now to Die daily, to Die to Sin and the World, that you may then begin co Live with Christ. Learn now to despise all here below, that you may then be disengaged, and at perfeet liberty to leave all and follow Christ. . Subdue your Body Now by Mortification and Self-denial, and you shall then have great Boldness in the Day of Țri. bulation,

Does

Does any Confidence of long Life encourage you - to defer putting this good Advice in Execution speedi

ly? Nay, but reflect, fond Man, how little you can promise your self one poor single Day. How many Instances have you before your Eyes, or fresh in your Remembrance, of Persons miserably deluded and disappointed in this Hope, and hurried out of the Body without any warning at all? How often have you been surprized with the News of this Friend being run thro', another drowning crossing the Water, a Third break ing his Neck by a Fall, a Fourth fallen down deadat Table, or choaked with his Meat, a Fifth seized with an Apoplex at Play, a Sixth burnt in his Bed, a Seventh murthered, an Eighth killed by Thieves a Ninth ftruck with Lightning, or Blasting, or Pestilence, a Tenth swallow'd up in an Earthquake. Such vast vą. riety of Deaths surround us, and so fleeting a Shadow is the Life of a Man.

And if any of these happens to be Your case, Who fhall help? Who can save you,when the precious Opportunity is fled and loft. Be doing then betimes; for, though you cannot so much as guess at the Hour and manner of your own Death, yer safe you are, or may be, if you will provide againft it. Use Time then while you have it; make hafte to be rich towards God, and let Religion and your own Salvation be your Chief, your Only Concern. Make your self Friends, while you may, who when you fail may re- Luke XV1.9. ceive you into everlasting Habitations...

Behave your self as a Stranger and Pilgrim upon Earth, and entangle not your Thoughts in Matters which do not belong to you. For Sojourners are not Proprietors, and therefore such should keep their Minds loose and free, and not settle their Affections upon things, which they are leaving very shortly : Raise your Soul to God, and let it not a well there, where you have no continuing Hebr. xiii.14.

City:

City. Look up to that which is so, and send your Prayers, and Tears, and earnest Desires before you thither ; that when God calls, you may readily follow in Person, and make a happy Exchange of this Miserable World for a better.,

CH A P. XXIV. Of the Last Judgment, and the Eternal Punishment

of Ungodly Men. IXHatsoever thou takejt in hand, remember the End; V V and thou shalt never do amiss, says the Wise Son

of Sirach. And certainly this would prove Eccles. Vii. 36. a most useful Direction, if we by the End understand that last great Account, which will one Day be required of all our Actions. For how powerful, how happy a Restraint should we live under, did we but seriously reflect, and constantly ask our selves, how we shall dare to stand before that strict and righteous Judge, to whom all Hearts are open , all Desires known, and from whom no secrets are bid; One, who cannot, like other Judges, be diverted from the steady Course of Justice ; blinded by Bribes and Presents, or softned by subtle Extenuations, or imposed upon by feigned Excuses, and studied Evasions; but who weighs all Persons and Causes by the Eternal Standard of Equity and Truth. Ah, wretched Guilty Creature ! Ah, stupid Unthinking Sinner! that trembleft at the Frown of a Man like thy self, and canst not fear that Bar, where nothing can turn to thy Prejudice but open and notorious Faults ! How wilt thou appear at this Tribunal, or what Plea canst thou urge in Bar of Sentence , to Hin who needs no Evidence, but is himself privy to thy molt concealed Impieties? Doft

thou

[ocr errors]

thou know this, and yet go on unconcerned how thou t shalt escape the Terrors of that dreadful Day? With

out thy own Care, escape thou canst not: For This Judgment is universal; All Mankind must stand upon their Deliverance; every one must bear his own Burden; and every one's Burden is more than enough for himself; so that no Man will be in a Condition of Alifting another. To expect any Advantage, any Atonement then, is moit lensless; Thou only canít

prevent thy own Destruction, and this Life is the onFly Time of preventing it. Thy holy Labours now will

turn to good Account; thy pious Mournings move Compassion, thy Prayers and Groans enter the Ears of God, and melt him into Mercy; the Meek and

Patient Man will then be conlidered for his constant U Suffering and invincible Charity. The Grief he now i conceives for Wrongs is more for the Wickedness and

Guilt of the Person who does them, than for any In Foi convenience brought upon himself; and this Disposi, E ţion will mitigate his own Offence; he heartily for5 gives, and prays that God would forgive his Enemies;

2 and this entitles him to the Forgiveness of his own B Trespasses. He is more easily provcked to Pity, than E to Anger : and shall be dealt with accordingly, by a

God Long-suffering, flow to Wrath, and sparing when Men deserve Punishment. He often treats his Body wich Severity and Violence, and continues the rigorous Discipline, till the Flein be effectually subdued by the Spirit; and therefore good amends fail be made him for these voluntary Suterings, and the neglected Pleasures of Sense be liberally recompenced by the abundance of Heavenly and Intellectual Joys. But then’tis plain these good Qualities which minister an Entrance into that Bliss, muit be attained as foon as we can possibly : This present State of Mortality is the only Scene of Action and improvement :: and since this Scene so suddenly inay change, we are

not

not safe in the delay of one Moment. This is in truth our Case, but we are loth to understand it: and so inordinately fond of Sensual Delights, that we even take a pleasure in imposing upon our selves; and by the most fatal of all Infatuations, cherish and gratify our Bodies, at the Expence, and extreme Hazard of our Souls.

And what is the Effect of this, but heaping up more Fewel for Everlasting Flames to feed upon? For our Sins and Lusts kindle and blow up those Fires, and the more heinous and impetuous these are, the fiercer and more furiously those will be sure to burn, For as the Torments of ungodly Wretches shall there be exquisite for their Degree, so fhall they for their Kind and Quality be suited and proportioned to the Sins of each particular Person; and fo contrived, as to be most sensibly afflicting and painful to the respeative Tempers and Complections of Men, the Habits they have contracted, and the Appetites they have indulged. The Lazy and Stupid shall be awakened and rouzed into Senfe by sharp Scourges and burning Stings. The Glutton and Drunkard gnawed with in fatiable Hunger; and parched with unquenchable

Thirst. The Nice and Delicate, who proposed no Happiness here to themselves, but Luxury and Pleasure, shall then be strangled with the noisom Vapours of flaming Pitch and stinking Sulphur. The Envious and Discontented shall howl perpetually like Mad Dogs. The Proud and Vain-glorious shall be confounded with Shame and Contempt. The Covetous shall pine away with extream Penury and Want; and no One Vice shall escape a Torture, exactly fitted to make its Indulger the most miserable that it is possible for him to be. In a Word, One single Hour in those dismal Pains and Horrors shall be more insupportable, than whole Ages of that Uneasinefs, which Wicked Men here have so irreconcilable an Aversion

to

with Sham and Vaino perpetually

« 前へ次へ »