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tosubmit to, for mortifying their Vanities, and amending their Lives.
For, (which is of all others the last and dreadfullest Aggravation,) those Miseries and Tortures have no End, no Refreshment, no Intermission: But the sharpest AMictions we endure in this Life will quickly have a Period : They have their Intervals of Ease and Comfort; and those Sorrows which we feel upon a Religious Account, are largely recompenced with Spiritual Consolations, and sweet Peace of Mind. Do not then grudge a little present Grief; but mourn earnestly for thy Sins, and bend thy utmost Thoughts and Care to the Subduing and Reforming them; that this short Anxiety may deliver thee from eternal Despair,and Anguish unconceiveable ; and those few Tears of Repentance may secure to thee a Portion of everlasting Joy with the Blessed.
O happy Reverse of all their Griefs and Sufferings, which the Righteous shall find in that Day! when they shall stand full of Hope and humble Confidence before that Judgment-seat, from which their Haughty and Merciless Oppressors, confounded with Fear, and amazed with Guilt, Thall strive and wish in vain to hide their Trembling Heads. When he who now stands tamely at the Bar of Men, and innocently suffers, shall then be advanced to a Throne, and placed among the Saints and Martyrs, to assist at the Tryal of his, once insulting, Judges. When the Poor and Meek Thali have great Boldness, while the Proud and great Sinner
quakes at the Presence of God and the Lamb. When I that Piety and Godly Fear, that Abstinence and fevere
Virtue, chat patient Enduring for Christ's fake, which is now thought just Matter of Derision and Contempt, and counted Folly and Religious Madness, shallthen be acknowledged by its most Satyrical Scorners, to be indeed the True, the Only Wisdom. When the Remembrance of past Miseries shall be sweet, and They, whose wicked Malice exercised fuch Patience, shall be ftruck Dumb with fad Remorse and Bitterness of Soul. When all who devoted themselves to God and his Service shall be transported with Raptures of Joy, and all those who disregarded or despised them, fhall Weep and Lament. When the Africted and Perfecuted shall bless his Bitter Cup, and feel more refined, more fubAtantial Delights from it, than sensual Pleasures, or uninterrupted Prosperity could ever bring to the most Voluptuous and Fortunate: When the plain Dress of the Humble, and Sackcloth of the Penitent, shall shine glorious as the Sun; and all the gay Pomp and glittering Jewels of the proud and gaudy Sinner shall be trampled under Foot like Dung: When the Cottage shall take place of the Court, Patience appear more eligible than the most boundless and arbitrary Power ; the honest Obedience of an humble Faith, noreWise, than the nicest Cavils of the fubtileft Wit; and a good Conscience more useful Learning, than the most elaborate Systems of Philosophy: When the Contempt of: Riches thall approve it self the greatest Treasure; Devout Prayer the most delicious Entertainment; Silence and Caution the best Conversation: When Good Works fhall plead better than the most accurate Eloquence ; Alms prove the most prevailing Advocate, Self-denial che most exalted Pleasure, and the Conquest of ill Habits the most glorious Triumph.
If then this be, (and this most assuredly is) a true Representation of that decisive Day: If this the differenc Fate and Effect of thcíe fo very different Persons and Practices; Consider, I conjure thee, the Circumstances of those Damned. And harden thy self fro this Reflection, to endure a Little now, when That littk will secure thee against enduring infinitely mere herefter. Make tryal of thy self, and if the flight Difficulties of a Religious Life feem tedious and tirefome; turn the Argument against thy fensual Inclina
tion, and think, how one who finks uacer these, will be able to dwell with exquisite and Everlasting Torments. Nor is this a trifling needless Enquiry, but absolutely necessary, and of mighty moment. For Matters are so ordered, that perfect ease c'n be no Man's Portion in both Worlds: They who chuse their good Things here, cannot have them hereafter too; nor shall any Man who indulges Sense and Pleasure upon Earth, Rejoice and Reign with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Suppofe then, that, from your Entrance into the Body, to this very Day, you had enjoyed the utmost your Heart could possibly delire, of all which this World calls Happiness: Honours, Riches, Pleatures, without Check, or Stint, or Interruption. Yer what Good would all this do to you, if it should please God just now to strike you with Death? Do not you plainly fee, without my prosecuting this Argument any farther, that all below is vanity and meer Nothing, and that the Love of God and a Religious Life is the only thing which can stand you in any stead? This will stick by you, when all the rest forsake you. This is neither destroyed by Death, nor afraid of Punishment, but Triumphs over both; filis the Man with Confidence and joyful Expectation at the dreadful Day of Judgment; and fets him above all the Terrors and dismal Apprehensions of Hell and its Tor
But then, This is the peculiar Priviledge of the Servants of God; for, how is it poflible for the Men who practise and delight in Wickedness, to think of Death and Judgment, without Fear and Perplexity of Heart? How lhould they cnjoy. Cuiet, and be caiy in their Minds, if they think at all what is coming apace upon them? Let then the Love or God prevail over that of Sin; but if thou art not yet perfect enough to be acted by this noble Principle;
Let at leait the Love of thy self reclaim thee, and the Fear of Hell
estrain and deter thee from a Course which must Pyalm cxi. 10.
end at last in thy utter and inevitable
Ruin. This, says the Scripture, is the beginning of Wisdom, for he who is Proof againft the Fear of God, cannot persevere in any thing that is Good
i As having no manner of Principle that can save him, no Curb upon his mind that can awe, or hold him in, from running headlong into the Snares of the Devil,
CHA P. XXV.
Of Zeal in the Reformation of our Lives.
one to be in his Service. For what is the Rom, xii. u.
End we purpose,by dedicating our selves in folemn Vows to Christ? or to what purpose do we. renounce the World and its Vanities, but that these sacred Ties may engage our utmost Watchfulness and Diligence to consecrate our Persons and Actions, to conform our selves to the Image of God, by living to him, and like him, and much above the rate of common Men? Let not therefore these good Resolutions cool upon your Hands ; but be zealous in Piety and Virtue. Consider that you shall shortly receive an ample Recompence for all your holy Labours, and see a happy End of Grief and Fear, and Hardship. Be content with Travel and Pain for a very little while, Matth. xi. 28, and you sisall be sure to find Reft, and Peace,
and Joy to your Souls. The Yoke is easie 1 Cor. iv. 16. and the Burtben is light, but the Weight of Glory is far more exceeding and eternal. Be but You careful to discharge your part, and then you need
never doubt God's making good his. Support and encourage your self with the full Assurance of ob. taining the Crown, but take heed that Assurancë de not degenerate into Presumption; nor the prospect of Bliss, which should excite a more active and cheerful Obedience, become an occasion of spiritual se curity and Sloth.
I remember an Instance of a Perfon irresolute and wavering in the Concerns of his Soul, divided be tween Hope and Fear, who in his Prayers was earnestly entreating, to be assured of his own Perseverance; and expressing how happy, he should think himself, could he but be satisfied in this Point. Whereupon he was immediately answer'd from within, Well, and supe posing you could be asured of this, how would you proceed then? Do but act now, as you would think your self obliged to do in that case, and never question your persevering. This
comfortable Reply settled his Mind, and, instead of inTe dulging any curious Enquiries into Events, or anxious
Doubts concerning the Success of his Endeavours, he
pected from him, and set about the Performance of
commit thy Way to him, and be shall bring 5; 6. gi it to pass.
The great and common Obstacle to vigorous Vira tue, is the dreadful Notion Men form to themselves of the Difficulties attending it, and how laborious a " thing Religion is. And true it is, Exalted Piety will s cost many a fore Conflict. But even this Considerati
on may be some Encouragement too; when we confilider, that the Hardship of the Undertaking, and the
Violence of the Oppolition, add to the Glory of the 2: Fight; and entitle the Conqueror to a Crown fo
much brighter, as the Toil and Hazard of the Day ha won, was greater. For the more a Man subdues him