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those Miseries se fait and dreadfuller
End, no Ret
- to submit to, for mortifying their Vanities, and amenda ni ing their Lives.
For, (which is of all others the last and dreadfullest Te Aggravation,) those Miseries and Tortures have no 3 End, no Refreshment, no Intermission: But the sharp
est Afflictions we endure in this Life will quickly have 2 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 Confolations, and sweet Peace of Mind. Fi Do not then grudge a little present Grief; but mourn
earnestly for thy Sins, and bend thy utmost Thoughts to and Care to the Subduing and Reforming them ; t that this short Anxiety may deliver thee from eter
nal Despair and Anguish unconceiveable; and those co: few Tears of Repentance may secure to thee a Portion of everlasting Joy with the Blessed.
O happy Reverfe of all their Griefs and Sufferings, which the Righteous shall find in that Day! when they rei. shall stand full of Hope and humble Confidence before
that Judgment-seat, from which their Haughty and til Merciless Oppressors, confounded with Fear, and i amazed with Guilt, shall strive and wish in vain to hide naltheir Trembling Heads. When he who now stands 16 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 shalt have great Boldness, while the Proud and great Sinner quakes at the Presence of God and the Lamb. When that Piety and Godly Fear, that Abstinence and fevere Virtue, chat patient Enduring for Christ's sake, 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 whose wicked Malice exercised such 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, shall Weep and Lament. When the Africted and Persecuted shall bless his Biccer Cup, and feel more refined, more fubftantial 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 glistering Jewels of the proud and gaudy Sinner shall be trampled under Foot like Dung: When the Cottage Thall 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 Syítems 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 the 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 differene Fate and Effcct of these fo very different Persons and Practices; Confider, I conjure chee, the Circumftances of those Damned. And harden thy self from This Reflection, to endure a Little now, when Thut litt'e will secure thee against enduring infinitely more hereafter. Make tryal of thy felf, and if the flight Dilliculties of a Religious Life seem redious and tireTome; turn the Argument against thy sensual Inclina.
* tion, and think, how one who sinks uader these, will 61. be able to dwell with exquisite and Everlasting Tor
ments. Nor is this a trifling needless Enquiry, but abLa solutely necessary, and of mighty moment. For Mat
ters are so ordered, that perfect ease c'n be no Man's
Portion in both Worlds: They who chuse their good 2 Things here, cannot have them hereafter too; nor
fhall 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 defire, of all which this World calls Happiness: Honours, Riches, Pleasures, without Check, or Stint, or Interruption. Yer whuc Good would all this do to you, if it should please God just now to strike you with Death? Do not you plainly see, 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 ftead? This will stick by you, when all the rest forsake you. This is neither destroyed by Death, nor afraid of Punishment, buc 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 dilmal Apprehensions of Hell and its Tortures. 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 Perpicxity of Heart? How lhould they enjoy, Quiet, and be easy in their Minds, if they think at all what is coming apace upon them? Ler then the Love of 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
eftrain and deter thee from a Course which must Pfalm 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 against the Fear of God, cannot persevere in any thing that is Good ; 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,
CH A P. XXV. Of Zeal in the Reformation of our Lives. R E fervent in Prayer, Serving the Lord, says the ApoD stle. And such indeed it highly concerns every
one to be in his Service. For what is the Rom. Xit. II. End we purpose,by dedicating our felves in solemn 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 shall be sure to find Rest, and Peace, 30.
and Joy to your Souls. The Yoke is easie, 2 Cor. iv. 16. and the Burthen 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
mon Menahim, and manage of God, by lions, to
never doubt God's making good his. Support and encourage your self with the full Assurance of oba taining the Crown, but take heed that Assurancë do not degenerate into Presumption; nor the prospect of Bliss, which should excite a more active and cheers ful Obedience, become an occasion of spiritual Se curity and Sloth.
I remember an Instance of a Perfon irresolute and of wavering in the Concerns of his Soul, divided be
tween Hope and Fear, who in his Prayers was earnesto ly entreating, to be assured of his own Perseverances 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 supa posing you could be assured 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 A comfortable Reply settled his Mind, and, instead of inEr dulging any curious Enquiries into Events, or anxious si Doubts concerning the Success of his Endeavours, he ei immediately applied himself to consider what God exI pected from him, and set about the Performance of h That, without more to do. Trust in the 2 Lord, and be doing good, says the Pfalmift, Palm xxxvii. 5commit thy Way to him, and be shall bring S; 6. ei it to pass. Do The great and common Obstacle to vigorous Vira 01 tue, is the dreadful Notion Men form to themselves of as the Difficulties attending it, and how laborious a a thing Religion is. And true ic is, Exalted Piety will şi cost many a fore Conflict. But even this considerati i on may be some Encouragement too; when we consie der, that the Hardship of the Undertaking, and the . Violence of the Opposition, 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:I won, was greater. For the more a Man fubdues hiin..