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that these were not to be transient and occasional Resolutions ; that they were intended for lasting Obligations, and cannot be sincerely discharged, unless they influence the Remainder of that Life lo graciously restored to me. I ought to look upon my felf as one raised from the Dead ; and favoured with Life a second time, that from henceforth I might employ and use the Gift to the Honour of the Giver, who hath thus, as it were, created me afresh. He saw it better upon my Request to continue me longer in this State of Tryal, and I ought to give the more earneft heed, that every Day added to my past Years may prove a higher Advance in Piety and Virtue ; that none of my holy Purposes languish or die, as too many have formerly done ; that this late Approach to the Grave may perpetually warn me of my Mortality; and that whenever Death and Judgment shall actually overtake me,(as overtake me they most certainly will) I may not be found less provided to meet my Lord, than this last Summons left me.
For can I reflect upon my late Weakness, and harbour an Imagination so vain, as that this Body, in its greatest Vigor, may promise it felf an everlasting Continuance? Can I observe this Youth of mine renewed as the Eagle's, and attribute it to any other Cause, than the Almighty Power and Infinite Goodness of Him, who wounds and heals, who kills and makes alive, after the Counsel of his own Will ? Can I acknowledge my present Recovery owing entirely to that Power and Goodness, and not discover the indispensible Engagements which lie upon me to make some suitable Return? And what Return is possible, whạt fo proper, so acceptable, as that of a thankful Heart ; a diligent Improvement of this Mercy ; a Life in every part
of it entirely dedicated to Him, who hath strengthened his Title now yet mote, and made it upon fo many Accounts his own
V. I will therefore be frequently acting over again those Solemn Exercises of Repentance performed in the Bitterness of my Soul; and by the Repetition shew that the good Thoughts I entertained continue to be the calm and settled Sense of my more composed Mind. I will ftriatly examine, what Faults committed, what Duties neglected, or but slightly performed, what Abuses, or what Failures in a right Improvement
of Health heretofore, might probably have provoked God to caft me upon the Bed of Sickness, and reduce me to such Extremity of Suffering. I will thank the Lord for giving me warning by this Afiction, but especially for touching and softning my Heart, and inspiring me with godly Sorrow, and holy, Purposes : And to my own Endeavours I will add my most fervent Prayers, that the Continuance of his Grace may, out of this painful Chastisement produce the peaceable and blessed Fruits of Righteousness and faithful Perseverance. To this end I will not fail, frequently to renew my good Resolutions ; to cherish and keep up in my Soul all hea. venly Dispositions, by .constant private Prayer, and serious Reflection ; by attending duly upon the Pub. lick Worship, by reading, and hearing, and conscientiously applying God's Holy Word to my present Circumstances and Necessities, by letting Nip none of the precious Opportunities for strengthening my Faith and other Christian Virtues in the Sacrament of my dear Redeemer's Body and Blood. I will take heed to all my Ways, be upon my guard against all Temptations and Occasions of Sinning, moderate in my most lawful Pleasures and Enjoyments, and diligent in all the Duties which the several Relations wherein I stand, and the State of Life to which I am appointed by Providence, require of me. I will set a Watch before my Mouth,and keep the Door of my Lips that I offend not in my PS.cxli.3. xxxix. 1.,
. 1. Tongue, I will take heed, that I hurt not
any Man by Thought, Word, or Deed; but will extend my Charity as I am able to all Mankind. To the poor distressed Members of my Blessed Saviour,by such Succours as their Condition stands in need of, and Mine qualifies me to give : To others by my good Advice, and seasonable Instruction ; To All by my Prayers and good Wishes, and the powerful Motive of a pious Example : And even to my Enemies, by Meeknefs and Forgiveness, even as God, for Christ's fake, hath had Compassion on Me. I will make it my Business to become every Day more in love with Religion ; and to make all with whom I converse so ; that I
in some measure give a Check to the Abominations of this degenerate Age in which I live, and adorn the Doctrine of our Lord Jefus Christ, or at least fave my self from this untoward Generation. In a Word, I will be sure that the Senfe of God's Mercies, (of this Last in particular) may never depart out of my Mind, but live, and grow, and bring forth Fruit, and influence mé powerfully to the very last Hour of my Life. - VI. Nor think, my Soal, that any Refolutions can be too strict, any Endeavours too much, upon this Oc
casion. For, after all that is come upon mé Ezra ix. 13. for my evil Deeds, and for my great Trespass,
God hath punished me less than my Iniquities deserve, and hath given me such a Deliverance as This
Should I again break his Commandmennts ?
Would be not then be angry with me till be bad consumed me, so that there fhould be no escaping? O Lord,
my God, Thou art righteous, for I remain jet Verse 15.
escaped ; but let not, I beseech thee, this Mercy, by being forgotten or abused, turn to my utter and eternal Condemnation. For that this must be the fad consequence of fuch Ingratitude at laft, not only thy Word hath told me, but I can plainly gather it from my own Reason and Experience. I feel what
Indignation the Unkindness of Persons whom I have particularly obliged kindles in my Breast ; I find that no sort of Resentments are more uneasie, no Provocation harder to be born, than that which arises from the Injuries and Affronts of those unworthy People, who presume upon my Friendship to use me ill. And can I suppose, that the just and jealous God will not call them to a severe Account, whơ turn his Grace into Wantonness, and, when they live by Miracles of Bounty and Long-suffering, live so as to dishonour Him, and reproach the Patience that spared them? The more signal and particular his Goodness hathi been, the heavier and more insupportable, no doubts will be that Wrath, which hardned and impenitent Wretches treasure up to themselves Rom. ii.-5. against the Day of Wrath, and Revelation of the righteous
Judgment of God. So that our blessed Lord's Adinonition to the impotent Man is in Effect the Voice of Reason and every Man's own Conscience. Eachi
Affliction, each Escape calling out loudly to the Re| ceiver, Sin no mord, left a worse thing come unto thee.
And how indeed can it be expected, that infinitely worse should not come, when neither severity wil drive, nor Compassion and Kindness lead to amendment; when neither Correcting nor Sparing can do any good ? The Circumstances of those Men are dangerous, whofe Diftemper only is strong : But Theirs must needs be desperate and Mortal, whose very Remedies feed and infiame their Disease. If Prúning and Manuring be both in vain, the next Sentence upon the barren Fig-tree is, Cut it down, why cumbreth it the Ground? The Ax is already
Luke xiii. laid to the Root, and if it be lifted up to give the fatal Stroke, the End of every Tree which bringeth fortb not good Fruit, we are ex- Måttli. iii. prey told shall be, to be burnt with únquenchable Fire:
John v. 14:
VII. These Things, and sundry others, which will be apt upon such Occasions to offer themselves, if apply'd well and warmly to my Conscience, will have a very great and happy force, in forming my Disposition, and regulating my Conduct for the time to come. The Recollection of God's abundant Mercies will inflame my Breast with holy Gratitude and fervent Love; such as would keep me ever passionately desirous to pay the just Tribute of my best Service in return, and cheerfully to run the way of his Commandments. The Remembrance of his Judgments will possess me with an awful Fear of displeasing him, and convince me, by my own Experience, that nó Flesh can stand be
fore him, when he is angry. My late Psal. lxxvi. Languishings and feeble Condition will be a seasonable and lively Admonition what this frail mortal Nature is ; These will teach me to die daily to the World, as a person who hath here no continuing
City, but ought to seek one to come : A Heb. xii.
Person who must not, from even the most confirmed Health, entertain any such fond Prospects and vain Confidences of long Life,as may tempt me to presume Death and Judgment at a great distance, and my self secure of any Surprize from them: Much rather ought I to expect them every Moment; and both from the daily Spectacles of Mortality in niy Neighbours, and the sensible Decays, or sudden Changes which happen to my self, quicken my Preparation to
meet that Lord, who hath compared himself Álitth: xxiv.
to a Thief in the Night, and foretold us that 43, 44
he will come in such an hour as we think not. Thus fhall I, by a true Christian Prudence,extract Spiritual Advantage out of Temporal Evils, discern the Goodness and Wisdom of Providence even in the most afflicting Dispensacions, convert the Pains and Diseases, of a vile perishing Body, into Instruments of Strength and Health to my Immortal Soul ; and have a happy,