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stricter and more stedfast Virtue bere, and my more exquisite Happiness hereafter. 0! that the Talents of Time and Ability to do good, which have been heretofore jo wretchedly sreglected, may (110w they are afresh committed to my Truft) be, for the Time to come, fo faithfully improved, that the fbining Graces of an exemplary Conversation may hold some Proportion with the Blesings, I have been so particularly favoured withal. Let these excite, not me only, but others also, by my Example, to love thee more fervently, to serve thee more chearfully to trust in thee more assuredly. In Thee, O Lord, who shewest us thy Goodness so plenteously, and daily pourest thy
Benefits upon us: In Thee, Psal. Ixviii. who never failest nor forsakest them that 19. ix. 10. i seek thee: In Tbee, whose Mercies are sweet, lxvii. 4.
ubofe Loving-kindness is better than Life it felf, whoje Service is perfect Freedom, and in keeping whose Commandments there is exceeding great Reward.
To this End, sanctify, I beseech thee, all the Methods of thy Providence to the Salvation of my Immortal Soub; And especially, let not thy abused Mercies ever rise up in Judgment against me. O! may my paft Sufferings work in me great Humility and godly Fear ; that from Them I may confirm my self in Faith and Patience, and an entire Resignation to thy Will, and wiser Choices for me. Bring back frequently to my remembrance the Promises and Supplications, poured out in the Bitterness of my Soul ; that those successful Addresses to the Throne of Grace, may ftir me up effe&tually, to the paying what I then fo folemily vowed. Open thou my Lips, O Lord, that
Psal. civ.33. my Mouth may decare thy Mercy and Truth, as long as I live, and praise my God, while I have any Being. And, forasmuch as this Recovery is only the lengthening out a little that Span of Life, which must Soortly have an Ende; Suffer me not, I pray thee, to forget, that I am a Stranger upon Earth ; but help me fo to disengage my Heart from these Things here below, which (my
own late Experience hath taught me) cannot profit in the Day of Wrath ; that my Hopes and Affections may be analterally fixed upon those better and eternal Treasures, which thou hast prepared for them that love thee. Let the Thoughts and certain Expectations of Death and Judgment be so constantly, so powerfully present to my Soul, tbat in what Hour foever my Lord shall come, I may be found ready to meet him, and to go in with him to the Marriage. Even so, Blessed Jesus, Grant me in sich manner to pass through Things Temporal, that I finally lose not the things Eternal; but that I may use and improve thy Grace here, til Grace at last be swallowed up in Glory, and I translated to my Master's Joy. All which I beg for thy own Merits sake, my only Mediator and Redeemer : To whom, with the Father and Holy Spirit, be ascribed, as is most due, from Me, and every Creature, all Honour and Glory, Dominion and Power, Thanksgiving and Praise, and bumble Adoration, benceforth and for evermore. Amen.
after that the Judgment. So says the Spirit of God himself; and what is thus appointed, none can reverse, none can escape. That then, which reThains for Us, who.lie under this Sentence, to do, is only to endeavour, that we may die, as becomes Men
and Christians: that is, as Persons, who
expect to render an Account of the things done in this Body, and to receive a Recompence accordingly, whether it be Good or Bad. But who may abide that Day? Or who shall stand, when the Lord appeareth? Who indeed; when not only the Thing it felf, but the very Apprehensions, and especially the Approaches, of it are so dreadful? For what is more
2 Cor.y. 10.
terrible to Mortal Man, than Dying; and what more fo to sinful Man, than being Judged? But yet, my Soul, since these must unavoidably come, let us fee what Course can be taken, to soften a little, and reconcile us to them: Nay, let us try, if it be not pofsible, not only to bear them contentedly, but even to meet them gladly.
II. If Death be considered in it felf, it is no more, than what all the living Creation here below undergo, in common with our selves. And what is Dying? It is a Ceasing to Live, after the manner we now do. It is a Removal, or rather, an Escape, from a World of Miffortunes and Miseries; of Sorrow and Disquiet; of Malice and Deceit; Noise and Contention; of Pains and Anguish; of Crosses and Disappointments; of Vanity and Vexation; and, which is worst of all, of Temptation and Sin. It is doing that once for all, which we have done in part, a thousand Times already; by Sicknesses and Faintings, by the Decays and Infirmities of Nature ; and by theLoss oftenderestRelations,whotore away our very Heart with them. In short, the present Life, even to the Prosperous, will be found, upon a just Computation, to have made a very unequal Distribution. For even such have a larger Proportion of Trouble, than of Happiness. But to the Generality of Mankind, it is a rough tempestuous Sea ; and Death is the making their Port, or at least retiring into the Shelter of a Creek, where Storms can reach and annoy them no
These are not affected Strains of Philosophy, but weighed and measured Truths; such as every Man is, or may be, fadly convinced of, at his own Expence. The only Deceit arises from our natural Fondness for Living; which God hath wisely infused, and woven into our Souls, that we might sustain our present CaJamities the better. As, on the other hand, he hath made Faith of a Future State our Virtue, and ordained the
Miseries of the Present Life, as an Exercise for that Virtue ; that both together might be a Balance at least against the Objects of Sense; draw off our Affections from a Place, which was never intended for our Rest; and raise our Desires up to those better Things, provided for us in another World. And surely, if this Matter were well weigh’d, however timorous Nature may start and boggle at first, yet it would be no hard Matter to come close up to Death; and, by the help of familiar Practice, and prudent pious Meditation, to render not only the Thoughts of it, but even the Thing it felf, very tolerable to us.
III. But, if we consider Death in another Capacity, as leading, and keeping, us close Prisoners, to a just and terrible Judgment; thus it hath a Sting indeed, which is the Sense of Guilt, and Sin unpardoned. This is what nothing can relieve, but the Comforts arising from true Repentance, from a Saviour sacrific'd to expiate, and make full Satisfaction for our Offences, from a Title to our part in that Expiation, and the Favour of a reconciled God. And thefe, I hope, are Comforts which belong to Me. For do but hear and observe (my Soul) what reviving Words the holy Spirit hath spoken to this pur
pose. If any Man fin, we have an Advocate Fohn ii.1,2.
with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and He is the Propitiation for our Sins. Christ hath dy'd, who is he that condemneth? Yea, Christ is risen again, and seated at the Right Hand of God, a perpetual InterRom. viii. cessor, and a mighty Saviour to all them
come to God by Him. He hath told thee, that what the Infirmity of the Law and the Flesh
could not do, Christ hath done for us ; that Heb.ii. & iv.
he knows and hath felt our Weaknesses, and will not fail to make large and very gracious Allowances Rev. i. 5. for them; that Jesus hath washed us in his Ifa. i. 18. own Blood, and though our Sins, be as
Scarlet, yet, upon our true Repentance, they shall be
IV. O glorious Day, which shall bring me to the full and inseparable Enjoyment of my dearest Saviour and most merciful God, when this Veil of Flesh shall be done away, and Spiritual Joy, and Peace, and Knowledge, and Love, fhall for ever abound ! Blessed be thy Name, O God, who haft opened an Entrance into fuch Bliss for poor returning Sinners! Blessed be thy Bounty, who hast ordained such an infinite Recompence, for our imperfect and unworthy Labours! And, if thou hast decreed withal, that I must pass thro' the Regions of Darkness and Death, to come at those Seats of Light and Glory; shall I grudge this Pasfage? When I have born the Heat and Burthen of the Day, shall I mourn, because Even is come, and shrink back, when I am called to receive my Wages ? %
1 Pet. i. 4.