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can be content with the pleasures of beasts! We that have a time appointed us by God, in which to work out our falvation, with an affurance, that when the night cometh, no man can work; and yet defer this mighty concern to the evening of our day! We that believe an everlasting life of happiness or misery after death, and yet never seriously confider which of the two may be our own portion! We that confess we are finners, and yet live as if we had never offended God, and ftand in no need of his pardon! We that are in danger every moment to be fnatched away, and are fure, if we die in our fins unrepented of, to be made the fcorn of devils, and yet to be as unconcerned as if the command of life were in our own hands!

Gracious God! that thefe confiderations might awaken in us a deep fenfe of our unhappy ftate! that weighing the fhortness and uncertainty of our time, the great work we have to do, the neceffity of making our peace with God, the comfort of living to bring forth fruits meet for repentance, and the danger of dying under thy difpleasure, our hearts may be filled with godly fear; and that we may fee, in this our day, the things which belong to our peace, left they be for ever hid from

our eyes.

But I would not, good Christians, only raife your fears and your paffions, without inftructing you how to turn them to good pur


pofes. Our Lord himself has told us what to do when our hearts are filled with fears of what may become of us hereafter: Watch and pray, (faith he) that ye may be accounted worthy to efcape all these things. For ye know not when your Lord cometh, whether at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning. Take heed, therefore, left your hearts be overcome with furfeiting and drunkennefs, and the cares of this world, and that day overtake you unawares.

Why now, Chriftians, this is our cafe; this is our day of falvation. I, and every one of you that now hear me, have it in our own power, by the grace of God, to be for ever happy. This is our appointed time, which would not be continued to us, but that God waits to be gracious. That we may not lofe this opportunity, our first and great duty is, to watch and pray; to watch against fin, and to pray for grace; always remembering, that if we lead a careless, ufelefs, thoughtless life, our fentence is already paffed, with that of the flothful fervant, who was commanded to watch, and did not:-Bind him hand and foot, and caft him into outer darkness.

But how must we watch? Why; we must endeavour to have the fhortnefs and uncertainty of our life ever in our thoughts; the good effects of which will be thefe:

We fhall make good use of our present time, for who knows how fhort it may be?

Mark xiii. 33.

Luke xxi, 34.


We shall take every opportunity of doing good, for who knows whether ever we may

have another?

We fhall be just in all our dealings, for who would hazard his foul for what he must in a very fhort time leave behind him?

We fhall be moderate in our cares for the riches and conveniences of this life, for what would it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lofe his own foul?

We fhall be fober and temperate, left that day fhould overtake us, as it has done many, when we have not our thoughts and fenfes about us.

We fhall be patient under all the afflictions with which God fhall think fit to exercife us, feeing plainly that these cannot last long.

We shall be charitable and merciful according to our power, as knowing affuredly, that we are laying up for ourselves a good foundation for the time to come.

We fhall readily forgive all that have offended or injured us; for why fhould we be enemies here, when in a very little time we hope to meet in paradise, and be good friends there for ever?

In fhort; we fhall always be ferious, for fo the thoughts of death will be apt to make us; always devout, for who can think of another life, and not paffionately defire and pray that his portion may be with the blessed? And by

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this means we shall make our lives eafy, and our deaths happy.

But is all this care and watchfulness neceffary for every one that hopes to be happy when he dies? Moft certainly fo. What I fay unto you, (faith our Lord) I fay unto all, Watch. And indeed, it cannot be otherwife. For how can we hope to go to the place of just men made perfect, but by following their steps; by becoming in fome measure perfect as they were?

My meaning and the truth is this:-Before we leave this world, as ever we hope to go to a better, our nature must be changed; we must put on, as the apoftle speaks, the new man;* that is, we muft endeavour, by the grace of God, to be restored to that integrity in which man was at firft created, and which was loft at the fall, by which we are become weak, finful creatures. Our business in the world is to be restored to this condition again, that we may be fit for the company of angels, and the fouls of just men made perfect.

But how muft this be done? Why, first, by forfaking every evil way; then by watching, and standing against all temptations to fin, which we are fure every day to meet with; by denying our own defires, which would lead us to dishonour God; and, because we have nothing in ourselves to trust to, by earnestly and daily begging of God to give us new

* Eph. iv. 23.



hearts, new defires, and greater strength, and better refolutions than we have by nature; by endeavouring every day more than other, to wean our affections from the things of this world; by thinking often of the shortness of this life, and of the eternity of the next, of the joys of heaven, and of the pains of hell. Laftly; by exercifing ourselves in acts of piety and charity, that we may thereby recommend ourselves to God for greater degrees of grace here, and for a favourable sentence at the day of judgment.

So that you fee, good Chriftians, we have no reason to despair. While we are alive, we have reason to hope that God has not forfaken us for ever. But then let But then let us, like men awake and in their fenfes, refolve to redeem the time we have loft, and which was granted to us for working out our falvation; remembering, that when once time is loft, it can never be recovered, if we had the world to give for it. And let us not flatter our hearts with thinking, that because the day of judgment may be a great way off, that therefore we are a great way from danger; for it is undoubtedly true and plain from the facred fcriptures, that as foon as ever we die the fouls of good men are by the angels carried into paradife, a place of peace, reft, and happinefs; for fo was the foul of Lazarus, and fo was that of the penitent thief:-on the other hand, the fouls of wicked men are carried to a place of misery, as was that

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