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grave, and

ing upon us, much less ascertain to us this greatest of our out-
ward enjoyments. Again, we often see the highest honours
exchanged for the lowest abasements, and contempt; so the
rich man is frequently reduced to poverty, the healthy man
laid upon a bed of languishing; and the man who stood in
the first rank of dignity, is soon debased to a low degree;
whence we may cry out with the preacher, vanity of vanities,
and all is vanity, which does not tend to the care of the im-
mortal soul. For,
Is always

The body itself, to which alone such comforts tending :o are suited, is ever tending toward the dust, and córruption. will soon be stripped of all sensation of all worldly things, and entirely lose the relish of those things, that once had been most agreeable to it. And yet no man is exempt from this debt; we must all go down to the silent can carry none of those things along with us; and all their pleasure and ease, if it should happen to last so long, must then have its end. Whereas

III. On the other-hand, that, which serves the interest of our souls, is most lasting and is never taken from us, whose state hereafter will be determined by our behaviour in this life; heaven or hell, happiness or misery, will be our final portion, just

as death finds us; as soon as death frikes, we eiHow the

ther are in torments or go to paradise; either befoul is deter. come the companions of devils, or the associates of

holy angels, and so remain to all eternity; and therefore our greatest care should be to avoid the one and obtain the other.

We are often determined in the affairs of this life by the hope and fear of things to come; as all our pursuits, and most of our actions, are for the sake of something future, and not yet in sight; that is, either to prevent fome evil feared, or to obtain some good desired; for, in the beginning of life, people apply themselves to become masters of some profeffion, or trade, or business, in hopes of a livelihood, or of serviceableness, when they arrive at riper years, tho' they are not sure they shall ever live to be masters of what they labour after, nor certain of success in the most prudent Iteps they can take to accomplish the end of their worldly

expectations,

state of the

mined.

expectations, of which we have far less certainty than of an immortal state ; shall it be said, that we shall be less diligent in the care of our souls, whose affairs are not so uncertain? For, tho' we therein act upon a future prospect, yet divine promise ascertains us of success in the way of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Wherefore, tho' the benefit is future, that is no reason to abate our zeal in prosecuting it. I have observed, that reason does not prevail to slacken man's endeavours for his worldly gain: how unreasonable then must they be, who have the advantage of a better hope in our aims for another life, and neglect the means to attain that happy flate ? Again, it can be no excuse for a man to say, that he cannot comply with that self-denial, mortification, and other christian duties, which are acceptable to God through Felius Chrift, and without which the soul languisheth, is fick, and his faith is dead: for he cannot be ignorant of that plain rule of wisdom, to decline a present pleasure for one equal to it of longer continuance; or to submit to a present inconvenience, to prevent one more lasting; or to obtain a more lasting good, tho' there should be no difference in the things themselves, but only in their duration. Thus a wise man will never refuse to go through a short course of physick in an ill habit of body upon a fair prospect of procuring a regular state of health thereby; nor neglect to give a small sum of money in hand, upon security of enjoying a good inheritance in a few

years after : and shall he neglect to take proper care of his soul, to cleanse it from all impurity, and to prepare it for the enjoyment of that blessed state of eternal happiness, which is promised to all those, who love God and keep his coinmandments ?

Especially knowing that the most lasting things Why eternal below, bear no proportion to eternal happiness. If happiness is we measure them with eternity, they are as nothing; and a minute compared with our whole lives is no proportion in comparison of time and eternal duration. Therefore whatever is temporal, is incapable of giving full fatisfaction, because it may be taken from us. So when we are upon an inquiry after happiness, we may discern at first, that earth says, it is not in me; for, every thing here is perishing, and muft foon have an end. Thus

24

The

ing upon us, much less ascertain to us this greatest of our out ward enjoyments. Again, we often see the highest honoui exchanged for the lowest abasements

, and contempt; so th. rich man is frequently reduced to poverty, the healthy má. laid upon a bed of languishing; and the man who stood i the first rank of dignity, is soon debased to a low degree whence we may cry out with the preacher, vanity of vanities and all is vanity, which does not tend to the care of the im mortal soul. For, Is always

The body itself, to which alone such comfort tending to are suited, is ever tending toward the dust, and corruption.

will soon be stripped of all sensation of all worldly things, and entirely lose the relish of those things, that once had been most agreeable to it. And yet no man is exempt from this debt; we must all go down to the silent

grave, and can carry none of those things along with us; and all their pleasure and ease, if it should happen to last so long, must then have its end. Whereas

III.On the other-hand, that, which serves the interest of our fouls, is most lasting and is never taken from us, whose state hereafter will be determined by our behaviour in this life; heaven or hell, happiness or misery, will be our final portion, jus

as death finds us; as soon as death frikes, we

ther are in torments or go to paradise; eith Soul is deter. come the companions of devils, or the affo mined. holy angels,

remain to all eternity fore our greatest care je to avoid the one other.

We are often d hope and fear most of our a and not yet : ed, or to o life, peop' fefsion, of servicare not

we live labour Iteps

How the ftate of the

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and roatain: For, *3 TE

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; which izat is no reaion can

od is repierred, that realt

nciled to Fours for his word E vno nave ce au uz:

what mother fe, and concen Again, i can server: comply with a

sfaction an iuties, wrict :

who, for and without whico de cines

misery, s dead: for je cannot be: TOT:

ons of his tom, to decline a retention

y all man. #continuance; TO JDI.: : mons

o a state of peerent one morelaiting, dr. more

And our care tere boull be no difference: trem

e will not be ly in their duration. Tsite dan v

it

in vain. through a short courte ETECK 1 .

as shall fincere. azon a fair prospec s procuring a

ce them eternally hereby; nor neglect to avea mail

-which is designed to Defecurity of carovinz 2 rood is

ure, they endeavour to shall be neglect to take:

realed in his word, and om al impurity, and

uake them capable of eterut blessed state of

heaven. all those who la ments of a devoutand pious di

n do generally make for the wickpecially kne

weir lives is this, That it That it is in wer to liveup to such a state every man's .., as the law of God obligeth power to

take the nethem too weak, and their na- cessary care • strong, for their ever being in of his soul. more affistance from God, to live strict conversion is the work of God, and can y a man's self, and therefore till God ft pon them, with an irresistible power o

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Persuasives

the loul.

From the nature of

The continuance of happiness is the most satisfying character of it; and the eternity of misery the most bitter ingredient thereof. It is impossible to be perfectly happy with the prospect of an end before one. Thisconsideration would magnify inferior delights, to think that we should never be deprived of them : and light afflictions, with eternity written upon them, could not be borne: what then shall we think of perfect happiness and complete misery, both of the highest kind, and both eternal, and in one of which mankind must live for ever? Oh! then let us apply to ourselves the force and evidence of that question, What is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or, what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Therefore

IV. As the portion of the body at the last day to the care of must follow the condition of the soul, itis our grea

test interest to consider the present state of human nature, and the means by which alone it is possible for

us to be made happy. Man was made holy and

upright by God; but, having by his voluntary transthe first co- gression, and wilful disobedience, fallen from him,

did presently sink into a corrupt and degenerate, into a miserable and cursed condition, both in respect to this life and to that life which is to come: fo thus being become a sinner, he isnot only deprived of the image of God, but is liable to his justice; and as such, God cannot take pleasure in him; and that man that dies before he is restored to his favour, must be separated from him, and be for ever miserable. And

As man could not recover himself, nor raise himself out of his own ruin; and as no creature was able to do it, the mercy of God pitied our misery, and his wisdom devised this expe. dient to reconcile his mercy and justice, viz. that no man should on account of original sin be eternally miserable, except through his own fault: and his goodness resolved, that the Son of God should undertake this work, and satisfy the offended justice of the Almighty, and repafr the ruined nature of mankind. Thus

God did enter into a new covenant with man, second cove- by way of remedy for what was past and could not be undone, which, as may be fully collected

venant.

from

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nant.

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