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temporal advantages are of no value : their acquisition and continuance are uncertain, and their enjoyment painful ; for they are never possessed without solicitude and fear. The happiness of man, whose real wants are soon and easily supplied, “consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
3. It is, indeed, misery to live upon earth ; and the more spiritual a man desires to be, the more bitter does he find the present life ; because he more sensibly feels in himself, and more clearly discerns in others, the depths of human corruption. To eat and drink, to wake and sleep, tá labour and to rest, and to be subject to all other necessities of fallen nature; must needs be a life of affliction and misery to the res generate man, who longs “ to be dissolved,” and to be free from sin and the occasions of sin.
4. Under a sense of the oppression and trouble which the internal man feels from bodily wants and pains, the Royal Prophet, so far as it was possible to be freed from them, devoutly prays,
* From my necessities deliver me, O LORD!!" Miserable, however, are all who have not this sense of the corruption and mise ry of their present life; and much more miserable those that are in love with it: for there are some whose attachment to it is so exceedingly strong, that though by their own labour and the bounty of others they are scarcely supplied with common necessaries, yet if it was possible for them to live here for ages, they would not spend a single thought on the Kingdom of God. O infatuated and faithless hearts, that are so deeply sunk in earth, as to feel no desire for any enjoyments but those that are carnal ! But wretched creatures ! they will in the end bitterly experience, how vain and worthless that is on which they have
6 set their affection.". The saints of God, and all the devoted friends and followers of CHRIST, regarded pot the things that gratified the appetites of the fleshy for those that were the objects of popular esteem and pursuit ; but their hope and desire panted after the purity and glory of the angelic kingdom: their whole soul was continually elevated to the eternal and invisible enjoyments of Heaven, that by the continual influence of what was visible and temporal, it might not be enslaved to the enjoyments of earth. ! 5. Dear brother! cast not away the hope of attaining to these spiritual enjoyments; time and opportunity for this are in much mercy still allowed thee: why, then, wilt thou defer thy good purpose from day to day? Arise, this moment, from the deadly sleep of sin, and say, Now is the time of action, now is the day of battle, now the season of amendment,“ the accepted time, the day of salvation."
6. The hour of distress is the hour of victory. Thou must pass through fire and water, before thou canst come to refreshment and rest. Unless thou dost violence to thyself, thou wilt never subdue sin. While we carry about us this corruptible body, we cannot be free from the assaults of sin, nor live without weariness and sorrow.
We desire, indeed, to be at rest from all misery ; but as, by sin, we lost our innocence, so, with our innocence, we lost our true happiness. It is, therefore, necessary to hold fast our patience, and wait the appointed time of God's mercy, till this iniquity, and the calamities of which it is the cause, “ shall be overpast, and mortality be swallowed up of life."
7. How great is human frailty, forever prone to evil! To-day we confess our sins, and to-morrow
commit the same sins again': this hour we resolve to be vigilant, and the next act as if we had never resol ved at all. What reason, therefore, have such. cor. rupt and unstable creatures to be continually humble, and to reject every vain opinion of their own strength and goodness!
8. That may be soon lost through négligence, which after much labour we have at length scarcely attained through grace : and what will become of us in the eve of life, if we grow cool and languid in the morning? Wo be to us, if we thus turn aside to repose and ease, as if all were peace and security; when as yet there does not appear a single footstep of true holiness in all our conduct !
9. We have still need, like young novitiates, of being again instructed, and, by severe discipline, form. ed a second time to holiness ; if peradventure any hope be left of future amendment; and a more sure adi vancement towards the perfection of the spiritual life.
OF THE MEDITATION OF DEATH. 1. THE end of thy present life will speedily come: consider, therefore, in what degree of preparation thou stándest for that which will succeed. To-day man is, to-morrow he is not seen'; and when he is once removed from the sight of others, he soon pass* eth from their remembrance. O the hardness and insensibility of the human heart, that thinks only on present enjoyments, and wholly disregards the prospects of futurity! In every thought, and every action, thou shouldst govern and possess thy spirit so absolutely,
as if thou wast to die to-day; and was thy conscience pure, thou wouldst not fear thy dissolution, however near. It is better to avoid sin, than to shun death. If thou art not prepared for that awful event to-day, how wilt thou be prepared to-morrow? To-morrow is an uncertain day; and how knowest thou, that to-morrow will be thine ?
2. What availeth it to live long, when the improvement of life is so inconsiderable ? Length of days, instead of making us better, often increaseth the weight of sin. Would to God that we could live well, only for one day! Many reckon years from the time of their conversion ; but the account of their attainments in holiness is exceedingly small. There fore, though death be terrible, yet a longer life may be dangerous. Blessed is the man, who continually anticipates the hour of his death, and keeps himself in continual preparation for its approach !
3. If thou hast ever seen another die, let not the impression of that most interesting sight be effaced from thy heart; but remember, that through the same vale of darkness thou also must pass from this state of existence to the next. When it is morning, think that thou mayst not live till the evening : and in the evening, presume not to promise thyself another morning. Be, therefore, always ready ; and so live, that death may not find thee confounded at its summons. Many die suddenly and unexpectedly; " for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.” And when that last hour is come to thee, thou wilt begin to think differently of thy past life, and be inexpressibly grieved for thy remissness and inconsideration.
4. How wise and happy is the man, who continually endeavours to be as holy in the day of life, as he
wishes to be found in the hour of death! And a perfect contempt of the world, an ardent desire of improvement in holiness, the love of discipline, the labour of penitence, cheerful obedience, self-denial, and the patient enduring of any affliction for the sake of CHRIST, will contribute to raise a pleasing confidence of dying well.
5. While thy mind is invigorated by the health of thy body, thou wilt be able to do much towards thy purification ; but when it is oppressed and debilitated by sickness, I know not what thou canst do. Few spirits are made better by the pain and languor of sickness ; as few great pilgrims become eminent saints.
6. Let not the example of thy friends and relations, nor any confidence in the superiority of their wisdom, influence thee to defer the care of thy salvation to a future time ; for all men, even thy friends and relations, will forget thee much sooner than thou supposest. It is better to provide oil for thy lamp” now, before it is wanted, than to depend upon receiving it from others, “ when the bridegroom cometh :" 'for if thou art not careful of thyself now, who can be careful of thee hereafter, when time and opportunity are forever lost? This instant, Now, is exceedingly precious : now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” How deplorable, therefore, is it, not to improve this invaluable moment, in which we may lay hold on eternal life! A time will come, when thou shalt wish for one day, nay one hour, to repent in; and who can tell, whether thou wilt be able to obtain it?
7. Awake then, , dearest brother, and behold from what inconceivable danger thou mayst now deliver