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Wall; for the MENE TEKEL fet him SERM. all a trembling. Nor was it all the Gran- XII. deur, Magnificence, or Luxury with which he was surrounded, that could administer any Consolation to a troubled Mind. And indeed what from without can give any San tisfaction when the Mind within is discompos'd ? Many are the Amusements which the World affords, and which the Sense provides us with, to divert the Mind, and cheat it into Pleasure. Many the Devices and Experiments to disarm this inward Tormentor, and rob him of his Strength; but all in vain; there is no entring to bind the strong Man. What was it made Felix tremble but the Terror of Conscience, which the Apostle had awaken’d in him by preaching upon Temperance or Righteoufness, to which he had been a great Stranger, and especially upon the News of a Judgnient to come? And indeed when all the Avenues of Pleasure are stopp'd, and no Relief from without to the Mifery within, how melancholy must be that State! So that well might the wife Man fay, (Prov. xviii. 14.) A -Wounded Spirit who can hear And also

Job (7 ob xxyii. 6.) well knowing how dreadful the Sting of Conscience must be, refolyes that his Heart fall not reproach

Serm. bim. And tho' the bare putting People in XII. mind of their Crimes may not always have

a proper Influence, they may bully it out against such Remembrances as these; yet when a Judgment to come is prefs'd home to them, it seldom fails of making a deep Impression. The Consideration of another Life after this, where the Punishment that is allotted to Evil will be full grown, will awaken those Fears which no other Confim derations could reach. And possibly the Apostle might have talk'd long enough of Righteousness and Temperance, tho'to little Purpose, if he had said nothing of a future Account, an After-Reckoning. But when he mention'd a Judgment to come, then, very likely, it was that Felix trembled. And indeed the Terror of that Day is beyond all Expreslion, when we fail all appear before the Judgment-Seat of Cbrist, to be rewarded or punish'd for the Things done in the Body; when the everlasting Volume shall be display'd, and every individual Sin, which lay concealed from all mortal Eyes, shall appear in its full Magnitude; and still more if we go a little farther, and view the Sinner receiving Sentence of Condemnation, and just ready to depart from the Presence of God for ever, into the


Eternity of Sorrow that was prepar'd from Serm. the Foundation of the World to receive him. XII.. These Things are enough to melt the hardest , Heart, and make the bravest Sinner tremble : Which, by the way, is no small Argument of a future Judgment, since otherwise this Fear, which is plainly implanted in our Nature, would be planted there to no Purpose.

But what tho'after all God has implanted in the Heart of Man a Consciousness of a Punilhment due to Sin, if People will, notwithstanding, refuse to give a proper Attention to it? Now the Folly and Danger of this I come,

Secondly, to consider. This Gunseiousness of Punishment due to Sin I have already thewn to be a gracious Provision to prevent Evil for the future. But if we refuse to give it a due Attention, we frustrate the Design and Intention of it. What will it fignify for Conscience to call, if we will not hear? If it awakes us now and then from the Lethargy of Sin, and we, with the Sluggard in the Proverbs, require a little more Sleep, a little folding of the Hands to Sleep But do we consider the Confequence of those Things? Are we sure that this Conscience, LI


Serm. which we fo often ftifle and suppress, will XH. always remain ? That it will not grow hard

and callous, and become at last insensible ? · And what can be a more melancholy State, than for Evil to increase, and Punishnient haftening to overtake, and all that while no friendly Monitor to give us any Notice that we may avoid it? But let us examine a little into the Bottom of this Condition. Why do we refuse to give a proper Attention to the Calls of Conscience? Will it be faid, Because we can't? Would it not be truer to fay, We won't? : But perhaps it will be faid; We can't do it now, but will certainly do it at some other Time. Very well ; let this be the Cafe. And now to consider this a little more particularly; What Reason can we have, that hinders us from Jaying hold of the first Opportunity, that will not equally hold good at any other Time? The true Question is, Whether it is proper, or a Thing fit to do at all ? If so, then certainly it is very proper to lay hold of the first Opportunity; for 'tis grown into a Proyerb, To leave nothing till to morrow which we can do to-day: And every one will easily grant, that whoever does so, does riot act the Part of a wise Man, but is guilty of great Folly and Absurdity. But



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now there is no Absurdity on the other Side Serm. of the Question. 'Tis no Folly for a Man, XII., to hearken to the Dictates of his Conscience. Nay, this must be allow'd to be right, even by those who propose to do it fome other Time ; for by so doing they don't disallow of the present Time, but only fome Accident or other hinders them. They are for discharging their Conscience, as Felix did St Paul, with a Go thy way for this Time ; when I have a convenient Season I will Send for thee. This may possibly be intended ; but when will this convenient Season come? One Seafon goes, another comes, which is succeeded by another, and another ; but still 'tis not a convenient Season. When is it then, that it will be a convenient Season? When we can sin no longer, or have nothing else to do? We will take it in the most favourable Sense, and suppose it to be the next Opportunity. Very well : But now suppose this opportunity never comes; for 'tis altogether as reasonable to suppose this, as to suppose the contrary. What will be the Consequence then? This is leaving it to Chance to make the best of it. For to leave a Thing to any future Time, is to leave it to all the Confequences that may happen in that Time. L12


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