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SERM. The way that every wife Man takes in

XII. his Affairs, is to make a Provision against ma

Accidents. He manages his Affairs in such
a manner as to expect such things. 'Tis
true, when this Opportunity comes, a Man
may possibly lay hold of it, and improve it
to his Advantage : I say, he may poslibly
do it ; but there is only à bare Possibility
of it: For he can't be sure that what hin-
ders him now will not do so then too. Yet,
besides all this, as there is but a Possibility
'neither whether this Opportunity may ever
come or no, (for what may be may not be
too) 'tis very absurd to leave it to that, e-
specially when on the other hand he may
have a Certainty. Besides, what do we
get by this Delay ? We get Time to sin in-
deed : But is not this adding still to the Ac-
count, and making the Sum larger ? We
find it so in other things : The longer we
defer a Work, the more it grows upon our
Hands, and consequently the less able fhall
we be to accomplish it : For that which at
first might be moy'd with one Finger, will,
when the Weight is increas'd, require the
Strength of the whole Body. But there
are too many that think it is time enough
to think of these Things when they are on
their Death-Bed, that 'tis time enough to

amend

amend their Lives when they are going to SERM. È part with them, and relinquish their Sins XI.

when they can keep them no longer. But what! is this a convenient Season ? Will

a Day or a Week be time enough for a - Work of thirty, forty, fifty or fixty Years?

We may make Resolutions indeed, and pro

mise what we will do, but whether we shall E certainly perform or not, will require Time T to shew; which in this Cafe is not to be

had, and God only knows whether we fhould perform them if it was. 'Tis to be

fear’d, it is more than probable, that ProE mises made in time of Danger or Extremity,

by Fear, will be but little regarded when that Fear and that Danger that caus'd them are remoy'd. Take away the Cause, and the Effect ceases of course. For if you fuppose no Sense of Fear or Danger, or, which is the same, that these have not their proper Influence upon the Mind, you can't well suppose any Reformation. And that this might be the Case of a Person fuppos'd to be on a Death-Bed, should he recover, is not impossible, because it certainly has been. How many do we meet with in the World, of whom one might truly say this is their Case! Who have been in the same Danger, and made the same Promises, and

what

Serm. what has been extorted from them by SickXII. nefs, has been forgot in Health! I don't

say that this is always so. But, however, there can be no sufficient Foundation for Dependence or Trust in such a Case.

Upon the whole then : If there is such a thing as a Punishment due to Sin, and if the Conscience informs us of this, let us give it a proper Attention. We allow the Gratification of our Desires, our Pleasures and Amusements their Season; let not then the Happiness and Welfare of another World be the only Thing that shall be depriv'd of a convenient Seafon. Let us consider, that if our Repentance reaches no further than the Design and Intention, if it is not to be set about at some certain Time in this Life, there is no doing it any where else; there is no Repentance in the Grave, whither we are going. People of narrow Minds, who confine their Views within this Circle of things here below, may possibly think lightly of these Things, who know no other Pleasures but those of Sense, nor any other Torments but the short momentary ones of this Life. But if we carry our Views beyond the present State of things, and look into Futurity, however these Things appear in this Life, there they must have an

· other

other Afpect. When we consider Pleasure SERM. and Pain, not-as precarious and momentary, XII. but certain and eternal ; whoever considers these things rightly, will give them their due Weight. And indeed People cannot want Motives to this; the Scripture abounds with a Multitude of Passages, that represent these Things in a true Light, and with a Multitude of Arguments and Persuasions to a right Conscience. It constantly teaches us that Vice is odious, paints the Deformity of it, and that it is attended with a certain Degree of Punishment here, but will be punish'd eternally in another State ; that Virtue is attended here with a certain Degree of Happiness, and an Eternity of it hereafter, and Arguments drawn from the Nature of these things, from the Happiness on one side, and the Torments on the other. And can we now, after all, think that a few momentary Pleasures bear any Propor· tion to the Pleasures that are to have no End ? Is an heaverly Felicity nothing? Is it nothing to see the Face of God, and enjoy him to all Eternity? To have our Hopes and Desires compleated and gratified to the utmost Perfection ? If all this is nothing, is it also nothing to be evermore shut out from the Presence of God, and to live irt

endless

SER:M. endless Tórments, and be for ever tortur’d, · XII. without even the Hopes of any Relief?

How. fhould we then wish to begin again, and have a second Trial! How should we improve those Fragments of Time that now Lie upon our Hands! But, alas ! there is a great Gulph fix'd so that there is no palfing from thence. Now we have it in our Power to prevent these fruitless Wishes, let us prevent the melancholy Reflections upon what we would have done, by doing it. If Happiness and Misery are worthy our Concern, their being eternal does not make it less fo, I suppose. Let our Regard to these Things be proportion's to the Value Importance of them, that, when Time is {wallowed up in Eternity, our Happiness may partake of the same Perfection, and .continue without End. Amen. . ..i

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