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whom pall he fear The Lord is the Serm.
Strength of his Life, of whom then pall XIII.
be be afraid : In all Dangers and Distres-
ses he has a sure Friend to depend upon;
and tho'Storms and Tempests beat on every
Side, yet within all is calm and serene.

A good Man, faith Solomon, fall be fatis-
fied from himself, and tho' the whole World
should conspire against him, yet as long as his
own Heart is not against hini, he has inward
Joy enough to make him a continual Feast,
The pleasant Reflection that arises from a
well-spent Life will support the Mind un-
der all Calumny and Reproach, and defend
us from the Pestilence that walketh in
Darkness, and from the Arrow that flieth
in the Noon-day : For as it is most certain
that no Affluence of Fortune can keep a
Man from being miserable when an enrag'd
Conscience flies in his Face, so it is also as..
certain that no temporal Adversities can de-
prive a Man of those inward, secret, ard .
invisible Supplies of Comfort which are the
Result of a Conscience void of Offence. And
this noble Frame and Temper of Mind, as
it clears and delights us in the various Paths
of Life, so it goes with us also to our Jour :
ney's End, and accompanies us in the very . .
Agonies of Death; it Itands by us at a Time

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when

SERM. when we have most need of it, when Riches XII. and Honour, and all worldly Comforts have

left us, and nothing but Pain and Sickness come in their Room and take Poffeflion; then the Conscience stands forth, and opens a delightful Profpe&t of Happiness to the departing Soul, just fluttering upon the Borders of Eternity.

'Twas this that supported the first Chris ftians under all their Tribulations. Our Rejoicing, says St. Paul, is this, the Testimony of our Consciences, that in Simplicity and godly Sincerity we have had our Conversation in the World: 'Twas this that comforted them under the most grievous Persecutions, and gave them Confidence towards God, because their Hearts condemn'd them not : ?Twas this that made them rejoice when they suffer'd for the Nanie of Christ, when they had Trials of cruel Mockings and Scourgings, yea, moreover of Bonds and Imprisonment, when they were stoned, and fawn asunder, when they were tempted, and flain with the Sword, and were tortur'd, not accepting Deliverance, that they might obtain a better Resurrection. But when This fails us ; when our Hearts reproach us, and our Consciences serve only for wretched Remembrancers of

past

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paft Crimes, as they will always be to one SERM.
whose Conscience is not void of Offence, at XIII,
least in some good measure, both towards God ,
and towards Men, then we shall be forced
to sink under the heavy Burden of Sorrow
that will neceffarily fall upon us; for when
that Conscience, that should help us to bear
the Calamities and Misfortunes of this Life
with stedfast Courage, and a well-grounded
Resolution, is itself troubled and disquieted,
where is the Man that can support himself
under it? When our only Friend, or, at least,
that which alone is capable of being so, is
become our Enemy, and that, which ought
to be our greatest Joy, is itself become our
greatest Torment, who can endure it? Bo-
dily Sickness, and outward Afflictions a
manly Spirit will support us under ; but
when the Mind is cast down, and the Soul
itself is oppress’d, it is not in the Power of
a Man to raise and lift it up. The Spirit of
a Man will suftain his Infirmity, but a
wounded Spirit who can bear. Great must
be the Torment of that Man who is for ever
flying from himself, and whose Crimes are
always staring him in the Face, like the
Hand-writing upon the Wall: And yet such
is, and must be, the Condition of him whose
Thoughts are fad Anticipations of future

Misery,

SERM. Misery, and frightful Presages of what will XII. come hereafter; for his Life is now become

a Burden too heavy for him to bear; and, which is the greatest Misfortune, it is not in the Power of Riches, Honour, or any thing in the World to do him any Service, to silence the Clamours of Conscience, or relieve a distracted Mind : And when he comes to depart this Life, and launch out into another World, to fill up the Measure of his Sufferings, Who can tell what Grief he must endure? what Pain? what Sorrow? what Reluctance ? And yet he is equally frighted at the Thoughts of Life ; he is afraid to live, and afraid to die ;, a whole Eternity of Sorrow lies before him, behind him is the ghastly Visage of Despair, and fad Remorse on either Side. In short, he dies in Distraction, and goes headlong into another World to receive the Remainder of that Punishment which he felt in this. Hag ving shewn what it is to have a Conscience void of Offence towards God and towards Men, and the Happiness that results from it, and the Misery that attends the Want of it, I come now,

Thirdly, To lay down some Rules and Dire&tions in order to our obtaining such a

Conscience,

Conscience. And here these two Things SERM.
are most natural to be obferv'd. 1st, To XIIL.
endeavour all we can to understand our Duty C
right; and, 2dly, To practise it.

· First, then, We should endeavour to un
derstand our Duty right; for he that does
not endeavour to inform himself aright in
the Nature and Extent of his Duty, muft
answer for all the Consequences of a nif-
guided Judgment. A Man, indeed, is ob-

liged not to act contrary to his Confcience, qe because that would be to act against the

Light and Conviction of his own Mind,
which being the Rule of his Actions, and

the only Guide he has to walk by, it would 5,be very sinful not to do it : But then it Hy will by no means follow from hence, that i he is not oblig'd to get what Knowledge he le can of his Duty, and to take care that his

Conscience be rightly inform’d; for as a * Man is guilty of Sin, if he acts contrary to Ex his Conscience, so is he equally guilty by : fie acting according to it, if he refuses to make

use of the Means of Information : Not that a Man is guilty of Sin by acting according to his erroneous Conscience, merely as erroneous, for he has no other Rule to act by; but because he has brought himself under a

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