Sidor som bilder


fome Nights, for Months of Vanity, and Years of Sorrow? Is it not to sell the most valuable Blessing of a Sound and Healthful, for à Difeafed and Rotten Constitution, to give away the Calm and Refreshing Consolations of our Virtue, for a brutish and tormenting Sensuality? Which expires and dies in the Womb that conceived it, which leaves behind it nothing but the long Remembrance of an abused Nature, and a wounded Spirit. Belieye it, whatever present Relish there be in Sin, it will afterwards' fting as doth a Serpent. Expect to feel the Perturbation and Terror of your Thoughts; the fmart Lashes and Gripes of your Consciences, which are nothing else but the Prologues to the Day of Vengeance, and v the Anticipations of the Righteous Judgment of God. Furtlrer,

2. He pretends moreover. That God hath put such Affe&tions and Desires in Men, as necessarily incline them to Sin; that wben they act according to those Desires, they a& moff agreeably to Naturë.

This is falle: 'Tis to reproach the Dignity of Human Nature, and to lampoon the Rational Creation of God. Man is indeed a Compound Creature, he consists of Body and Soul, Flesh and Spirit, Sense and Reason. Now the Mind or Spirit is that which is properly his Nature, and the distinguishing Character of hiss Kind, and to that, Sin is the most unnatural and destructive Thing in the World ; whenever he commits it, he affronts his Reason, and degrades himself into a Beast. The



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I The Short of the Case is this. We do in

deed consist of Flesh and Spirit ; and be twixt these there is a continual struggle and conflict ; now in the Victory of either of these, Virtue or Vice, our Reward or Punishment is placed respectively. If by the constant Exer

and Repentance we keep under our Bodies, and bring them into Subjection, then do we discharge our Duty, and approve our felves to God: But if we apparently Şide with our Lufts, and pamper the Corrupted Inclinations of our Flesh; then do we lose our Innocence, and forfeit our Re ward. Had we no Paffions to subdue no Appetites to deny, no Lufts to contend with, · Virtue would not be half fo Rewardable ;

Eternal Life would not be our Option, but our Destiny. In much Wisdom therefore, hath God made these the Trials of our Faith, and the Occasions of our Piety. 'He hath left us in the Hands of our own Council; put it to our Choice, whether we will exercise fome Ahort Penances and Self-denials upon our selves, and for these be everlastingly. happy, or elle enjoy the Pleasures of Sin for a Season, and for them be condemned to a Black and Mifere rable Eternity. So that the Confideration of Human Nature, with all its Defects and Imperfe&ions, is so far from being an Argument to Sin, that it is indeed, one of the Arongest Motives to Holiness and Virtue. But,

Secondly, Another of his Impostures, is, by pleading the Validity and Sufficiency of a


Late, or Death-bed Repentance; when in all probability they will be better disposed, do it more seriously and more effectually,

For supposing the Neceffty of it, yet to every Thing there is a Season and a Time for every Purpose under Heaven. A Time to Weep, and a Time to Laugh ; a Time to be Born, and a Time to Die. Surely Old Age, and the convenient Recelles, and with Dramos ings from the World which that affords ; when Grey-Hairs are bere and tbere upon us ; when Infirmities and Aches, and the sensible Decays of Nature admonish us that Death and the Grave wait for it. These are much fitter Seasons for Repentance, than the a&tive and busy Part of our Life, when the Pleasures and Occasions of the World, divert our Thoughts, and engrofs our Time.

1. am sensible that this is a very common and trite Subject; yet being this is one of the most fatal Cheats of the Devil; and I believe (would Sinners speak the naked Truth) that chiefly which gives them Ertouragement and Security in their Sins, I will crave leave, very briefly, to suggest a few Things to your Thoughts. And

1. First, I would ask any Man that gives himself the Liberty to commit any present Sin upon the Prefumption of a future Repentance; what Ground he has for thảt. Presumption ? Has he any good. Assurance against sudden Death ? May he not be instantly deprived of his Reason and Senfes, and Spech by a Palle,



[ocr errors][merged small]

or an Appoplexy? May not the Effects of his
Luft, or his Intemperance choak him in the
Night? May he not drowze away in his uns
chaft Embraces; or be carried off by the
Violence of a drunken Frenzy ? If these Things
be incident to Mankind ; if there have been Ex-
amples of them ; if no Man can say, this shall
not be his own Case ; certainly it is Folly
and Madness, to venture the greatest Interest
to the World upon such Presumptions and Un-
certainties. But,

2. To put the best of the Case: Suppose
God visits us with a Cronical and lingring Di-
stemper ; and gives us Time, and Leisure, and
fair Warning: What if we will not take that
Warning; what if we will say, this Sickness
is not unto Death ; and still flatter our selves
with vain and delufory hopes of Life?
In this case, though Death falutes us some-
what more civilly, and makes towards us by
flow and gradual Advances, yet the Blow,
when it comes may be as Fatal as in the former.
3. Ler it be confidered, That tho we

foresee, and apprehend our Danger ; tho' we
are convinced that our Disease is Mortal, and
defies all the Methods of Art, and Physical Pre-
scriptions ; yet are we sure we shall then be un-
der a fit Disposition to repert? Repentance and
the Divine Grace, are no more in our Power
than our Lives. Except the Spirit of God first
moves and softens our Hearts, we shall find out
felves under invincible Difficulties and Averfi-

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


ons. And methinks, the Acquaintance and Fa. miliarity we have contracted with naughty Habits , the Deceitfulness, and Impenitence of our Hearts ; the Confusion and Astonishment of our Thoughts; the Deliquium and Faultering of our Spirits ; the Violence and Torment of Bodily Pains, render that but a very indifferent, and improper Season for a searching Repentance, And therefore, farther, 4·

The Nature of Repentance it self ought to be considered in this Matter. Indeed, were Repentance no more than a bare Cessation from actual Sin, I confess Old-Age, or the Time of Sickness, with the Infirmities and Terrors of Both, are the fittest Seafons in the World for it. Because then we have no Inclinations to Sin, the Powers of our Nature are disabled; our Lufts are languid and feeble; Hell lies open to our view; and the Apprehensions of Judgment are strong and pressing upon our Minds. But alas ! Repentance amounts to much more than this comes to, viz. To a thorough Search and Examination of our Lives; a real Love of God and Goodness; a perfect Hatred and Abhorrence of Sin ; a&ual Reformation, and some good Proofs of the Sincerity

of our Converfion. From these Confiderations, I presume, it appears how vain and false the Plea of Satan is, from the Validity and Sufficiency of a Late or Death-Bed Repentance. And so I have done with what I

proposed from these Words. It only remains now that I shut up the whole Discourse with a very Short and plain Application,



« FöregåendeFortsätt »