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being full of light, clear and distinct in knowledge of truth, free from error and ignorance; the will steadily inclined to good, ready to comply with God's will, free from all perverseness and weakness; our affections set in right order and frame, with constant regularity tending to that which is truly good, and taking full delight therein: wherein we shall enjoy 1 John iii. 2. the blissful presence and sight of God, smiling in love and favour upon us, of our gracious Redeemer, of the holy angels, of the just made perfect; whose company and conversation how unconceivably sweet and delightful must it be! wherein nothing adverse or troublesome can befall us; no unpleasant or offensive object present itself to us; no want, or need of any thing; no care, or fear, or suspicion; no labour
or toil, no sorrow or pain, no regret or distaste, no Rev. iii. 4. stir or contention, no listlessness or satiety; God will wipe, as it is in the Apocalypse, every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, nor sorrow, nor clamour, (or complaint,) nor pain any more in fine, a state surpassing all words to express it, all thoughts to conceive it, of which the highest splendours and choicest pleasures here are but obscure shadows, (do yield but faint and imperfect re1 Cor. ii. 9. semblances ;) comparable to which no eye hath seen,
no ear hath heard, nor hath it ascended into any Isa. Ixiv. 4. heart to conceive the like, (as St. Paul out of the prophet Isaiah tells us ;) the firm belief, I say, and careful consideration of the certainty, by a pious and holy life, of acquiring right unto and possession of such a state, must needs be the greatest excitement possible thereto; as must the loss and falling short thereof be of mighty efficacy to withdraw us from
impiety as on this hand, so on the other hand, the being persuaded, that by neglecting our duty, and transgressing God's law, we shall certainly incur intolerable pains and miseries, without ease or respite, without hope or remedy, without any end; that we shall for ever not only be secluded from God's presence and favour, be deprived of all rest, comfort, and joy; but detruded into utmost wretchedness; a state more dark and dismal, more forlorn and disconsolate, than we can imagine; which not the sharpest pain of body, not the bitterest anxiety of mind, any of us ever felt, can in any measure represent; wherein our bodies shall be afflicted continually with a sulphureous flame, not scorching the skin only, but piercing the inmost sinews; our souls incessantly bit and gnawed upon by a worm, (the worm of bitter remorse for our wretched perverseness and folly; of horrid despair ever to get out of this sad estate;) under which vexations unexpressible, always enduring pangs of death, always dying, we shall never die this persuasion, I say, must needs most effectually deter us from those courses of impiety, which certainly lead to so miserable a condition. If it cannot, what can do it? We must, beyond all impression that any reason can make upon us, be irrecoverably stupid or obstinate; infinitely careless of our own good, bent to our ruin. But these things the time will not permit me further to dilate upon; and I did formerly (in treating upon our Saviour's coming to judgment) somewhat largely press considerations of this nature. I shall only therefore conclude with a prayer to Almighty God, that, according to his infinite mercy, he, by his gracious assist
ance leading us in the ways of piety and obedience, would bring us into everlasting life and happiness; withdrawing us from impiety and iniquity, would deliver us from eternal death and misery: to whom be all praise and glory for ever. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER.
AMONG all the duties prescribed to us by our religion, the rendering due worship to God is in nature and for consequence the principal; God thereby being most directly honoured and served, we from it immediately deriving most ample and high benefits; to the performance of which duty we are furnished with excellent direction and assistance from that Prayer, which our Lord (at several times and upon several occasions) dictated, and recommended to his disciples, both as a pattern, according to which they should regulate their devotions, (Pray thus, or Matt. vi. 9. in this manner, saith he in St. Matthew,) and as a form, in which they should express them; (When Luke xi. 2. you pray, say; that is, say this, or in these words; so he enjoins them in St. Luke:) a unto it therefore we should carefully attend, as to our best rule; and we should frequently use it as our best matter of devotion to the well performing of both which duties, it is requisite that we should distinctly understand
a Quamlibet alia verba dicamus, quæ affectus orantis vel præcedendo format ut clareat, vel consequendo attendit ut crescat, nihil aliud dicimus, quam quod in ista Dominica Oratione positum est, si recte et congruenter oramus. Aug. Epist. 121. Vide illum.
the particulars contained therein; in order to which purpose we shall endeavour to explain them: but first let us premise a few words in general about prayer.
1 Tim. ii. 1. Prayer, in its latitude of acceptation, doth com—δεήσεις, Texa, prehend all devotion, or worship immediately adis dressed unto Almighty God; consisting of praise, which we render to God in regard to his most excellent perfections and glorious works; of submissive gratulation, declaring our satisfaction in all the dispensations of his most wise and just providence; of thanksgiving, for the numberless great benefits we have received from him; of acknowledging our total dependence on him, and our subjection to him: of professing faith in him, and vowing service to him; of confessing the sins we have committed against him, with the guilt and aggravation of them; of deprecating the wrath and punishment due to us for our offences; of petition for all things needful and convenient for us; of intercession for others, whose good we according to duty or charity are concerned to desire and promote; prayer, I say, (although, according to its most restrained sense, it only doth signify one of these particulars, namely, the petition of Où μ- what is needful or expedient for us, yet,) in its larger χῆς ἐστι διSaraia acception, as it commonly is used, it doth comprise ἐκεῖνα τὰ them all and so we may well take it here; this form, although so very brief, being with so admirable dayyia. wisdom contrived, as without straining the words Chrys tom. v. p. 185. beyond their natural importance, we may, applying a moderate attention, discern them all, as to their main substance, couched therein; so that we may Evangelii indeed reasonably regard this prayer as a complete Tert. de directory, and a full exercise of all our devotion to
Orat. i. 9.