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ALMIGHTY GOD, the glorious Maker of Heaven and Earth, hath given to Man an immortal Soul; Made him Lord over all his Creatures here below, and little inferior to the blessed Angels: All this hath infinite Goodness done; not for any Merit in Man, but out of his exceeding rich Mercies towards us in Christ. What Returns, O my Soul, have I made for this? Have I well considered the End of my Being, and faithfully complied with the gracious Ways of Providence in order to be eternally happy? Ah! wretched Man that I am! I have forgotten the God that made me, and have followed too much the Devices and Desires of my own Heart, which, alas! are unprofitable and vain; and which, in Time, will bring Sorrow and Vexation of Spirit. My chief Affair



in this World, I well know, is to serve my God and save my Soul. But alas! how have I been lost in Flesh and Sense; how sottishly deluded with the Vanities of Life, not having a due Regard for a future endless State! I cannot accuse myself of Sloth in my worldly Business. Here I take Pains enough, rise early, and late go to sleep, and eat the Bread of Care and Sorrow; and why all this Labour after the Meat that perisheth? In the Business of an earthly Purchase, what searching is there of Titles, what employing of learned Counsel, what Care in safely laying up of Deeds and Writings! O the senseless Stupidity of Mankind in Things relating to the Soul! A Kingdom, the noblest of all, is offered to us by Jesus Christ; but where is our Zeal and Diligence to obtain it ?

Blessed God, how easy and how sweet are thy Commands! Half those Pains devoutly taken for my own true Happiness, would greatly set me forward in my Way to Heaven. If all would think of Religion in Time, and consider the Happiness that follows on early Piety, what Peace would this bring to themselves, what Joy to God and Christ, to Angels and good Men! To see a sincere Christian sur


rounded by Temptation on every Side, bravely holding out against the most viclent Assaults; and in the Flower of his Age, though invited by smiling Pleasure, tempted by the Devil, and allured by the bewitching Vanities of this Life, to stop his Ears against all these Charms, and cleave steadfastly unto God: nay, to be enabled to look down with Scorn on these Offers and say, Let those admire and follow after Vanities, who know no better; let them be drawn aside by frothy Pleasures, who are ignorant of the solid Pleasures of Religion; as for me and my House, we will serve the Lord. This is a glorious Sight! and though this Man may seem, in the Eyes of the Foolish, dead to himself, and all the World; yet he shall in the last Day shine forth in the Kingdom of Glory, and rest with God in immortal Peace.

A religious Course of Life, it is owned, may bring upon the Pious the Calumnies of Men, who, in Contempt, will call them singular and precise: should this be your Case, be not discouraged; set a due Value upon the Testimony of your own Conscience, and the righteous Approbation of God, the Searcher of Hearts, who will not fail to commend and reward what bold Sinners condemn.

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condemn. Call all the Pleasures of the World before thee: Ask the forbidden Things, if they deserve thy Love more than thy Maker doth; if they will be more beneficial to thee than thy Redeemer; if they can speak Comfort to thee, at the Hour of Death, or plead thy Cause at the Day of Judgment? O no! It is Religion alone that will yield you Advantage and true Delight. You may have Wit and Sense, Credit and Honour, a beautiful House and a large Farm; but what will become of all these Attainments and Accommodations? You must soon die and be judged: then the great Point upon which the Enquiry at the last Day will turn, will not be how great, how rich, how esteemed you was, but how pious and devout you have been. Oh then, be as diligent to adorn your Mind with Christian Graces and Virtues, as you are to raise an Estate: then you will have a Recompence which will never, never leave you. Could

you see the miserable State of condemned Souls in Hell, or behold them weeping and gnashing their Teeth in the Midst of their Torments, surely you would not follow them in their Sins, which brought them to so great Miseries. One Hour's Pain in those Regions of Darkness and


Despair will be far more intolerable than an Age of Sufferings in this World. One Moment's Misery in Hell is more to be dreaded than all the Sorrows and Severities of a long Repentance, or the Difficulties which accompany sorrowing for your past Transgressions, and a Change of Life. I am surprised with Amazement, that Creatures endued with Reason, do not oftener think on the dreadful Circumstances of those Torments. But they will not suffer the Thoughts of Hell to dwell upon their Minds, lest they should be a Check to their darling Pleasures. What reasonable Man would sleep in Sin one Night, when that Night may be his last? and if I die with unrepented Guilt upon my Soul, fearful will be my Doom. I shall have a Judge, whose Knowledge I cannot deceive, whose Justice I cannot bribe, whose Indignation I cannot appease, whose Sentence I cannot alter. O what will the impenitent Sinner do in the awful Day of Judgment? All Things will cry for Vengeance round about him, and nothing will give him the least Consolation. Above, he will see a Judge full of Wrath at his Crimes; below, Hell opening its Mouth ready to receive him; and wicked Spirits will

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