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do you hear of People snatched away by sud den Death? This inay be your own Case be therefore always prepared. It is the greater Artifice of the Devil to persuade you, that it is Time enough to be pious: But God has made the Hour of Death uncertain, that you may be ready whenever he summons you out of this Life. When once you are laid in your Grave, there is no Repentance: As Death receives you, so Judgment will find you.
Think how dismal will be that Day, when bold profligate Sinners shall be separated from the Godly, and for ever banished from the Sight and Presence of God; when they shall be abandoned to the Fury of Devils to all Eternity.
On the other Side, lift up your Eyes by Faith, and you will see, that they who have done well, have the Honour of associating with Patriarchs and Prophets, of conversing with Saints and Martyrs, and all their dear Friends and Relations departed hence in the Lord.
It is the Design of this little Book, to awaken the Unthinking into Consideration; to stir up all Parents and Guardians, and Tutors, to take Care of all such as are committed to their Charge. If by your Negligence, bad Example, or ill Conduct, the Souls of your Children, or Servants, shall perish God will severely reckon with you another Day; and may justly require their Blood at your Hands This Thought should make all careless Governors tremble, who use few or no Endeavours to instruct and reform their Children, Relations, or Servants;
but out of a cruel Fondness gratify their Humours, and suffer them without Correction to go on in Lying, Cursing, and Railing, till at last they grow bold in Wickedness. Too many have no higher Aims in the Education of their Children, than barely to teach them what will qualify them for Trades and Employments, or to bring them up in Vanity and Pride. Indeed, were Men designed only for this Life, it were enough that they were educated according to the Maxims of this World; but whereas there is a Life after this, we should be trained up in the Practice of such Things, as will qualify us for the Enjoyment of a future happy State.
As to the Religion of Christ, which we profess, it is built on such firm Principles, that it must convince all reasonable and unprejudiced Men. For, that Christ came down from Heaven to reveal God's Will to Mankind; that to gain Belief to his Doctrine, he wrought great, nay, astonishing Miracles; foretold future Events; that he rose from the Dead, and was seen by many, who died Martyrs to the Truth of what they asserted: All these Things the most bitter Enemies of Christianity cannot deny. If you are not convinced by all this, I cannot see how it is possible to prove any one Matter of Fact in the whole World. To this may be added the incredible Progress of Christ's Religion through all Obstructions, without Force of Arms, or Countenance of the Civil Power. And how amazing is it, that a Doctrine so contrary to Flesh and Blood, should be propagated by a Company of plain and illiterate Men, who
had neither Power to force, nor Eloquence to persuade Men to embrace it? The most barbarous and sinful People were brought to profess the Gospel, maugre all the Opposition that the World, the Flesh, and the Devil could make against it.
Consider the Force of these few Arguments, and you will be satisfied, that Christ alone is the Way to Life. And I hope the following Rules will guide you in the Way to Salvation. To encourage you to set about this pious Work immediately, I affirm that the Performance will be very easy; for you may lift up your Thoughts, and converse with Heaven, even while you are holding the Plough.
The learning a little at all Times, of these Ejaculations and Prayers, will be no hard Task, and the daily Use of them will prove a delightful and edifying Work. The Devil and impudent Sinners persuade you, that it is need less to be upon your Guard; or that evil Habits may be conquered without much Troue ble but never mind that lying Spirit, nor lying Sinners; avoid their Suggestions, as you would the Plague. Be strong, and of good Courage, and firmly resolve, with God's Help, to do your Duty. If you meet with Difficulties at first, do not be discouraged, but hold on in your Christian Profession, without wavering;: religious Habits, and the Grace of God, will make the Paths of Duty easy and pleasant. Set before you the good Examples of the Saints of God. The Saints, once Men of like Passions and Infirmities with yourselves, are now
in Bliss and Happiness; yet they once, like you, lived in this Vale of Sin and Tears. They strove with the same Difficulties that you do. God who enabled them to overcome, will also strengthen you, enabling you to be more than Conquerors, through the Captain of our Salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ.
May that God, who commanded Light to spring out of Darkness, and who can also bring Knowledge out of Ignorance, send forth his Grace with all its divine Influences into your Hearts, that you may with as ardent Desires labour for unfading Treasures in Heaven, as you do for perishing Treasures upon Earth; then will your Conversation be in Heaven, and no Fears of Death make you afraid. And when the Time of your Departure out of this troublesome World is come, you may die with comfortable Hopes, that you will be received by the Saviour of Mankind, with Well done good and faithful Servant, come, after long Toils and many Dangers, enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord: a Joy which no Man taketh from thee. That you may so act, and be at last so blessed, God of his infinite Mercy grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.