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ing upon us, much less ascertain to us this greatest of our outward enjoyments. Again, we often fee the highest honours exchanged for the lowest abasements, and contempt; so the rich man is frequently reduced to poverty, the healthy man laid upon a bed of languishing; and the man who stood in the first rank of dignity, is soon debased to a low degree; whence we may cry out with the preacher, vanity of vanities, and all is vanity, which does not tend to the care of the immortal foul. For,
Is always The hbdy itself, to which alone such comforts
tending to are suited, is ever tending toward the dust, and corruption. wiu soon be stripped of all sensation of all worldly
things, and entirely lose the relish of those things, that once had been most agreeable to it. And yet no man is exempt from this debt; we must all go down to the silent grave, and can carry none of those things along with us; and all their pleasure and ease, if it should happen to last so long, must then have its end. Whereas
III.On the other-hand,that,which serves the interest of our fouls, is most lasting and is never taken from us, whose state hereafter will be determined by our behaviour in thislife; heaven or hell, happiness or misery, will be our final portion, just as death finds Us; as soon as death strikes, we eistate of the ther are in torments or go to paradise; either befoul is deter- come the companions of devils, or the associates of mwed. holy angete,and so remain to all eternity; and there
fore our greatest care should be to avoid the one and obtain the other.
"We are often determined in the affairs of this life by the hope and fear of things to come; as all our pursuits, and most of our actions, are for the fake of something future, and not yet in sight; that is, either to prevent some evil feared, or to obtain some good desired; for, in the beginning of life, people apply themselves to become masters of some profession, or trade, or business, in hopes of a livelihood, or of serviceableness, when they arrive at riper years, tho' they are not sure they (hall ever live to be masters of what they labour after, nor certain of success in the most prudent fteps they can take to accomplish the end of their worldly
expectations, expectations, of which we have far less certainty than of an immortal state; shall it be said, that we shall be less diligent in the care of our fouls, whose affairs are not so uncertain? For, tho' we therein act upon a suture prospect, yet divine promise ascertains us of success in the way of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Wherefore, tho'the benefit is future, that is no reason to abate our zeal in prosecuting it. I have observed, that reason does not prevail to slacken man's endeavours for his worldly gain: how unreasonable then must they be, who have the advantage of a better hope in our aimj sot another life,and neglect the means to attain that happy state? Again, it can be no excuse for a man to say, that he curr.ot comply with that self-denial, mortification, and other christian duties, which are acceptable to God through Je/itsChrijiy and without which the soul languishes, is sick, and his faith is dead: for he cannot be ignorant of that plain rule of wisdom, to decline a present pleasure for one equal to it of longer continuance; or to submit t > a present inconvenience, to prevent one more lasting; or to obtain a more lasting good,tho* there should be no difference in the things themselves, but only in their duration. Thus a wise man will never refuse to go through a short course of physick in an ill habit of body upon a fair prospect of procuring a regular state of health thereby; nor neglect to give a small sum of money in hand, upon security of enjoying a good inheritance in a few years after : and shall he neglect to take proper care of his soul, to cleanse it from all impurity, and to prepare it for the enjoyment of that blessed state of eternal happiness, which is promised to all those, who love God and keep his commandments?""
Especially knowing that the most lasting things why eternal below, bear no proportion to eternal happiness. If de&eablc.* we measure them with eternity, they are as nothing ; and a minute compared with our whole lives is no proportion in comparison of time and eternal duration. Therefore whatever is temporal, is incapable of giving full satisfaction, because it may be taken from us. So when we are upon an inquiry after happiness, we may difcern at first, that earth fays, it is not in me; for, elrery thing here is perishing, and must soon have an end. Thus a 4 The
The continuance of happiness is the most satisfying character of it j and the eternity of misery the most bitter ingredient thereof. It is impossible to be perfectly happy with the prospect of an end before one. Thisconsideration would magnify inferior delights, "to think that we should never be deprived of them: and light afflictions, with eternity written upon them, could not be borne: what then shall we think of perfect happiness and complete misery, both of the highest kind, and both eternal, and in one of which mankind must live for ever? Oh! then let us apply to ourselves the force and evidence of that question,What is aman profited, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own foul? Or, what will a man give in exchange for his foul? Therefore Persuasives ^' As tne portion or" the body at the last day
to the care of must followthe condition of the foul, it is pur. greathe foul tcft interest to consider the present state of hu*6an nature, and the means by which alone it is possible for us to be made happy. Man was nude holy and, nature of uprightbyGod; but, having by his voluntary transthe first co- gression, and wilful disobedience, fallen from him, venant. did presently sink into a corrupt and degenerate, into a miserable and cursed condition, both in respect to this life and to that life which is to come: so thus being become a finner,heisnot only deprived of the image of God, but is liable to his justice j and as such, God cannot take pleasure in him j andthatman that dies before he is restored to his favour, must be separated from him, and be forever miserable. And
As man could not recover himself, nor raise himself out of his own ruin; and as no creature was able to do it, the mercy of God pitied our misery, and his wisdom devised this expedient to reconcile his mercy and justice, viz. that no man should on account of original sin be eternally miserable, except through his own fauit: and his goodness resolved, that the Son of God should undertake this work, and satisfy the offended justice of the Almighty, and repair the ruined nature of mankind. Thus
And of the ^od ^ enter *nt0 a w covenant with man, second cove- by way of remedy, fqp what was past and could, nant: not be undone, whicK, as may be fully collected