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to be, that we be not surprised, and found unready to SERM. yield a good account: how observant in all reason should XXXIII. we be of our Lord's admonition in the Gospel; Watch, for ye do not know the day, nor the hour, when the Son of man cometh : how affected should we be with that warning, or menace, in the Revelation; If thou dost not watch, I fall come upon thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know when I come upon thee! It may be, as we see intimated, the next day, for all we can know, or the next hour, when death feizing on us fhall carry us into that prison or place of durance, where we shall be detained until the time of our being presented at the bar; and what an unexpressible misery then will it be, to be found unprepared for the trial, and unable to render a good account ! If we be quite alleep, in a total neglect of our duty; or if we be drowsy, in a careless and fluggish performance thereof; or if our senses rest amused upon other cares and businesses impertinent to this account; in what an extreme danger do we abide ! as our Saviour again doth warn, advising thus; Take heed to yourselves, left at any time your hearts be over- Luke xxi. charged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this i 'Theff. v. life, and so that day come upon you unawares. You know 3. what the fortune was of the foolish Virgins, whose lamps Matt. {X¥. were gone out for want of oil; that is, whose souls were $. deftitute of true goodness, and whose lives consequently did not shine with good works; how, being surprised in that cafe by the Bridegroom's coming, they were unfit to meet him, they were excluded from his favour, they were rejected with an, I know you not. The like fate you know Matt. xxiv. of that bad servant, who saying in his heart, My Lord de- luke xii. layeth to come, (that is, not believing, or not confidering 45. his state in relation to the future judgment,) began to beut his fellow fervants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; (that is, did live in the practice of injustice, uncharitableness; and intemperance ;) his fate shall be this; The Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and Mall cut hîm afunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites : the same, if we do live in grofs neglect, or in heinous vio


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SERM. lation of our duty, will be our doom. Let therefore (as XXXIII. our Lord again doth enjoin and inculcate) our loins be Luke xii. girded about, and our lamps burning; and we ourselves like 35, 36. men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the

wedding; that when he cometh, we may open unto him im1 Pet. i. 13. mediately. Let us, as St. Peter exhortetb, gird up the

loins of our mind, be fober, and hope to the end for the grace that (in case of our faithful and constant obedience)

Mall be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Chrift. 2 Pet. iii. In fine, considering these things, what manner of perfons

then ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of our Lord ? as that great Apostle doth again admonish and argue.

2. The consideration of this point is the most effectual means poflible to beget and preserve fincerity in us; difposing us to live simply, without diffimulation or deceit, speaking as we think, doing what we profess, performing what we promise, being as we seem; for, seeing our hearts must be thoroughly searched and fifted; fince our most retired thoughts must be disclosed; since our most secret designs and our desires must come to light, and be exposed to the public view of angels and men; since the day approacheth, when (all vizards being taken off, all varnish of pretence being wiped away) every person shall appear stark naked in his own true shape and colours; every thing shall seem what it really is, divested of false glosses, what profit can it be now to dissemble, to conceal, or to disguise our thoughts or doings ? To what purpose doth it serve to palliate our ambitious or covetous intents with specious garbs of zeal or conscience? What comfort can we find in driving on our self-interests, or fatisfying our private resentments, in disturbing the peace of mankind, or fomenting stirs and factions in the world under such masks? What a folly is it to delude men with false appearances, or rather by them to abuse themselves; seeing they soon will be rightly informed, and we grievously disgraced for it? What other satisfa&tion indeed can we have, than in real goodness and pure integrity in heart and life; whereby we, may now approve our consciences

unto God, and shall afterward by his unquestionable judg- SERM.
ment be approved to all the world? our true wisdom is XXXIII.
to be sinxpivsīs xai &apórxon01, as St. Paul speaketh; that
is, fimple and inoffenfive toward the day of Christ; that is, Phil. i. 10.
without any indirect regard or design, conscionably to
perform our duty toward God and man, in order to the
rendering a good account at the last judgment; our best
comfort will prove that of St. Paul-the testimony of our 2 Cor. i. 10.
conscience, that in fimplicity and godly fincerity, not with
fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our
conversation in the world.

3. The confideration of this point should render us very
sober and serious in all our thoughts, our opinions, our
affections, our actions ; fuppressing all proud and haughty
conceits, all admiration of these transitory things, all vi-
cious excesses, all vain curiosities, all wanton joys and
fatisfactions : for,

Why should any apprehenfion of worldly state, of wealth, of honour, of wit, of any natural or acquired endowment, puff up our minds, seeing the day is near at hand, which in these regards will quite level men, and set them all upon even ground before an impartial bar, where no such things shall be had in any confideration or regard; when all secular and external advantages being laid aside, the moral qualities of men only shall be taxed and estimated; b a day wherein all these admired vanities shall vanish into nothing; all our empty tumours shall be depressed; all the fond arrogance of man shall be confounded; so that the proud and profane ones of the world shall be constrained to say after the Wise Man, What Wild. v. 8, hath pride profited us? or what good hath riches with our %. vaunting brought us? All these things are passed away as a Shadow, and as a post that hasted by.

And why should we much value those splendid toys, or that sordid trash, which men here do so eagerly scrape, and scramble, and scuffle for; which then evidently will

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SERM. be discountenanced, will at least appear worthless and unXXXIII. profitable to us? what indeed in this world, supposing

this judgment, being truly rated, can seem great, or worthy to affect us?

And why, having affairs on foot of so immenfely vaft importance, should we amuse ourselves with trivial matters, impertinent at least, if not prejudicial to our main accounts?

And how shall we dare to embrace the serpent of finful excess, confidering, beside the poison in its body, what a dreadful sting it carrieth in the tail thereof; how these flashes of pleasure do kindle a flame, that will scorch us to eternity? One thought of judgment mixed with any brutish enjoyments were enough, one would think, to allay their sweetness, to render them indeed not only infipid, but distasteful and bitter to us.

And how can we be easily transported into wild merriments, suffering our minds to be ruffled, and the tone of our reason to be slackened by them, if we consider how infinitely serious business lieth upon us ; what a dismal hazard we stand in, how nearly our everlasting welfare lieth at stake? If here in this world we were bound in few days to undergo a trial concerning our life, all our estate, and all our reputation, we thould deem it seasonable to be somewhat intent, to be indeed very folicitous about what we should plead, and how we should get off ; rather than to be lightly sporting at, and loosening our minds in little pleasant humours; much more rather than to be loosing our minds, and banishing all sober thoughts away in exorbitant frolicks : extremely wild or stupid would he seem, who in such a case should so behave himself: it is plainly the case of us all, in a degree infinitely more high than we can suppose any other to be: wherefore reflecting thereon should, methinks, quash all extravagant and dissolute mirth, apt to beat out of our minds and hearts the care of our souls ; should compose our minds into a very serious frame; should presently drive us into, and constantly hold us in, a sober sadness of heart; it is a

duty which both in wisdom and piety we do owe to this 2 Cor.v.11. great matter, (the terror of the Lord, as St. Paul calleth

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ity) to fear and dread it: with which difpofition of spirit SERM.
exceffive transports of carnal joy are scarce confiftent : XXXIII.
however let us hear (let us, I say, whose fpirits are high,
and fancies strong, hear) what the great observer of the
world, the Preacher, doth adınonish; Rejoice, faith he, O
young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in
the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine
heart, and in the hght of thine eyes : but know, that for all
these things God will bring thee to judgment.
. 4. The confideration of this point should engage us
carefully to improve all the talents by God's providence
and grace committed to us; that is, all the means and
abilities, all the advantages and opportunities afforded us
of doing good, or serving God. Hath God bestowed
wealth upon us? this will engage us so to use it, as not
therewith to cherish our pride, or pamper our luxury, not
merely to gratify our pleasure or humour; but to expend
it in succouring our indigent neighbour, or otherwise pro-
moting God's service. Hath God invested us with power?
this should induce us to use it moderately and fruitfully;
not therewith to domineer or insult over our brethren,
not anywise to wrong or misuse them; but to yield pro,
tection, aid, and comfort to them ; to afford patronage
and succour to right; to minister encouragement, support,
and defence to virtue ; remembering that we have also a Eph. vi. 9.
Lord in heaven, and a judge, to whom we must be ac
countable. Hath God vouchsafed us any parts, any wit,
any knowledge this should move us to employ them,
not so much in contriving projects to advance our own
petty interests, or in procuring vain commendation to
ourselves, as in setting forth God's praise, in recommend-
ing goodness, in drawing men with the most advantage
we can to the practice of virtue and piety. Hath God
conferred on us any thing of honour or credit among
men? this may oblige us not to build high conceits upon
it, or to find yain complacences therein; but to use it as
an instrument of bringing honour to God, of ministering
aid or countenance to the interests of piety: to those pur-
poses, I say, this confideration greatly serveth; for that it

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