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formance of our duty, than an assurance of obtaining hereby so happy a state? what can more efficaciously withdraw us from impiety, than being certain thereby to lose and fall short of it? so on the other hand, what can more vehemently provoke us to obedience, than being persuaded, that we shall thereby avoid eternal misery? what can more powerfully deter us from fin, than considering, that by commission of it we (hall expose ourselves to that wretched state? Infinitely stupid and obdurate we must be, if the consideration what these states are doth not produce these effects.
What is the state of life? it is a state of highest dignity and glory; of sweetest comfort and joy; of joy full in measure, pure in quality, perpetual in duration, in all respects perfect to the utmost capacity of our nature; wherein all our parts and faculties (hall be raised to their highest pitch of perfection, our bodies stiall become free from all corruptibility and decay, all weakness and disease, all grossness and unwieldiness, all deformity and defilement: for they shall, as St. Paul teaches us, be rendered incorruptible, strong, healthful, glorious, and spiritual: our souls also shall in their faculties be advanced, in their inclinations rectified, in their appetites satisfied; the understanding becoming full of light, clear and distinct in knowledge of truth, free from ignorance, doubt, and error; the will being steadily inclined to good, ready to comply with God's will, free from all weakness and all perverseness; our affections being set in right order and frame, with a constant regularity tending unto that which is really best, and taking a full delight therein: wherein we shall enjoy the blissful sight of God, smiling in love and favour upon us; the presence of our gracious Redeemer, embracing us with most tender affection; the society of the holy angels, and 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 (hall present itself to us; no want, or need of any thing shall appear; no care, or fear, or suspicion; no labour or toil, no sorrow or pain, no distaste or regret, no stir or contention, no listleflhess or latiety shall be felt, or sliall come near us; where God (as it is in the Apocalypse) will wipe every tear from the eyes, Rev. xxi. ♦. (of them who sliall come there,) and death shall be no more; nor sorrow, nor clamour, nor pain any more: it is, in fine, a state in excellency surpassing all words to express it, all thoughts to conceive it; of which the brighteft splendours and the choicest pleasures here are but obscure shadows, and faint resemblances; comparable to which no eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard any thing; 1 Cor. ii. 9. nor hath it ascended into any heart of man to conceive the like; as St. Paul, out of the Prophet Isaiah, telleth us: which state, seeing by a pious life we certainly do acquire a right unto, and sliall enjoy a possession of; but from an impious life do forfeit all pretence thereto, and sliall infallibly be deprived of it; are we not infinitely mad, are we not extremely enemies, and injurious to ourselves, if we do not embrace the one, and eschew the other?
Again; What is the other state, that of death? what but a state of lowest disgrace and ignominy; of utter shame and confusion; of intolerable pains and miseries, without any ease or respite, without any hope or remedy, without any cessation or end; wherein we shall not only for ever be secluded from God's presence and favour; not only be deprived of all rest, comfort, and joy; but detruded into utmost wretchedness; into a condition far more dark and dismal, more forlorn and disconsolate, than we can imagine; which not the sharpest pain of body, nor the bitterest anxiety of mind, which any of us hath ever felt, can in any measure represent; wherein our bodies sliall be afflicted condnually by a sulphureous flame, not only scorching the skin, but piercing the inmost sinews; our souls sliall incessantly be gnawed upon by a worm, (the worm of bitter remorse for our wretched perverseness and folly; the worm of horrid despair ever to get out of that sad estate;) under which ^inexpressible vexations, always enduring pangs of death, always in sense and in desire dying, we sliall never be able to die: which miserable slate, since it is by performing our duty surely avoided, since by neglecting or trans
greffing God's laws it is inevitably incurred; if we do not accordingly choose to demean ourselves, how infinitely careless are we of our own good, how desperately bent to our own ruin!
If these considerations make no impression on us, what can any reason effect? what can any words signify? how monstrously sottish or wild do we appear to be! I conclude with prayer to Almighty God, that, according to his infinite mercy, he, by his gracious assistance leading us in the ways of piety and righteousness, would bring us to everlasting life and happiness; that he by the fame powerful grace withdrawing us from impiety and iniquity, would rescue us from eternal death and misery; To him, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be for ever all glory and praise. Amen.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
THE DOCTRINE OF THE SACRAMENTS.
Orat. Domiu. * Si per omnia precationum sanctarum verba discurras, quantum existimo niliil invenies, quod non ista Dominica contineat et concludat oratio: unde liberum est aliis atque aliis verbis, eadem tamen in orando dicere, sed non debet esse liberum alia dicere. Aug. ad Probam Epist. cxxi.