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grand Stake. For will they not Rise Early, and Late take Rest, Drudge and Toil, Plot and Contrive, Cheat and Defraud, Lye and Dissemble, be of any Religion, or of no Religion, and submit to all the Balenesses imaginable, to Get or Secure, or Recover a Place of Honour or Profit? Will they not incur the Curses of the Widow and Orphan, the Contempt of Wise Men, the Hatred of Mankind, the Censures of Posterity, the Displeasure of God, and even Damnation it self for the fake of their beloved Mammon? They will; they will bustle through all this, and will gain their Point, though they lose every thing besides: And herein they
are consistent with themselves, they act agreeably to their Principles.
But now will the Children of Light do as much for their End? Will these part with the World for Heaven, as the other will part with Heaven for the World? Will these do or suffer any thing for the Interest of their Souls, as the other will for that of their Bodies? Some few. there are that will, and God add to their Number. But are there not many who Habitually and in General, have proposed to themselves Heaven for their End, and so far are supposed to give it the Preference above all, and yet when they come to be set upon by a Temptation, to have before them the Charms of Pleasure, or the Terrors of Pain, or to be pressed with either Hopes of Gain, or Fear of Loss ; in short, when they come to have any other considerable Interest brought into Competition
with that which they made their End, will they not then suffer a present Interruption of their former Judgment, and actually undervalue what they Habitually prefer? Will they not enter into a Cloud of Darkness and Obscurity, lose the prefent Light of their former Convictions, and so alt as Foolishly as those that never had any better
Principles, or truer Sentiments? Will they noc € D
prove False to their Cause and to themselves, make a Foolish Exchange, let go
the Substance and catch at the Shadow? Will they not refuse
to take up the Crown for fear of the Thorns be
that guard it, and chuse rather to lose Heaven than be Translated thither in a Fiery Chariot? Yes, 'tis to be feared that most of them will; and that of those many that have proposed Hea
ven as their End, there are but few that would I have the Courage to be Martyrs for it.
AGAIN Secondly, The Children of this es World as they will spare no Pains, so will they
lose no Time" or Opportunity for the Securing å Temporal Interest. They greedily Seize uponi the next Minute, take Opportunity by the Fores lock, and make haste to be Rich, though by doing so, they know they shall not be Innocent. They carefully observe every Season, lay hold uponi the First that comes, and will be sure to strike Sail with the very next Wind that will carry them to their Port. They know very well, that the present time is the only time they are Masters of, and that they may reckon upon as their
own, and therefore that they will be sure
to Improve, and not trust to the Uncertainties and Contingencies of Futurity. Let but a Question arise about their Title to their Estate, and they can't sleep till it be clear'd up, and confirm’d. Let but a Place of Dignity or Profit fall, and with what Expedition do these Eagles repair to the Carkass! They take the Wings of the Morning, perhaps of the Night too, and fly as if running for a Prize, or chased by an Enemy.
But now, are the Children of Light fuch Prizers of Time, and such Improvers of Opportunity ? 'Twere well if they were. For what is more common than to see Men, not only the professedly wicked and profligate, but even those who have fet their Faces Sionward, and propose Heaven as their End,to procrastinate and adjourn their Repentance from Day to Day, from Month to Month, from Year to Year, to delay their Preparations for Eternity, and to Sleep foundly and fecurely, in a Doubtful, and fometimes in a Damnable and Irreconciled State ; and all this, though they know how short and uncertain their lives are, that 'tis but a Breath and a V apor that foon passes away, and we are gone. Though they know that there is but this one time of Probation, and that there is no Work, nor Device, nor Knowledge, nor Wifdom in the Grave, Eccl. 9. 10. Though they know that Now is the" Accepted Time, that Now is the Day of Salvation, 2 Cor. 6. 2. A Ğ A I N Thirdly, the Children of this
World, as they will lose no Time, so neither will they let slip any other Advantage of advancing their Fortunes, and of providing against a Wet Day. They twist their own Interest with the Interest of their Friends, seek out for all Helps, and make use of the Best
, and take the advantage of every Rising Ground. They have also a quick Eye upon all Revolutions, suppose themselves in all possible Cases, and make early Preparations for every Accident. They sit like Wary and Watchful Spiders in the Heart of their Webs, and there with a quick and perceptive Sense, they feel out the least Disturbances that threaten the Security of their little Tenement. Nor do they smell out Danger more suddenly than they provide against it. Thus the unjust Steward; when he foresaw he should quit his Office, and in that his Livelihood, and be turned loose to the wide World; he presently bethought him of a Plank to Swim upon, made an Interest with his Lord's Debtors, by under-rating their Accounts, that so when his Master should Discard him, they in Requital of his Kindness, might Receive and Harbour him.
But now are the Children of Light so careful to make use of all Helps and Means that may further them in the Attainment of their Great End ? Such as the Grace of God, Happiness of Temper and Complexion, Good Education, Well-disposed Circumstances of Life, the Good Examples of others, Advice of Spiritual Persons,
and the like. Besides, are they also so Frugal and Provident, so Forecasting and Contriving for the future?' Are they so careful in the day of Grace to lay up in Store against a Spiritual Fa. mine, in the days of Peace to Store themselves with Spiritual Armour against the time of Perse cution, in the time of Life and Health to provide against the Hour of Sickness and Death, and by a Wife Dispensation of the fading and unrighteous Mammon, to procure to themselves everlasting Habitations ? Are they? Every ones Experience and Observation may assure him that they are not.
Once more, the Children of this World, as they Catch at all Advantages that may
further their Grand Affair, so are they withal as careful to avoid all Occasions of Loss and Damage ; they love to tread upon firm Ground, shun Ha zards as well as actual Misfortunes, and won't so much as come within the Smell of Danger. How Shy is the Man of Interest, of lighting among such Company as he thinks will be apt to borrow Money of him, draw him into Sure tyship, or betray him into any Expences! Does he not fly from these as from the Snares of Death, or from the Face of a Serpent?
But do the Children of Light take the same Care to avoid all Appearances of Evil, all Spiritual Dangers, and all Occasions and Temptations of Singing against God and their own Happiness? We Pray indeed, and our Saviour has taught us to do so, that God would not