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present as well as future reward to our obedience to thy laws, and made the ways of religion, ways of pleasantDess, and all its paths to be peace; O give me wisdom and understanding, that I may not be carried away by the deceitful pleasures of this world; but may see, and know, and choose, the things which make for my peace, and wherein my true and only happiness doth consist.
Convince me more and more, that sin is the greatest of all evils; that guilt and misery are always inseparable ; and that there is no other solid and substantial happiness to be attained in this life, but that which results from the testimony of a good conscience, and the hopes of thy favour and acceptance. Grant that these momentous truths may be so deeply impressed upon my mind, that I may make it the sincere endeavour of my whole life to please and obey thee, who art my sovereign good and happiness; the only sure foundation of all my hopes both here and hereafter; and in
comparison of whose favour all the honours, riches, and enjoyments of this world, are as nothing.
Deliver me, I beseech thee, from the shame and anguish, the horror and confusion of a guilty conscience; and give me that comfort and complacency of mind, which arises from the consciousness of having been faithful in thy service, and obedient to thy will. And, since thou hast been graciously pleased to make thy service the most perfect freedom, and the practice of our duty so conducive to our present as well as future well-being ; O make me sted fast and immoveable in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that, having faithfully served thee in this life, I may at last be found meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, through the sole merits and intercession of our eternal advocate and mediator Jesus Christ. Amen!
In the foregoing chapter I have endeavoured to shew, that religion is the only solid foundation of happiness in this world ; the only thing that can make us pass the time of our pilgrimage here on
earth with any tolerable ease and satisfaction. I shall now proceed in the next place, to consider the great advantage of a good life, from the comfortable prospect it gives us when we come to die.
This is an advantage peculiar to virtue and religion; and to which a life of sin and wickedness never pretended. The most which the latter promises its rotaries, is to regale their senses for a little time: it gives them no hopes beyond the grave; nor aims at any .thing farther than a short-lived happiness. IVhen a wicked man dieth his expectation shall perish. Prov. xi. 7. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained all that this world can give him, when God taketh
away his soul? Job, xxvii. 8. All his enjoyments are then at an end; and those schemes, upon which he had built his happiness, will vanish and come to nothing. But with a good man it is far otherwise: he looks beyond this present life, and beholds with an eye of faith the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God; that place of endless happiness, which God has prepared for them that love him. In the hopes and expectations of this happiness, he considers himself as a pilgrim and stranger upon earth; and
daily endeavouring, through the assistance of God's holy spirit, by a life of virtue and righteousness, to become meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.
It must indeed be owned, that death is the great king of terrors; that the dissolution of soul and body, and the thoughts of becoming a prey to the des vouring worms, carries in it something very shocking to human nature ; yet to a good man, death appears in a quite different view. He considers, that to leave this world is only to quit a place
of trouble and vexation, of vanity and emptiness : it is to leave a barren and dry wilderness, where no water is, for the delightful regions of felicity, where are rivers of pleasure and a neverceasing spring of endless comfort, which will satisfy the most longing desires of the soul. He considers, that though this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, yet he has a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, and is assured with Job, that his Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and that though his body be destroyed, yet in his flesh he shall see God, whom he shall see for himse and his cyes shall behold, and not another's. Job xix. 25, 26, 27.
This is what religion promises to then, who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory and honour, and immortality. It is the hopes and expectations of this unspeakable happiness that fortify the mind of a good christian, and give him a courage and resolution, which even death itself shall pot be able to shake.