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sorrow for his offences, his vows of amendment, and his constant endeavour to keep them; that God, who knows that he bas been careful, according to his ability and circumstances, to understand the will of God, and to perform it; and lastly, that he has cheerfully chosen and made use of the means of grace which God has afforded him ; that God, who knows all this, will, according to His goodness, and covenant, and promises, take care of him when he dies, and is no longer able to help himself; that God will make the next life much happier than that he is going to leave: and, being the Lord of all places, and conditions, and powers, will defend him from the terrors of death, from the spirits and powers of darkness, and bring him, in His own good time, to that happines she has all along hoped and prayed for, even to His everlasting kingdom.

Had Abraham, when he went forth, not knowing whither he went, had he wanted that faith for which he is so much commended ; that is, had he not believed that God (who alone was able to do it) would have kept him in the way he went, he would, no question of it, have gone forth very uncomfortably.

And will not this be the case of every soul here present, and that within a very few years ? Shall we not all leave our bodies, our friends, and the places of our abode, to go to a world which we know very little of? And shall not we endeavour to have some tolerable security that God, at that time, will not forsake us, nor leave us to the power and malice of evil spirits, to torment, and to punish us?

I only add, that it will come to this ; and therefore, for God's sake, let us think of it before that day comes, before “the night cometh when no man can work.”

[John 9. 4.] But are we sure that our labour will not be in vain ; but that we shall attain the end of our faith, the salvation of our [1 Pet. 1.

9.] souls ?

What more assurance would we have, besides what God has already given us ? The rich man in hell, who had lived and died in infidelity, could not think of any surer way of convincing his five brothers that were yet living, than that one should go from the dead to warn them, “lest they also come (Luke 16.

28.] into that place of torment;" for then, saith he, they will be

SERM. lieve. And has not God vouchsafed us this very evidence of LXXII.

the terrors and the joys of the world to come ?

Ought not the remembrance of Christ's resurrection from the dead to satisfy, to convince, and to leave us without excuse, if we will not believe that God has determined we shall all rise again : they that have done good, or having done amiss, and have repented in time, to life everlasting; and they that have done evil unto everlasting misery.

And if we do not believe this, I need not tell you what effects this faith will have upon us; we shall live, and we shall die, like Christians, full of hopes of a blessed immortality with Jesus Christ our Lord.

To Whom, with the Father, &c.

SERMON LXXIII.

PREACHED BEFORE THE QUEEN, AT ST. JAMES's, ON HOLY THURSDAY,

MAY 10, 1711.

THE INFLUENCE WHICH CHRIST'S ASCENSION QUGHT TO HAVE

ON THE LIVES OF CHRISTIANS.

MATT. vi. 21.

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Though our Saviour applies this proverb to the good or ill use men make of riches ; intimating, that they who have laid up a treasure in heaven, by being bountiful to the poor, will be best pleased when they are thinking of heaven, or doing what may bring them thither; for the heart will be most there, where we believe we have the greatest interest ; yet it is justly applicable to all the objects of our hopes and desires; that is, we shall always be most delighted with the thoughts of such places, and persons, and employments, as we apprehend may most contribute to our happiness, and from which we have, or expect to have, the greatest advantage.

It is this which the Church had most in view, when the service for this festival was composed ; not barely to bring to our remembrance, that Jesus Christ, as on this day, ascended into heaven, but to instruct our practice, and to put us in mind of the influence this part of the Gospel history ought to have upon our lives. To tell us, if we believe that Jesus Christ is ascended into the heavens, there to intercede with God, and to prepare a place for us, that we should have this much in our minds, and at heart; that we should follow Him thither with our best affections, and with Him continually dwell. And (because of ourselves we cannot do this) to teach

SERM. and to oblige us, at least upon every return of this season, to LXXIII.

pray, that our hearts and minds may be in heaven, where our Lord Jesus Christ is gone before us : He being our greatest treasure, and the fountain of all our happiness.

Now, that our understandings and affections may keep pace [Col. 3. 1.) together, that when we are bid "to seek those things which

are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God;" that the reason of the thing may affect us, as well as the authority of Him that bids us do so, it will be fit to consider, what good we may hope for from our Saviour's presence in heaven? Why our hearts should be there rather than any where else? Why should we have Him, and His glory, and authority, most in our eye? What will be the real advantages of such a conversation ? And, lastly, what will be the consequence of placing our hearts and affections elsewhere? All which we may consider under these two heads :

First, what interest or treasure we have in heaven, and how the consideration of that ought to affect us.

Secondly, the motives, the consequence, and the danger, of fixing our hearts elsewhere.

I. And indeed, there are many reasons why our hearts should be in heaven ; but that which of all others is the most likely to affect us, is this: that Jesus Christ is there, and in such glorious circumstances, as must at once oblige us to think of Him with satisfaction, to serve Him with pleasure, and to desire to follow His steps and directions in the way which leads to that blessed place.

For, first, He is there as a Prince, to whom all power is (1 Pet. §. given both in heaven and in earth; angels, and principalities, 22.]

and powers, being made subject unto Him. The consequence of this is, He will govern the world, as with the greatest authority, so with the greatest wisdom, justice and goodness; that neither the wickedness of men, nor the power or malice of devils shall hinder or disturb the great ends of His government,—the glory of God, and the good of the whole creation.

And though we cannot always account for the ways of His providence, nor indeed is it fit we should-we are not let into the councils of earthly princes; yet we are sure, it will one day appear that justice has been executed impartially upon men, upon families, upon kingdoms; that all, even the most surprising and melancholy events, have been foreseen and directed to ends worthy of the wisdom of God; and that His mercy and goodness was there where we have been most apt to suspect His love.

Thus we are sure it ever will be; because, wherever we have been able to see the reason of things, thus it always has been. He has governed the world with a powerful and steady hand; He has kept the ambitious within the bounds appointed them ; called those to an account, whom no power on earth could bring into judgment. He has brought the counsel of the wicked to nought; has received the petitions, pitied the complaints, and has eased the grievances, of such as could have none to hear, none to help them on this side heaven.

In short; it is by the virtue of Christ's authority at the right hand of God, that He keeps the world from being only a place of disorder, of oppression and cruelty, of confusion and misery

Here then is matter of real concern and advantage to us, and therefore matter of real joy, that we have in heaven a security against all our fears, whether for the public, for our friends, or for ourselves. That nothing can befall us, without the knowledge, without the direction, or permission, of our Prince and Saviour. That He may, indeed, suffer His judgments to be in the world, that the inhabitants of the earth may (Is. 26. 9.] learn righteousness ; that we may deserve evils, and bring them upon ourselves; that we may be forced to suffer here, to prevent greater sufferings hereafter. But then, all this is manifestly for the good of the world, as well as for the glory of God.

And the conclusion will be, that our faith, and hope, and confidence, should be where our only help is,—in heaven ; that our eyes should be upon Him, who rules the world in righteousness, when we know not what to do ourselves; that neither the vicegerents of Christ, nor their subjects, need to take unjustifiable ways to support their government or interests, while He sitteth at the right hand of God, who is the fountain of all justice and power; that we need not advance principles destructive of Christianity, to bring about our designs, if they are really such as become the subjects

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