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Serm. The way that every wise Man takes in XII. his Affairs, is to make a Provifion against

Accidents. He manages his Affairs in such a manner as to expect such things. 'Tis true, when this Opportunity comes, a Man may possibly lay hold of it, and improve it to his Advantage : I say, he may poslibly do it; but there is only a bare Possibility of it: For he can't be sure that what hinders him now will not do so then too. Yet, besides all this, as there is but a Possibility neither whether this Opportunity may ever come or no, (for what


be too) 'tis very absurd to leave it to that, efpecially when on the other hand he may have a Certainty. Besides, what do we get by this Delay? We get Time to fin indeed : But is not this adding still to the Account, and making the Sum larger ? We find it so in other things : The longer we defer a Work, the more it grows upon our Hands, and consequently the less able shall we be to accomplish it : For that which at first might be moy'd with one Finger, will, when the Weight is increas'd, require the Strength of the whole Body. But there are too many that think it is time enough to think of these Things when they are on their Death-Bed, that 'tis time enough to

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amend their Lives when they are going to SERM.
part with them, and relinquish their Sins XII.
when they can keep them no longer. But
what! is this a convenient Season ? Will
a Day or a Week be time enough for a
Work of thirty, forty, fifty or fixty Years?
We may make Resolutions indeed, and
mise what we will do, but whether we shall
certainly perform or not, will require Time
to shew;

which in this Cafe is not to be
had, and God only knows whether we
should perform them if it was. 'Tis to be
fear’d, it is more than probable, that Pro-
mises made in time of Danger or Extremity,
by Fear, will be but little regarded when
that Fear and that Danger that caus'd them
are remoy'd. Take away the Cause, and
the Effect ceases of course.
fuppose no Sense of Fear or Danger, or,
which is the same, that these have not their
proper Influence upon the Mind, you can't
well suppose any Reformation.

And that
this might be the Case of a Person fuppos'd
to be on a Death-Bed, should he recover,
is not impossible, because it certainly has
been. How many do we meet with in the
World, of whom one might truly say this is
their Case! Who have been in the same
Danger, and made the same Promises, and

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SERM. what has been extorted from them by SickXII. nefs, has been forgot in Health! I don't ns

say that this is always so. But, however, there can be no sufficient Foundation for Dependence or Trust in such a Cafe.

Upon the whole then : If there is such a thing as a Punishment due to Sin, and if the Conscience informs us of this, let us give it a proper

Attention. We allow the Gratification of our Desires, our Pleasures and Amusements their Season; let not then the Happiness and Welfare of another World be the only Thing that shall be depriv'd of a convenient Seafon. Let us consider, that if our Repentance reaches no further than the Design and Intention, if it is not to be fet about at some certain Time in this Life, there is no doing it any where else ; there is no Repentance in the Grave, whither we are going. People of narrow Minds, who confine their Views within this Circle of things here below, may possibly think lightly of these Things, who know no other Pleasures but those of Sense, nor any other Torments but the short momentary ones of this Life. But if we carry our Views beyond the present State of things, and look into Futurity, however these Things appear in this Life, there they must have an



other Aspect. When we consider Pleasure SERM. and Pain, not as precarious and momentary,

XII. but certain and eternal ; whoever considers these things rightly, will give them their due Weight. And indeed People cannot want Motives to this; the Scripture abounds with a Multitude of Passages, that represent these Things in a true Light, and with a Multitude of Arguments and Persuasions to a right Conscience. It constantly teaches us that Vice is odious, paints the Deformity of it, and that it is attended with a certain Degree or Punishment here, but will be punilh'd eternally in another State ; that Virtue is attended here with a certain Degree of Happiness, and an Eternity of it hereafter, and Arguments drawn from the Nature of these things, from the Happiness on one side, and the Torments on the other. And can we now, after all, think that a few momentary Pleasures bear any Proportion to the Pleasures that are to have no End ? Is an heaverly Felicity nothing? Is it nothing to see the Face of God, and enjoy him to all Eternity? To have our Hopes and Desires compleated and gratified to the utmost Perfection ? If all this is nothing, is it also nothing to be evermore shut out from the Presence of God, and to live in


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SERM. endless Torments, and be for ever tortur’d, XII. without even the Hopes of any

Relief? How should we then wish to begin again, and have a second Trial! How should we improve those Fragments of Time that now Lie upon our Hands! But, alas :! there is a great :Gulph fix'd so that there is no palsfing from thence. Now we have it in our Power to prevent these fruitless Wishes, let us prevent the melancholy Reflections upon what we would have done, by doing it. If Happiness and Misery are worthy our Concern, their being eternal does not make it Jess fo, I suppose. Let our Regard to these Things be proportior'd to the Value Importance of them, that, when Time is Lwallowed up in Eternity, our Happiness imay partake of the same Perfection, and .continue without End. . Amen.


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