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amend their Lives when they are going to SERM.
make Resolutions indeed, and pro-
Influence upon the Mind, you can't
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 fame Promises, and
For if you
SERM. what has been extorted from them by SickXII. nefs, has been forgot in Health! I don't
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 set 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 Pleafures 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 of Punishment here, but will be punish'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 thing3, 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 Proporition 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 fhut out from the Presence of God, and to live iru
SERM. endless Torments, and be for ever tortur'd,
How fhould we then wish to begin again,
upon our Hands! But, alas ! there is a great Gulph fix'd so that there is no palfing 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 less fo, I suppose. Let our Regard to these Things be proportior'd to the Value Importance of them, that, when Time.is swallowed up in Eternity, our Happiness may partake of the same Perfection, and .continue without End. Amen.
ACTs xxiv. 16.
to have always a Conscience
HESE Words are part of the SERM.
Answer which St. Paul gave to XIII. the Accusation brought against my
him by Tertullus. The whole Case is this : When he was sent from Jex rusalem to Cesarea for fear of the Jewus; who intended to destroy him, and his Accusers were come, they employ'd a certain Orator, named Tertullus, to inform the GoVernor against Paul; who accordingly laid many grievous Crimes to his Charge ; ac mongst the rest, that he was a pestilent Fellow, a Sower of Sedition among all the fews throughont the World, and a Profaner of the Temple. Buc. now to prove the Impro