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infectious air. Ye live in a pest house. Is it at all strange to lorhe such a life? (c.) Your own pilgrim's fores are running on you. Doch not the sin of your nature make you groan daily? Are you noc sensible, that though the cure be begun, it is yet far from being perfected? Has not the leprosy got into the walls of the house, which cannot be removed without pulling it down? Is not your nature lo vitiate, that no less than the separation of the foul from the body can root out the disease? Have you not your fores with. qut, as well as your fickness within? Do ye not leave marks of your pollution, on whatsoever, passes through your hands ? Are not all your actions tainted and blemished with defects and imperfe&tions? Who else then should be much in love with life, but such whose sickness is their health, and who glory in their name? (2.) The loathsome fores of others are always before your eyes, go where you will. The follies and wickedness of inen are every where conspi. cuous, and make but an unpleasant scene. The finful worid is but ..., an unsightly company, a disagreeable croud, in which the most loathsome are the most numerous. (3.) Are not your own (ores ofrtimes breaking out again, after healing? Frequent relapfes may well cause us remit of our fondness for this life. To be ever truggling, and anon falling into the mire again, makes weary work. Do ye never win for cold death, thereby effectually to cool the hear of
these lusts, which so often take fire again; even after a flood of i godly sorrow bas gone over them(4.) Do not ye fometimes -
infečt others, and others infect you? There is no society in the world, in which every member of it doch not sometimes lay a stumblingblock before the rest. The best carry about with chem the tinder of a corrupt nature, which they cannot be rid of while chey live, and which ie liable to be kindled at all times, and in all places; yea, they are apt to inflame others, and become the occasions of linning. Certainly these things are apt to imbitter this life to the saints.
Secondly, Consider the misery and trouble that attend it. Reft is delirable, but it is not to be found on this side of the grave. Worldly troubles attend all men in this life. This world is a lea of trouble, where one wave rolls upon another. They, who fancy themselves beyond the reach of trouble, are mistaken: no ftate, no stage of 'life, is exempted from it. The crowned head is surrounded with thorny cares. Honour many times paves the way to deep disgrace: riches, for the most part, are kept to the hurt of the owners. The fairest rose wants not prickles; and the heaviest cross is sometimes found wrapt up in the greatelt eartbly comfort. Spiritual troubles, attend the faints in this life. They are like travellers in a cloudy night, in which the moon sometimes breaks out from under one cloud, but quickly hides her head again under another: no wonder they long to be at their journey's end. The sudden alterations che. beft frame of spirit is liable to, the perplexing doubts, confounding fears, short-liv'd joys, and long-running forrows, which have
a certain affinity with the present life, must needs create in the saints a desire to be with Christ, which is best of all.'
Lastly, Confider the great imperfections attending this life. While the toul is lodged in this cottage of clay, the necessities of the body are many; it is always craving. The mud-walls must be repaired and patched up daily, till the clayocottage fall down for good and all. 'Eating, drinking, sleeping, and the like, are, in themselves, but mean employments for a rational creature; and will be reputed Tuch by the heaven-born soul. They are badges of imperfection, and, as such, unpleasant to the mind, atpiring unto that life and immortality, which is brought to light through the gospel: and would be very grievous, if this state of things were of long continuance. Doth not the gracious foul often-find itself yoked with the body, as with a companion in travel, unable to kecp pace with it? When the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. When the soul would mount upward, the body is as a clog upon it, and as a stone tied to the foot of a bird attempting to fly. The truth is, O believer! thy soul in this body is, ac belt, but like a diamond in a ring, where much of it is obscured; it is far funk in the vile clay, till re. lieved by death.. ..
I conclude this subject with a few directions how to prepare for death, so as we may die confortably. I fpeak not here of habitual preparation for death, which a true Christian, in virtue of his gracious state, never wants, from the time he is born again and united to Chrift; but of actual preparation or readiness in respect of his circunstanciate case, frame, and disposition of mind and spirit; the want of which makes even a saint very unfit to die.
Firlt, Let it be your constant care to keep a clean conscience, a confcience void of offence toward God, and toward man, A sxxiv. 17. Beware of a standing controversy betwixt God and you, on the account of fonie iniquity regarded in the heart. When an honest man is about to leave his country, and not to recurn, he settles adcompts with those he had dealings with, and lays down methods for paying his debts timeoully; left he be reckoned a bankrupt, and be attacked by an officer, when he is going oft. Guilt lying on the cunscience is a fountain of fears; and will readily ating feverely, when death ftares the criminal in the face. Hence it is, that many, even of God's children, when a dying, are made to with paffionately, and delire eagerly that they may live to do, what they ought to have done, before that time. Wherefore, walk closely with God, be diligent, strict and exact in your courie; beware of a loose, careless, and irregular conversation: as ye would not lay up for yourselves, anguish and bitterness of spirit, in a dying hour. And because, through the infirmiry cleaving to us, in our present state of imperfection, in many things we offend all, renew your repentance daily, and be ever waibing in the Redeemer's blood. As long as ye are in the world, ye will need to wafs your feet, John xii. 10.
that that is, to make application to the blood of Christ, anew, for purg. ing your confciences from the guilt of daily miscarriages.' Let deach find you at the fountain; and if so, it will find you ready to answer its call.
Secondly, Be always watchful, waiting for your change, “Like “ unro men that wait for their Lord, that when he cometh and “ koocketh, they may open unto him immediately,” Luke xxi. 36.. Beware of Numbering and Neeping, while the bridegroom tarries. To be awakened out of spiritual Number, by a surprizing call to pass into’a another world, is a very frightful thing: but he who is daily for the coming of his Lord, shall comfortably receive the grim messenger, while he beholds him ushering in Him, of whom he may confidently say, This is my God, and I have waited for him. The way to die comfortable, is to die daily. Be often essaying (as it were) to die. Bring yourselves familiarly acquainted with death, by making many vifits to the grave, in serious meditations upon it. This was Joh's practice, chap. xvii. 13, 14. I bave made my bed in the darkness. Go thou, and do likewise; and when death comes, tbou Shalt have nothing ado but to ly down.". I have said to corruption, thou art my father; to the worm, thou art my mother and iny (ister.” Do thou say fo too; and thou wilt be the fitter to go home to their house. Be frequently reflecting upon your conduct, and considering what course of life you wish to be found in when death arrests you: and act accordingly. When you do the duties of your station in life, or are employed in acts of worship, think with yourselves, tbat, it may be, this is the last oppertunity; and therefore act as if you was never to do more of that kind. When you ly down at night, compose your spirits as if you was not to a wake, fill the heavens be no more. And when you awake in the morning, consider that new day as your last; and live accordingly. Surely that night cometh, of which you will never see the morning; or that morning, of which you will never see the night. But which of your mornings or nights, will be füch, you know not. .
Thirdly, Employ yourselves much in weaning your bearts from the world. The man who is making ready to go abroad, busies himself in taking leave of his friends. Let the mantle of earchly enjoyments hang loose about you, that it may be easily dropt, when death comes to carry you away into another world. Moderate your affections towards your lawful comforts of life: and let noe your hearts be too much taken with them. * The traveller acts un. wisely, who suffers himself to be so allured with the conveniencies of the inn where he lodgeth, as to make his necessary departure from it grievous. Feed with fear, und walk thro' the world as pilgrims and ftrangers. Likeas, when the corn is forsaking the ground, it is ready for the sickle: when the fruit is ripe, it falls off che tree easily: so, when a'Christian's heart is truly weaned. from the world, he is prepared for death, and it will be the more
eafy to him. A heart disengaged from the world is an heavenly one: and then are we ready for heaven, when our heart is there before us, March. vi. 21. .
Fourthly, Be diligent in gathering and laying up evidences of your title to beaven, for your support and comfort at the hour of death,
The negled hereof mars the joy and consolation which fome Chrif. 1 xians might otherwise have at their death. Wherefore examine: yourselves frequently, as to your spiritual state; chat evidences, which ly hid and unobserved, may be brought to light and taken notice of. And if you would manage this work successfully, make : folemn serious work of it. Ser apart some time for it. And, after 1 earnest prayer to God, through Jesus Clirist, for the enlightning influences of the Holy Spirit, whereby ye may be enabled to understand his own word, to discern his own work in your souls; Gift yourselves before the tribunal of your consciences, that ye may judge yourselves in this weighty matter.
And in the first place, Let the marks of a regenerate fare be fixed, from the Lord's word: and have recourse to some parricular text for that purpose; such as Prov. viii. 17. " I love them that love me.” Compare Luke xiv. 26. “ If any inan come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and Gisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Psal. cxix. 6. " Then thall I not be alhamed, when I have respect " unto all thy commandments. Pfal. xviii. 23. I was also upright " before him: and I kept myself from mine iniquity." Compare Rom. vii. 22, 23. “ For I delight in the law of God, after the in. “ ward man: but I see another law in my members warring against " the law of my mind, &c. 1 John iii. 3. And every man that hach “ this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure, Matin. “ v. 3. Bicffed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of “ heaven. Phil. iii. 3. For we are the circumcision which worship for ferve) God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” The sum of the evidence arising from thefe rexis, lies here. A real Christian is one who loves God for himself, as well as for his benefits; and that with a supreme love, above all perfons and all things: he has an awful and impartial regard to God's commands: he opposeth and wrestlech against thar fin, which of all others most easily belets him: be approveth and loveth the holy law, even in that very point, wherein it strikes against his most beloved luft: his hope of heaven engageth him in the study of universal holiness; in the which he aims at perfection, though he cannot reach it in this life : he serves the Lord, not only in acts of worship, but in the whole of his converlation; and as to both, is fpiritual in the principle, motives, aims, and ends of his service : yet he fees noching in himself to trust to before the Lord: Christ and his fulness is the Itay of his foul; and his confidence is cut off from all that is nos Chrif, or in Chrift, in point
- of justification, or acceptance with Gd; and in point of fanctifi
cation too. Every one in whom chese characters are found, has
a title to heaven, according to the word. It is convenient and i profitable to mark such texts for this special vie, as they occur,
while you read the scriprures, or hear fermons. The marks of a regenerate ltare thus fixed; in the next place, inpar: ially learch and try your own hearts th-stby, as in die right of Gowl, with dependince on hinn for fpiritual discerving, cha ye may kiow whe
ther they be in you or not. And when ye fi id chem, for in the En conclusion deliberately and diftin&ty; namely, i hit. Therefore you
are regenerare, and have a ville to heaven. Thus you may gather evidences, Burbe fare to have r. curle to G d in Christ by earnest prayer, frihe testimony of the Spirit," while office is to bear witness with our spirit, that we are th children of God, Rum. viii. 16. M sover, curefully obrerve the courfe and mihid of Providence toward you; and likewise how your soul is affected under the same, in the various tepsibereof: compare both with scripruredoctrines, promises, threarnings, and examples: fer shall ye per. ceive, if the Lord deals with you as he useth.io do unto those that love his name :: and if you be going forth by the footsteps of the flock, this:
may fford you comfortable evidence. Waik tenverly and circum. i Spectly; and the Lord will manifest himself to you, according to his prose, John xiv. 21. "He that hain my commandments and
keepeth tiem, he ic is that liveih me: and he that loveth me, " hall be loved of my Fathir: and I will love him, and will mania, " felt myself to him." Bur ir is jo vain to think on successful felf. examination, if ye be loose and irregular in your convertaiion. . · Laftly, Dispatch the work of your day and generation with speed and dil gence. David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fill on peep, Acts xli, 36. God bas allored us çerain pieces of work of this k.nd, which ought to be difiarched before the time of working be over' Ecclel, ix. 10 :". Whitfvever thy “ hand finde h tu do, do it with thy might: for there is n work, " nur knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou guest.” Gal. vi. 10 " As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good 6 unto all men, e pecially unto then who are of the houshold of “ faith.” If a paflenger, after he is got on shipboard, and the thip is geri'ng undir fail remember that he has om ted to d fpatch a piece of neceffury busnel's when he was sh te, is niuit needs be 'uneasy to him; even fo reflection in a dying h. ur. upon neglected, seafons, and loft opportunities, cannot fail ro aquiet a Chriftian, Wherefore whatever is incumbent upon thee co do for God's honour, and the good of others; either as the duty of thy station, or by special opportuniiy put into thy hand, perform it fecforably, if thou wouldit die comfortably.
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