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uncapable of relishing any of its enjoyments, his spirits sunk, his body full of pain and weakness and disorder, his mind awakened, and sensible that he is hastening on apace to an unknown spiritual state, where he shall live to endless ages, in happiness or misery inconceivable, according to his behaviour here, whether good or bad, and must leave behind him all his riches and his pleasures, and go where nothing can procure him any friends or any comfort, but his having led an innocent, uncorrupt life here; when a man is in this condition, and has little else to do but to think of what is past, and what is to come, and has a clearer and füller prospect of both than ever he had before, those amusements and vanities being removed, which in the days of his health and vigour broke his view, and diverted his attention to something else; then is the time that the soul perceives the true tendency of virtue and vice respectively; and is either filled with comfort and satisfaction and joy at the review of a life spent innocently and uprightly and religiously, as becomes a man and a Christian; or else overwhelmed with horror and despair at the sight of such a world of iniquity as will then present itself to the mind of a wicked man, whether he will or no. For conscience is then generally at liberty, and acts without restraint; and will not fail to set before and upbraid him with the evil of his doings, and shew him the dreadful consequences of them, which, in a little time, he shall find by sad experience to be true. And what then would he not give to buy off those dismal apprehensions, those terrible lashes of a guilty mind, and the infinitely greater torments that he must suffer for ever after death!

Wherefore, let a man that is engaged in any course of wickedness, or tempted to commit a sin that promises him much present happiness and advantage, suppose himself to be in that condition, in which, one day, he certainly shall be, that is, leaving this world, and going into eternity; and let him think how those wickednesses will then appear to him; and whether he shall have the same good opinion of them that he has now, when he is going to give account of his works before God. And I make no doubt, but whoever will give himself leave to consider seriously in this manner, and call to mind what will be the consequence of such and such practices in a very little time, and what agonies they will cause in his soul, when all the pleasure and satisfaction he took in them is over, and the advantages he gained by them will be no longer useful to him, and nothing remains but a fearful looking for of judgment, and the fiery indignation of God; whoever will thus consider, if he has any regard to his safety, will not dare to break through the bounds of innocency and uprightness; but be, above all things, careful to lead such a life as will bring him peace and tranquillity of soul at the last; even-at that concluding hour when he shall go from hence for ever, into another unchangeable state, and be no more seen here.

And when the final close and period of all things in this world shall come, at the dreadful day of judgment, then nothing but innocency and uprightness of conversation in our former state will stand us in any stead, and afford us any support and comfort.

For the whole course of every one's life, the most

secret and hidden intrigues of it, and those works of darkness which perhaps have lain concealed from every eye but God's till then, shall be laid open, and examined by a most holy and impartial Judge, who is no respecter of persons, but will do justice, with the greatest exactness, to every one, and acquit and reward none but the sincerely righteous, and sentence every wicked soul to everlasting burnings.

It infinitely concerns every one of us therefore to look further than the present, and in all our actions have regard to what will bring us peace at the last. And since nothing can do that but our keeping innocency, and taking heed to the thing that is right, our fixed resolution should be, always to preserve our integrity, whatever temptations we may meet with to the contrary.

Every wise man looks at the consequence of things; and is not content with some present little satisfactions and enjoyments, but considers what will help him to a durable happiness; what will be a certain fund of good things for the time to come ; what will secure a good reversion for him in the other world, and lay up a treasure in heaven, which will last as long as his being lasts, and leave no room for fears of future misery. And when he has found the invaluable secret, and knows how to make himself completely happy at present and for ever, methinks he should want no persuasion to make use of it, but apply himself immediately to the blessed work, and pursue it with diligence, and never cease till he has brought it to perfection.

Now, to keep innocency, and take heed all our days to the thing that is right, is that invaluable recipe, as we have seen, and it is so agreeable to

BRAGGE, VOL. IV.

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mankind, so suited to his constitution, and so easy and pleasant in the use, that none that ever tried it but were extremely satisfied with it, and found the admirable effects of it to answer their expectation in all respects. Procuring a well-grounded, lasting peace with God and men, and their own consciences, throughout the various turns and changes of this life, at the close of it, and even beyond it, to all eternity.

While some therefore are very busy in the pursuit of happiness, in the way of ambition, others of gain, others of pleasure, in neither of which it can be attained, however men may flatter themselves, or be flattered for a while, and pleased with some little successes, as a bait laid by the great deceiver to draw them still further on to their ruin; let us be so wise as to observe, and take warning in time, by the miscarriages of others, and avoid those rocks upon which so many in our own memory and observation have been split and lost. Let us preserve our integrity and innocence in all that we undertake and prosecute, with an humble resignation of ourselves to the providence of God, and content in all his disposals; keeping in our view the end of our actions, and what will be the result of them at last, and looking beyond the present scene of things for what is happiness indeed; and then we cannot do amiss; but shall at length attain what all press after, and very few can reach, a safe and quiet passage through this troublesome and dangerous world, to that endless tranquillity and peace and joy that is above.

Where when a man of uprightness and integrity is once happily arrived, and thinks what dangers he has escaped, what difficulties he has run through, what temptations he has resisted and overcome, and reflects upon the blissful state he then is irremovably fixed in, how will he rejoice at the happy change, and bless and praise that infinite goodness which has brought him thither! and how will he pity, if there be any room for that affection in a breast that is so full of exultation and joy, how will he pity those he has left behind! most of whom are earnestly, contending and striving for what will make them miserable, and very few in comparison doing that which will make them really happy. Wasting their short life in pursuing ernpty bubbles and shadows, or loading themselves with thick clay, as the prophet expresses it, coveting an evil covetousness, and wearying themselves for very vanity; not considering that they do but consult shame to themselves, and sin against their own soul ; forgetting what shall be in the conclusion, and deserting the way that leads to true glory and empire, and treasures that are subject to no violence, or chance, or decay, and pleasures that will always fully satisfy and never end.

Such poor wretches are much to be pitied indeed; and such, God knows, are we. Let us therefore take pity on ourselves before it is too late, and summon up the utmost force of our reason and our religion, if we indeed have any, to recover ourselves out of this abject and miserable condition; and act for the future as becomes men and Christians, who hope to be rewarded in another world. Remembering that here we have no continuing city, but seek one to come, which is properly our home, where our treasure and our inheritance and our happiness is : and

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