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if Judgment be of any concernment to us, I am sure it is of great concernment to prepare our selves for Judgment: And if we mull be judged for Eternity, Judgment is of as great concernment to us, as Eternal Life and Death. Nor is there any great difficulty to know how those men ought to live, who must be judged $ every man knows this without aTeacher,wno will give himself leave to think: A Steward, a Factor, a Labourer, any person who is liable to the Censure and Judgment of a Superior, who will call him to an Account, knows what he is to do, to prepare his Accounts; and there is no greater Mystery in preparing our selves for God's Judgment, than for the Judgment of Men. But because all men will not consider things as they ought, tho they be never so plain andobvious, I shall briefly suggest some Rules to you,which you must all acknowledge very reasonable at the first hearing, and which if well observed, would make us lift up our Heads in the Day of Judgment, and expect it without Astonishment and Terror:
1. If we must be judged, it becomes us to act with great Consideration and Advice : Rashness, Precipitancy, Inadvertency, to do we know not what, in a Heat, andt Impetus, without considering whether it be good or evil, right or wrong, does not become those who must be judged. To be judged is to be called to an account, to give a reason for what, we do, and therefore we ought to consider what reason to give, before we do it.. We must be judged by a Rule , as you shall hear more hercanxr; and therefore we ought to live by Rule txo. which no man can do,who does not consider we,H,whac
. he he does, before he does it: it will be an ill Plea at the Day of Judgment to fay, that we did not con- j sider what we did; that we lived without Care, without Thought, without Observation; for this is not an allowable Plea for a Reasonable Crea^ture,much less for one who knowshe must be judgv ed : For why did you live withoutThought,witlvout Consideration? Had you not the Power of Thinking, of Reasoning, of Considering? and did not God give these Powers and Faculties to you, to direct and govern your Lives ? did he not make you Reasonable Creatures, that you might consider, and live by Reason, and is it an Excuse then for a Reasonable Creature, that he lived and acted without Reason, and a wise Consideration of Things? This is the great Degeneracy of Human Mature , the abuse and Corruption of those Natural Powers which God hath given us, the Source of all the Evils that are in this World, and therefore can be no Excuse, much less,when we know that God will judge us, and require a reason of our Actions: for not tp consider our own Ways, when we know God considers them,and will require an account of them, is a contempt of his Judgment; for did we reverence our Judge , we must consider; and yet how many mad , extravagant, wicked Actions are there daily committed, which those who do them, never think why they dp them, nor what reasonable account they can give of them either to God or Man.
Some men are very fond of what they call a Frolick? that is, to lay aside all Thought and Consideration, and to give themselves up to the government of every sudden and unaccountable
Fancy, Fancy, and the more wild and extravagant it is, the more entertaining, without any regard to Virtue of Vice, to Decency and Honour, the least thought of whichisaProphanation of these Bedlam Mysteries: they drink themselves drunk in a Frolick, Blaspheme GOD , and his Son J ESUS CHRIST, and his most holy Religion, abuseWives and Virgins, murther innocent People, and affront all they meet, in a Frolick: but it is ridiculous to imagine , if we must be judged, that such Frolicks as these shall be allow'd in the Account, or pass for Cyphers and empty Scenes of life, to fignifie no more than they were intended for ; that because we chuse at such a time to act without Reason and Consideration, therefore GOD should demand no Reason nor Account of such Actions.
And yet a Very great part of the World*, fho they do not run into such outragious Frolicks as these are, yet their Lives are little better than a train of incoherent and independent Fancies and Humours; they live without Thought, or any wife design; any extempore Project has them , which starts up in their Minds, or strikes their Fancies: they scarce know what they have to do. the next day, nor how they spent the last : But is this a Life for men who are to be judged?
Others there are who give themselves up to the government of their Passions, which are so vehement and impetuous,and always in so much haste, that they will neither hear Reason, nor allow any time for it; and then no wonder if they do such things as they can give no good account o^whenf their Passion is overr
Others are more fixt and resolved in their way; they have chose such a course of Life as they like best, and they are refWved to pursue it, and that nothing shall put them out of it; iod therefore? they resolve against thinking too, lest that should difliurbthem, and givechecltto the^ Enjoyments i They willneitherusten ttwheirewn(fortune*,, nor hearken to the Importunities of their Friends, i nor be persuaded to consider, what the probable end of all their Actions will be, both in trhY Worlds and in the next*L i 'X ~&:
These are all unthinking unconsidering Sinners ^ but you will all confess, that these men do not live as if they were to .be judged;;; an^ thejtefore , if we believe that we shall be judged^ none ofur ought to live thus: w© ought to consider wefl beforehand, what we do, that we may be able to give a reasonable' Account of it,. when w e' have done it; for if we must give a reason of our Actions, when we have done them^we.ought tb; know a reason for them, before we do them ;',( and therefore we must accustom our Miridsto a grave arid seriousConsideration of things, to live) byReason> notbyHumour and Fancy, not by the. Impetus and Fury of Passion, which is a very ill Counsellor; much less to pursue our Lusts with an affected and resolved Ignorance and Blindness; for all this will not prevent our being judged, but wilsraake us very unable to give a good account of our selves when we are.
2. As we must act'with great Consideration, so we must make it she standing Principle arid Rule . of our Lives, never to do anything but whatwe can give a good acc6unt of; either what we know: is our Duty, or at least what we are satisfy'd is' Very lawful and innocent to be done; for if we do those things which we cannot account for, for which our own Minds condemn us, how can we appear with any hope and confidence at the Tribunal of God ? When men transgress a known Duty, they are Self-condemned, and God need not judge them, but only execute the Sentence and Judgment of their own Conscience. To believe that God will judge us, and yet to venture upon such Actions, for which our own Consciences condemn us, and for which we knowGodwill ascertains condemn us,as ourown Consciences do, is folly and distraction : fine* we must be judged, our great care and concernment should be, that when we are judged, we may not be condemned ; and the most effectual way to prevent this, is to do nothing which our 4 Conscience condemns: it is possible indeed, that men who sin wilfully against a known Duty, may recover themselves by Repentance, and obtain Mercy through the Merits and Mediation of Jesus Christ; but it does not become any man,who believes a Judgment, to Jin, that grace may abounds these Hopes very often deceive men, and will always do so, till they come to this Resolution, never to violate a known Duty, to provoke the Justice, or to exercise the Patience and Forbearance of G O D. There is no other way to escape the Condemnation of the last Judgment, but by a resolved Obedience to theDivineLaws; and therefore if we believe we shall be judged, nothing can be more necessary, nor more becoming, than to make this the constant Rule of our Actions, never to do any thing for which wq know God will condemn us, nothing but what