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tes morimur, fi
not either late repentance, or long life; not late repentance, because it is much to be feared, left that the repentance, which the fear of death enforceth, dies with a man dying.And the Hypocrite, who deceived others in his life, may deceive himself in his death. God accepteth none but Free-will-offerings, and the repentance that pleaseth him, muft be voluntary,and not of constraint. Not long life, for old age will fall upon e Nafcenthe neck of youth; and as nothing is more fure than death, fo nothing is more uncertain than the time of nique ab dying. Yea,oftentimes when ripeness of fin is haftened pendet; by outragioufnefs of finning, God fuddenly cutteth Et pubeoff fuch vicious livers, either with the Sword, intempe- junta feneita rateness, luxury, furfeit, or some other fearful manner premit. of fickness. Mayeft thou not fee, that it is the evil fpi- Mani. rit that perfwades thee to defer thy Repentance till old age; when Experience tells thee, that not one of a fNequithousand that takes thy courfe, doth ever attain unto non finit effe jeit? Let Gods Holy Spirit move thee not to give thy elle eself any longer & to eat and drink with the drunken, left g Mat. tby Mafter fend death for thee in a day, when thou lookeft 27.49. not for him,and in an hour that thou art not aware of,and fo fuddenly cut thee off, and appoint thee thy portion with the Hypocrites, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. But if thou loveft long life, fear God, and long b Deut. for life everlasting. The longeft life here, when it is come to the period, will appear to have been but as a * tale that is told, a vanishing vapour, a flitting1 fha- i Prov. don, a feeming dream, a glorious flower, growing, 34.11. and flourishing in the morning, but in the evening cut oral. down and withered; or like a P Weavers shuttle, which co.9. by winding here and there fwiftly unwindeth it felf to James an end. It is but a moment, faith St. Paul. Oh then " val. the madness of man! that for a moment of finful plea- nial. fure will hazard the lofs of an eternal weight of glory. 76.5.
& 90.5.. 91Pet.1.24. pPfal.90.6. qIsa. 38. 12. † 2 Cor. 4. 17. ƒ Heb.11.25. 2 Cor. 4. 17. Thefe
16.9. Luke 8.2
These are the feven chief hinderers of Piety, which Mark must be caft out like Mary Magdalens feven Devils, before ever thou canft become a true practiser of Piety, or have any found hope to enjoy either favour from Chrift by grace, or fellowship with him in glory.
O conclude all; forafmuch as thou feeft, that without Chrift thou art but a flave of fin, Deaths vaffal,and Worms meat, whofe thoughts are vain, whose deeds are vile,whofe pleafures have scarce beginnings, whofe miferies never know end: What wife man would incur thefe hellish torments, though he might by living in fin, purchase to himself for a time, the Empire of Auguftus, the riches of Crafus, the pleasures of Solomon, the policy of Achitophel, the voluptuous fare, and fine apparel of Dives? for what should it avail a man (as our Saviour faith) to win the whole world for a time, and then to lofe his foul in Hell for ever?
And feeing that likewife thou feeft how great is thy happiness in Chrift,and how vain are the binderances that debar thee from the fame: beware (as the Apoftle exhorteth) of the deceitfulness of fin, Heb.3.13. For that fin which feems now to be lo pleafing to thy corrupt nature, will one day prove the bittereft enemy to thy diftreffed foul: and in the mean while harden (unawares) thine impenitent heart.
Sin (as a Serpent) feems beautiful to the cye: but take heed of the sting behind : whose venomous effects if thou kneweft, thou wouldeft as carefully flie from fin, as from a Serpent: for,
1. Sin did never any man good: and the more fin a man hath committed, the more odious he hath made himself to God, the more hateful to all good men.
2. Sin brought upon thee all the evil, croffes, loffes, difgraces, and ficknees, that ever befel thee: Fools
(faith David) by reason of their tranfgreffions, and becaufe of their iniquities, ore afflicted, Pfal. 107. 17. Jeremy in lamenting manner asketh the queftion, "Wherefore is the living man forrowful? The Holy Ghoft Lam. anfwereth him,Man fuffereth for his fin. Hereupon the Prophet takes up that doleful out-cry againft fin as the caufe of all their miferies, "We now unto us that ever Lam. we have finned.
3. If thou doeft not speedily repent thee of thy fins, they will bring upon thee yet far greater plagues,loffes, croffes, fhame and Judgments, than ever hitherto befel thee. Read Levit, 26. 18, &c. Deut. 20. 15, &c.
4. And lastly, if thou wilt not caft off thy fin, God (when the measure of thine iniquity is full) will caft thee off for thy fin; for as he is juft, fo he hath power to kill and caft into Hell, all hardened and impenitent finners. If therefore thou wilt avoid the curfed effects of fin in this life, and the eternal wrath due thereto in the world to come, and be affured that thou art not one of those who are given over to a reprobate sense; Let then (Ofinner) my counfel be acceptable unto thee: Dan. break off thy fins by righteoufnefs, and thine iniquities by Shewing mercy towards the poor: Olet there (at length) be an healing of thine error. Nathan used but one parable, and David was converted; Jonas preached 2 Sam. but once to Ninive, and the whole City repented; a Jonas Chrift looked but once on Peter, and he went out and 3.5, &c. wept bitterly. And now, that thou art oft and fo lo- 22 62. vingly intreated, not by a Prophet, but by Christ the Lord of Prophets: yea, that God himself by his Embal fador doth pray thee to be reconciled unto him: leave 2 Cor. off thine adultery with David: repent of thy fins. 20. like a true Ninivite; and whilft Chrift looketh in mercy upon thee, leave thy wicked companions, and weep bitterly for thine offences.
Content not thy felf with that formal Religion, which unregenerate men have framed to themfelves
Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pbarifees, ye shall in no cafe enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Confider with thy felf,how far thou comeft fhort of the Pharifees, in fasting, praying, frequenting the Church, and in giving of Alms. Think with thy felf how many Pagans, who never knew Baptifm, yet in moral virtues, and bonefty of life, do go far beyond thee.Where is then the life of Chrift thy Mafter? and how far art thou from being a true Chriftian? If thou doft willingly yield to live in any one grofs fin, thou canst not have a regenerated foul; Mark though thou reformeft thy felf like Herod, from many other vices. A true Chriftian must have refpect to walk in the truth of his heart, in all the Commandf James ments of God alike: for (faith St. James) He that hall offend in one point of the Law (wilfully) is guilty of 1Pet. all. And Peter bids us & lay afide (not fome but) all malice, guile, and bypocrifies, &c. One fin is enough to damn a mans foul, without Repentance: dream not to go to heaven, by any nearer, or eafter way than Chrift hath trained to us in his word. The way to heaven is not eafie, or common, but ftrait and narraw: yea fo narrow, that Chrift protefteth that a Rich man fhall hardly enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and that those who enter, are but a few: and that those 7. 14. & few cannot get in, but by striving: and that fome of thofe who ftrive to enter in, fhall not be able. This all Luke 13 God Saints (whilft they here lived) knew well: when
instead of fincere devotion: for, in the multitude of opinions, most men have almost loft the practice of true Religion. Think not that thou art a Chriftian good enough, becanse thou doeft as the most, and art not fo bad as the moft. No man is fo wicked, that he is addicted to all kind of vices(for there is an Antipathy 'twixt some vices :) But remember that Chrift faith,
with fo often fastings, fo earneft prayers, fo frequent hearing the Word, and receiving the Sacraments, and
with fuch abundance of tears, they devoutly begged at the hands of God for Chrifts fake to be received into his Kingdom.
If thou wilt not believe this truth, I affure thee that the Bevil, which perfwades thee now, that it is cafie to attain Heaven, will tell thee hereafter, that it is the hardest bufinefs in the world. If therefore thou art defirous to purchafe found affurance of falvation to thy foul; and to go the right and fafe way to Heaven: get forthwith (like a wife Virgin) the Oyl of Mat. Piety in the Lamp of thy Converfation, that thou mayeft be in a continual readiness to meet the Bridegroom, whether he cometh by Death,or by Judgment. Which that thou mayeft the better do, let this be thy daily practice.
How a private man must begin the Morning with Piety.
foon as ever thou the door of thy heart fait fhut, that no earthly thoughts may enter, before that God be come in firft: and let him (before all others) have the first place m Primitherein, So all evil thoughts, either will not dare to cordis come in, or fhall the eafier be kept out, and the heart Deo of will more favour of piety and godliness all the day af- Amb. in ter. But if thy heart be not (at the firft waking) filled Pfal. with fome meditations of GOD, and his Word, and dreffed like the Lamp in the Tabernacle every morn- " Exod. ing and evening, with the Oyl Olive of Gods Word; 27. and perfumed with the Sweet incenfe of Prayer: Sa- • Exod. tan will attempt to fill it with worldly cares, or flesh- 30.6,7ly defires, fo that it will grow unfit for the fervice of God all the day after, sending forth nothing, but the ftench of corrupt and lying words, and of rafh and blafphemous Oaths.
Begin therefore every days work, with Gods Word and Prayer; and offer up unto God upon the Altar