« AnteriorContinua »
nite importance to them (their happiness or misery to all eternity) that I know not what name of reproach to give it, that is bad enough for it.
Serious Advice by Way of Conclusion. Let me therefore beseech you all who shall read this, that you would not suffer yourselves to be deluded with that fatal mistake of many wilful sinners, who vainly hope, that the sorrow which they reserve to be expressed on their death-beds, will be sufficient to atone for the wicked and unchristian conduct of their whole past lives; whereby many souls have been lost and undone for ever; but that you would practise repentance in the time of your health, by forsaking your sins betimes, and living a good and virtuous life to the glory of God, as he has commanded, and you solemnly engaged to do at your holy baptism.
Then, when the sad night of sickness and death draws near, the reflections upon a well-spent life, or on having been true and sincere penitents, will be the richest cordials to refresh and comfort you, in that dismal hour of weakness and pain; then will the joyful hopes and expectations of that rest and happiness which God has promised in the next world to all good men and repenting sinners, alleviate all your present pains, and make you willing and even desirous to depart out of this world, that you may enter into the possession of the heavenly mansions above, there to rejoice with joy unspeakable with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and all the holy angels and saints, for ever and ever.
A Prayer for a holy and happy Death. O most holy and righteous LORD God, who in thy great wisdom hast appointed Death for all men, and made it an entrance into the next world, where we must be happy or miserable to all eternity: 0 do thou, by thy good providence, and the gracious assistance of thy Holy Spirit, conduct me so safely through all the dangers and temptations of this mortal life; that when the time of my great change shall come, that I must go
hence and be no more seen, I may be prepared for it in such a manner, as may, through thine own infinite compassion, and the infinite merits of my dear Saviour, procure for me a happy entrance into the blessed regions of rest and peace, there to wait for thy coming, and then to partake of the glories of thy kingdom with all thy blessed saints and servants, who have lived in thy fear, and died in thy favour, and with them and all thy holy angels sing thy praises to all eternity. dmen.
O BLESSED JESUS, who camest down from heaven to be the Saviour of mankind, by dying for them, and by thy Death hast taken out the sting of Death, and made it an entrance to eternal life; O fit and prepare me for it, by teaching me so to number my days, that I may apply my heart unto true wisdom; and in the days of health and prosperity may so consider my latter end, that when the time of my departure shall come, I may not be surprised at it, but may meet Death without fear and amazement: and with a wellgrounded hope of thy mercy and goodness, may cheerfully resign up my soul into thy hands, being willing and even desirous to leave this world, when thou, my God and Saviour, in thy great wisdom, shall see it fitting to be done.
I know, O LORD, that the cruel enemy of souls will then be trying all his arts to affright me with his terrors, and to disturb me in my passage into the other world; but do thou, O blessed LORD, defend me from all his assaults and delusions. And I most humbly beseech thee, strengthen my faith, and enable me, by the consolations of thy Holy Spirit, entirely to trust to thee: and when my Death approaches, be thou pleased to give thy holy angels charge to stand as a guard about me, to receive my soul into their hands, and conduct it safely to the blessed mansions, which thou hast prepared for all thy faithful servants. Amen, Amen.
The second of the Four last Things (as they are called) which I proposed to treat of, is the future JUDGMENT. This I shall endeavour to do in such a manner, as may, I hope, be most likely to persuade all those, who shall seriously consider what I shall say concerning it, to make it the main business of their lives to be sincerely good, and just, and holy in this world, in order to prepare themselves to appear before the “ judgment-seat of Christ' at the end of it, when they are to receive from him their final sentence to happiness or misery for all eternity, according to the good or evil of their doings. The method wherein I propose to proceed in treating of this great and important article of a future judgment shall be this:
First, I will shew the certainty of a future Judg
ment. Secondly, When this Judgment shall be. Thirdly, Who is to be the Judge, viz. CHRIST
JESUS; and what the solemnity of his appearing to that end will be.
Fourthly, Who are the persons that are to be
judged. Fifthly, What they are to be judged for. Sixthly, What will be the consequence of this
The Certainty of a future Judgment.
Now this is not only expressly declared to us in the holy and infallible word of God, but he has given to mankind many other intimations of his will concerning it: such as must needs convince every considering man of the truth of it, that thus it shall be.
First, As to the places of the Holy Scripture, wherein this is plainly and in express words revealed to us, they are so many, that I need mention only some few of them. Thus in Heb. ix. 27. it is declared to us to be the determinate counsel of Almighty God, actually to judge the world; “ It is appointed unto alí men once to die, but after this the judgment." As death is appointed to be the conclusion of this life to all men, so is a Judgment of all to follow that death. The one is as certain as the other. Thus also St. Paul assures us, 2 Cor. v. 10, “ We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Thus also again, Rom. ii. 5, 6, there shall be “ a revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (viz. at the end of the world, “ who will then render to every man according to his deeds." Thus also we are told, Eccles. xii. 14. “ God shall bring every work into Judgment, with every secret thing ; whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
Secondly, as to the other intimation of God's will concerning a future Judgment of all men, these likewise are very plain to all that will duly consider