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most beloved Mistress, and will tremble in the
But this is necessary for all Men, as well as
ift. For this will preserve their Innocence and Vertue, and prevent the Terrors and Agonies of a late Repentance: All the Kindness the Thoughts of Judgment can do to Old Sinners, is to put a stop to them, and to bring them to Repentance : And this is a very great
kindness, if it makes them true Penitents, bei cause it will save their Souls. And this is that which most Sinners desire, to enjoy the Pleasures of Sin as long as they can, and to repent before they die : And thus they think they adjust all Interests, gratifie the Flesh, and fave their Souls at last.
But if these Men ever prove true Penitents, they become very sensible of their mistake: They wish then when it is too late, that they had remembred their Creator in the days of their youth; that they had preserved themselves from the Pollutions of Flesh and Sense; they feel by sad Experience, what an evil and a bitter thing it is to sin against God: How amazing the shame, how sharp the sorrow of Repentance is : It is a very melancholy and disconsolate Work, when Men draw near their end, to look back upon a vicious and profligate Life, to have their whole Lives to unlive again; to abhor themselves for what they have done, and to look forward with trembling into the other World: For such late Penitents generally carry the marks of their Repentance in Thame and forrow to the Grave with them. · All this Young Men may prevent, if they will but think of Judgment in their Youth, and govern their Lives under a sense of it: This will make them remember their Creator in the days of their youth, and consecrate their render Age to his Service : It will preserve them from Youthful Lufts, from all enormous Crimes, and give them the hamble Assurance and Confidence of dutiful Children in their Addresses to God: When they draw near a conclusion of
their Lives, they review their past Victories over the World and the Flesh with the securest Triumphs: The little Follies, and Indiscretions, and Miscarriages which the best Men are subject to, will keep them humble, and teach them to trust only in the Merits and Intercession of Christ; but when they have made it the whole business of their Lives to please God, though with the common Weaknesses and Infirmities of Humane Nature, they feel great Peace of mind and assurance of the Love of God; and the nearer their work is to an end, the more securely they triumph.
What a happy ftate shall we think this, when Death and Judgment are in view! to feel so sweet a Calm in our Breasts ! to have so joyful a Prospect before us! and who would not think of Judgment when he is young, that the hope and expectation of it may be the Comfort and Support of Age; that then he may review his past Life, not to undo what he has done, but to taste the Pleasures, and to reap the Rewards of it in present Peace of Mind, and great Hopes.
2dly. There is another Advantage which Young Men may make of the early thoughts of Judgment, which old Sinners have lost, and can never retrieve by all their Repentance, viz. To make great Advances and Attainments in Piety and Vertue, which will greatly augment their Reward. Men who sin on till Old Age, though they prove true Penitents at laft, can never recover this;. for their time is past, and their youthful Strength and Vigour spent, and the Scene of Action over; they can never re
call thirry or forty Years påst, in which if they had improved their time well, they might have done great Service to God and to Religion, and great Good to Men; but those who are beginning their Lives, if they start right at first, and pursue an even and steady Course of Piery and Vertue, if they keep the future Judgment, and the next World always in their Eye, what Improvements will they make! what rich Treasures and glorious Rewards may they expect from that Righteous Judge, who will render to every man according to his Works!
The moit that a Penitent can expect after a long Life spent in Wickedness and Folly, is to get to Heaven, and it is infinite Mercy in God to accept of such Penitents; but the bright and dazling Crowns are reserved for thole who have spent their Lives well, and glorified God. on Earth, and finished the Work he gave them to do: Such Men will triumph at the Conclufion of their Race and Warfare, as St. Paul did, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness
I know this will not affect those Men now who love their Sins, and desire to keep them as long as they can ; they will be very well fatisfied if they can but get to Heaven at last
, how mean soever their Station be there ; for they are not so desirous to go to Heaven, as to escape Hell; and if they can but keep out of Hell, it is all they hope for: But Men muft have a greater Spirit, a more Divine and Generous Temper of Soul, before they can get to Heaven : If ever they prove true. Penitents,
the loss of so many opportunities of doing Good, and the loss of any degrees of Glory they might have had, will both shame and affict them. I am sure the greater Rewards we expect in the other World, the greater degrees of Glory and Happiness, the greater will our Joy and Triumph be.
Are not Men in this. World as fond of Happiness, as they are afraid of Misery? Does not a great Mind despise little things, and aim at what is great ? And is there not as much reason to aim at the highest Happiness, we are capable of in the next World, as well as in this?
This is the noble Prize I would propose to Young Men : You are now beginning your Race, your Day is but in its Dawn ; if
you rise with the Sun, and work hard all day, and spend your whole Lives in God's Service, what a great deal of work will you do, and what a proportionably great Reward will you have ? This you will do, if you make thé Thoughts of Judgment familiar to you; this will keep a constant Guard upon your Adions, this will excite and quicken your Industry, this will make you stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of our Lord, as knowing, that your labour Shall not be in vain in the Lord.