« הקודםהמשך »
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 mult 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 muß be judged, every man knows this without a Teacher, who 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 Myftery 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 and obvious, I shall briefly suggest fome Rules
to you, which you must all acknowledge very reasonable at the firft hearing, and which if well observed, would make us lift up our Heads in the Day of Judgment, and expe& it without Aftonishment 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, and Impetus, without confidering 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 hereaftur ; and therefore we ought to live by Rule ico, which no man can do,who does not consider well,what
he does, before he does it: it will be an ill Plea at the Day of Judgment to say, that
we did not consider what we did; that we lived without Care, without Thought, without Observation; for this is not an allowable Plea for a Reasonable Creature, much less for one who knowshe
must be judged : For why did you live without Thought,without 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 aced without Reason, and a wise Consideration of Things ? This is the great Degeneracy of Human Nature 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 to consider our own Ways, when we know God considers them, and will require an account of them, is a con-. tempt 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 do 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
Fancy, and the more wild and extravagant it is, the more entertaining, without any regard to Virtue or Vice, to Decency and Honour, the least thought of which is a Prophanation of these Bedlamyfteries: 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: buc it is ridiculous to imagine , if we must be judged, that such Frolicks as thefe shall be allow'd in the Account, or pass for Cyphers and empty Scenes of Life, to signifie no more than they were intended for ; that becaufe we chuse at such a time to act without Reafon and Consideration, therefore GOD should demand no Reason nor Account of fuch Actions,
And yet a very great part of the World, tho they do not run into fuch 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 wise design; any extempore Project has chem, which starts up in their Minds, or ftrikes 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 Pallions, which are fo vehement and impetuous,and always in so much hafte, 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 of when Cheir Passion is ovefr
Öshers are more fixt and resolved in their way; they have chose such a course of Life as they like beft, and they are refolved to pursue it, and thao nothing shall put them out of it, and therefore they resolve against thinking too, left that fhould disturb them, and give check to their Enjoyments :
They will neither liften to their own Consciences, nor hearken to the Importunities of their Friends nor be persuaded to consider, what the probable end of all their Adions will be, both in this World, and in the next.
These are all unthinkinguficonfidering Sinners; but you will all confess, that thefe men do not live as if they were to be judged; and therefore if we believe that we shall be judgedy none of us ought to live thus: we ought to consider well beforehand, what we do, that we may be able to give a reasonable Account of it,, when we have done it; for if we muft give a reason of our Actions, when we have done them, we ought to know a reafon for them, before we do them and therefore we must accuftom our Minds to a grave and serious Confideration of things, to live byReason, not by Humour and Fancy, not by the Impetus and Fury of Passion, which is a very ill Counsellor; much less to pursue our Lufts with an affected and resolved Ignorance and Blindnefs for all this will not prevent our being judged, but will make us very unable to give a good account of our felves when we are.
2. As we must act with great Consideration, so we must make it the standing Principle and Rule of our Lives, never to do any thing but what we can give a good account of; either what we know is our Dury, 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 Adions, for which our own Consciences condemn us, and for which we knowGodwill ascertainly condemn us, as ourown Consciences do, is folly and distraction : since we must be judged, our great care and concernment lould 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 Conscience condemns: it is poffible 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 Chrift; but it does not become any man who believes a Judgment, te fin, that grace may abound; 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 GOD. There is no other way to escape the Condemnation of the last Judgment, but by á resolved Obedience to the Divine Laws; and therefore if we believe we shall be judged, noching can be more necessary, nor more becoming, than to make this the constant Rule of our Adions, never to do any thing for which we know God will condemn us, nothing but what