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, many Mercies of several Sorts, he hath bestowed upon us, what Hopes we have by the Gospel of good Things, that exceed all our Thoughts in everlasting Life? There is no Question to be made of it, but you have such an Opportunity at this present, that if you would improve it well, you would find inore Time every Day, to do your Souls Justice. You would say, O my Soul, why dost thou forget thy felf? One thing is needful, let us not trouble our selves so much about these unnecessary Things. O let us go to God, and seek his Favour and Blessing; let us hear what he says to us in holy Word : Did not the Servants of God heretofore rejoice in this, more than in thousands of Gold and Silver ? Let us share with thein in this Joy, who have greater Treasures of Wifdom and knowledge opened unto us in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus: Let us not negle& fuch great Salvation ; for if they escaped not who heard not him that spake on Earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven. Heb. x. 25.
We do not wish you to be idle, when we give you this Advice, for that's not good for
your Souls no more than for your Bodies; nor do we bid you to be improvident, to have no Forecast, or not to inake Use of an Opportunity for the increasing your Estates, for this would be to take from Men all Prudence: All that God requires of you is, that you would not so attend to these earthly Things, as to let slip the Opportunities you have for the good of your Souls ; that you
would not be so laborious for the outward Man, as to be idle in working out your Salvation ; he that is fo, and thinks himself sufficiently saved from blame, because he hath himself and Family to make provision for, will find one Day that lie might have been contented with lefs Riches, and have minded also the Affairs of his Soul, and had never the less of these worldly Goods. This if you did believe (and it is a certain Truth) it would make you at present more mindful of Heaven; and save you the Labour hereafter of bewailing unprofitably the Loss of such an ineftimable Happiness. May not even a labouring Man before he go forth to his Work
forth to his work in the Morning adress himself to God, and say,
Lord I am thine, thou hast made me, and bitherto maintained me: I have received such and such Mercies from thee; I am in Health, and have the Use of my Limbs, and am able to work j blessed be thy Name I never wanted Food
since I came into this World; I love thee, O Lord, with all my Heart, I will ever love thee and do thy Will; I am resolu'd to depend upon thee, and put my Trust in thee for ever ; I will keep thy Commandments with my whole Heart, and esteem thy pretious Promises more than all Riches; bless me I beseech thee, and be with me all this Day; preserve me from Murmuring and Envy, and make me more thankful for all thy Blessings, and bring me by patient Continuance in well duing to eternel Life.
May he not, I say, pour out his Heart in these or the like Delires to God?. What Hin
drance will this be to him? Nay, if he have any Faith, God will the more bless and prosper hin. And may he not, if he can read, take a good Book along with him, and when he rests and refreshes himself, read a little, and think of it afterward with himself ? Or may he not meditate on the Sermon he hears to day, and pray to God fervently that he may have Grace to pra&tise those holy Truths which have been inade known to him?
What then may not they do, who have more Riches, and are Masters of more Time and better Opportunities ? Is there any need that they should be still covering and stretching their Designs after more abundance? To what Purpose is it that they aspire after such and such Dignities? May they not fit down and be happy, tho' they never ascend to that Heighth of Honour ? Perhaps they fancy that if they had but such Additions to their Riches and Greatness as they defire, then they should find more Leisure to attend to their Souls, and certainly improve it. Alas! this is a mere Delusion like all the rest ; for they that have gotten up to the very highest Step upon Fortune's Ladder, the great Emperors, I inean, of the World, who had ill Men at their command, did not find their Thoughts advanced nearer Heaven by this Means; after they had cloyed themselves with all the Variety of Delights, which their large Dominions could furnish their Desires withal, still they could find no Appetite after diviner. Enjoyments, their Thoughts run still the same Way, infomuch
that when they had surfeited on the greater Pleasures of this World, rather than look higher, they betook themselves for a Cure to the most contemptible Divertiseinents, and the meanest Recreations of the Vulgar, nay, of little Children; One of them (as a rare Person of our own Nation, hath expressed better than I can do) who stiled himself Lord and God of the whole Earth, could not tell how Cowl. Es. to pass his Day pleasantly, without spending two or three Hours in catching Flies and killing them with his Bodkin, a most wor• thy Employment for an earthly God : One of his Predecessors (Nero) could divert himself with no Pastime more agreeable than to run about the Streets all Night, in a Disguise, abusing all he met withal, sometimes beating them, and sometimes being beaten by them; this was one of his imperial nocturnal Pleasures, and his chiefest in the Day, was to sing and play upon a Fiddle in the Habit of a Minstrel, on a publick Stage, being prouder of the Garlands given to his Divine Voice (as his Flatterers called it) in those goodly Prizes, than his Forefathers were of their Triumphs over Nations. Augustus himself the most fortunate of all Mankind, and a Person endowed with inany excellent Gifts of Nature, was so hard put to it for want of Recreations, as to be found playing at Nuts and bounding-Stones with little Boys, whose Company he took delight in, for their Prating and Wantonness.
All which I mention to Thew how Men are like to deceive themselves, 'who imagine that when they are greater, they shall be more vacant than they are now for their spiritual Affairs; they will still in all Probability find themselves something else to do, if they be not at Leisure now; and rather than do as they should, they will play the Fool, and pass their Time in idle and childish Employments : Oh! how terribly will this witness against them, when then they shall appear before the great Lord and Judge of all! Take occasion, I beseech from thence to think how dreadful the Day of Christ will be, it will be a Day of great Conviction and Amazeing Reproof; you will see then, there was no Reason that the Knowledge of our Lord should be so neglected ; and the saving Truths of this heavenly Book should be left only to Men of Learning, or of great Leisure ; and that the Son of God did not come into the World, to pat us into an impossible Way to Heaven; you had better be convinced of it now, and apply your selves to the knowing and doing of his Will, than stay till that day of Terror come.
And that you may be the more awakened and ingaged to Mind what hath been said ; let me proceed to the second Inference from this Do&trine of Contentment,
II. which may serve highly to recommend to us the Excellency of the Christian Religion. There is nothing so worthy of your Study and Pains ; no