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(as those two angels did Lot in Sodom,) to warn us of the dire fate that hángs over' us, our affections, like the drunken Sodomites, are presently all in an uproar, and will never be quiet till those unwelcome guests be thrown out that disturb their riots, and mingle harsh discords with our jovial airs. And so long as we continue in this light vain temper, there is nothing will be grateful to us, but frothy mirth, or loose company, or gay ideas of ourselves, and of our own wit, or wealth, or beauty, or finery. And thus we shall fool away our lives in perpetual vanity and impertinence; in rolling about from vanity to vanity, and never be serious, till we are forced to it by some woful experience. But now to fix such a roving and volatile temper, and thereby to render it accessible and hospitable to wise and good thoughts, I know nothing more necessary than the frequent remembrance of our mortality : for as for the future worlds of endless joy and torment, though they are in themselves the most serious things in the world; yet being both future and invisible, vain and sensual minds are not so capable of apprehending them with that degree of certainty that is necessary to render them affecting and prevalent: but that we must die, we are all as certain of as of our present existence; and therefore this, if any thing, must move and af

If therefore, together with those gay ideas that possess our minds, we would ever and anon mingle that of our mortality, that would soon reduce our squandered thoughts, and make us serious in despite of our teeth. As for instance; when in thy night-thoughts thou art priding thyself in the pomp and splendour of thy outward condition, think thus with thyself: Alas! within a little while this bed

fect us.

which now is as gay and as soft as the sleep and the sins it entertains, must be my death-bed; here I must lie a languishing sad corpse, which nothing in this world can help or ease : so that though now I should go on to add house to house, and lands to lands, even till I am become the lord of all my horizon; yet in that sad hour all these will be no more able to relieve me, than the landscape of them upon my walls, or my hangings: then may I as successfully go to my pictures, and try to entertain my mirth and luxuries with them, or to recreate my ear with hearkening after painted sounds, or to gratify my palate with the image of a feast, as to give myself any ease or content with these gay things I am now so proud of. And when at length I have groaned away my fleeting breath, I must be removed from all my company and attendance into a dark, lonely, and desolate hole of earth, where all my present pomp must expire, and be overcast with everlasting death. Again, when in the morning thou art entertaining thy vanity with thy beauty, thy wit, or thy fine clothes, think thus with thyself : Alas, fond soul! all these gay objects of thy pride must ere long convert to rottenness and corruption; that curled forehead must be bedewed with clammy sweats; those sprightly eyes must wax as dim as a sullied mirror; that charming voice must grow as weak as the faint echoes of a distant valley ; and all those lilies and roses on thy cheeks must wither into the paleness of death, and shroud themselves in the horrors of the grave. Again, when in the afternoon thou hast been entertaining thyself with mirth, or sport, or luxury, go down into the charnel-house, and there survey a while the numerous trophies of victorious death : in these ghastly mirrors thou beholdest the true resemblance of thy future state. Forty years ago that naked skull was covered, like thine, with a thick fleece of curled and comely locks; those empty holes were filled with eyes that looked as charmingly as thine; those hollow pits were blanched with cheeks that were smooth and amiable as thine; that grinning mouth did smile as gracefully and speak as fluently as thine; and a few days hence thou must be rotting into just such another spectacle; and forty years hence perhaps, here may thy naked ribs be found mingled with these scattered bones : and then should another take up thy bald skull as thou dost this, he will find it dressed in all the selfsame horrors of this death's head; with its nose sunk, its jaws gaping, its mouth grinning, and worms crawling in at those empty holes wherein now thy eyes roll in amorous glances ; and a toad perhaps engendering in that brain, that is now so full of sprightly thoughts and gay ideas. If with these or such like considerations of mortality we would now and then entertain ourselves, they would by degrees wear off the levity and vanity of our minds, and compose us into such a degree of seriousness as is necessary to qualify us for those divine and religious considerations, without which we can never expect either to be made good men here or happy hereafter.

III. That we should frequently remember our mortality in the midst of our most happy circumstances here, is highly necessary to put us upon improving our present enjoyments to the best purposes, considering what use the generality of men make of the enjoyments of this world. It is really a great question, whether it would not be much better for

them, even in respect of this life, to be without them, than with them. For either they shrivel them into miserableness, or melt them into luxury; the former of which impoverishes, and the latter diseases them. For if the former be the effect of a man's prosperous condition, it increases his needs; because before he needed only what he had not; but now he needs bóth what he hath not and what he hath; his covetous desires treating him as the falconer doth his hawk, still luring him off from what he hath seized to fly at new game, and never permitting him to prey upon his own quarry. And if the latter be the effect of his prosperity, that is, if it melts him into luxury, it thereby wastes his health to be sure, and commonly his estate too: and so whereas it found him poor and well, it leaves him poor and diseased; and whereas it at first took him up from the plough, it at last sets him down at the hospital. And in general, while he is possessed of it, it only bloats and swells him; makes him proud and insolent, griping and oppressive; pampers and enrages his lust, and stretches out his desires into an insatiable boulimy; sticks his mind full of cares, and his conscience of guilts: and by all these woful effects inflames his reckoning with God, and treasures up wrath for himself against the day of wrath. All which arises from the want of a frequent remembrance of our mortality. For did we but often ruminate upon this, that it is but a very little while that we have to enjoy the comforts of this life, and that within a very few years, yea perhaps a few days, we shall be stripped of them all, and be sent as nakedly out of this world as ever we came in : and when we are gone hence, of all the goods that we have left behind

VOL. IV.

us we shall have nothing to live upon to eternity, but only the good that we did with them, the necessities that we relieved, the oppressions that we eased, the nakedness that we clothed, and the hunger that we satisfied: these indeed will follow after us, and feed us with content and happiness to eternal ages. Bat if we are destitute of these, we shall ere long be shipped off from all our present enjoyments, and be landed in another world upon a strange, inhospitable shore, and there be left miserable poor wretches, without so much as one drop of the comforts we now enjoy, to satisfy our tormenting desires, or to quench our still raging thirst after happiness: then we shall wish a thousand and a thousand times over, that instead of gratifying our luxuries with the mispence of our wealth, or feeding our insatiate avarice with the continual increase of it, we had, by doing works of piety and charity with it, made ourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that 'so, when we failed, they might receive us into everlasting habitations, and there entertain us with pleasure and delight for ever.

Well then, seeing that ere it be long we must leave all these our present possessions behind us, it highly concerns us, while we enjoy them, to do all the good that we are able with them. And seeing we are allowed to carry nothing of them but the good we do with them along with us, to enrich and maintain us in our eternal condition, by doing good with our wealth we shall convert and proselyte it, and make that an offering which others make an idol; we shall make this earth tributary to heaven, and, in a much nobler sense than the new system of astronomy teaches, advance it into a star and a ce

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