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heinous and horrible offences committed, many pious works and godly deeds omitted, and neither of both repented, your service to God promised, and not performed !
O, how inconsolable were your case, your friends being fled, your senses affrighted, your thoughts amazed, your memory decayed, and your whole mind aghast, and no part able to perform what it should; but only your guilty conscience pestered with sin, that would continually upbraid you with many bitter accusations !
0, what would you think then, being stripped out of this mortal weed, and turned both out of service and houseroom of this wicked world, you are forced to enter into uncouth and strange paths, and with unknown and ugly company, to be convented before a most severe judge, carrying in your conscience your indictment, written in a perfect register of all your misdeeds, when you shall see him prepared to give sentence upon you, against whom you have so often transgressed, and the same to be your umpire, whom by so many offences you have made your enemy, when not only the Devil, but even the angels would plead against you, and your ownself, in despite of yourself, be your own most sharp impeacher!
0, what would you do in these dreadful exigents, when you saw the ghastly dragon, and huge gulf of hell, breakin gout with most fearful flames; when you heard the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, the rage of those hellish monsters, the horror of the place, the terror of the company, and the eternity of all those torments!
Would you then think them wise that should delay in so weighty matters, and idly play away the time allotted, to prevent these intolerable calamities? would you then count it secure, to nurse in your own bosom so many serpents as sins, and to foster in your soul so many malicious accusers, as mortal and horrible offences ? would you not think one life too little to repent in for so many and so great iniquities, every one whereof were enough to throw you into those unspeakable and intolerable torments ? And why then (alas!) do you not at the least devote that small remnant, and surplusage of these your latter days, procuring to make an atonement with God; and to free your soul and conscience from that corruption which by your fall hath crept into it? Those very eyes that behold and read this discourse, those very ears that are attentive to hear it, and that very understanding that considereth and conceiveth it, shall be cited as certain witnesses of these rehearsed things. In your own body shall you experience these deadly agonies, and in your soul shall you feelingly find these terrible fears; yea, and your present estate is in danger of the deepest harms, if you do not the sooner recover yourself into that fold and family of God's faithful servants.
What have you got by being so long a customer to the world, but false ware, suitable to the shop of such a merchant, whose traffick is toil, whose wealth is trash, and whose gain is misery? What interest have you reaped, that might equal your detriment in grace and virtue? or what could you find in the vale of tears, that was answerable to the favour of God, with loss whereof you were contented to buy it?
You cannot now be inveigled with the passions of youth, which, making a partiality of things, sets no distance between counterfeit and current; for these are now worn out of force, by tract of time are fallen into reproof, by trial of their folly.
O let not the crazy cowardice of flesh and blood daunt the prowess of an intelligent person, who by his wisdom cannot but discern how much more cause there is, and how much more needful it is, to serve God than this wicked world!
But if it be the ungrounded presumption of the mercy of God, and the hope of his assistance at the last plunge, (which indeed is the ordinary lure of the Devil to reclaim sinners from the pursuit of repentance :) alas ! that is too palpable a collusion to mislead a sound and sensible man, howsoever it may prevail with sick and ill-affected judgments. Who would rely in eternal affairs upon the gliding
slipperiness and running streams of our uncertain life? who, but one of distempered wits, would offer fraud to the Decipherer of all thoughts; with whom dissemble we may to our cost, but to deceive him is impossible ?
Shall we esteem it cunning to rob the time from him, and bestow it on his enemies, who keepeth tale of the least minutes, and will examine in the end how every moment hath been employed ? It is a preposterous kind of policy, in any wise conceit to fight against God till our weapons be blunted, our forces consumed, our limbs impotent, and our best time spent; and then when we fall for faintness, and have fought ourselves almost dead, to presume on his mercy.
O! no, no; the wounds of his most sacred body, so often rubbed and renewed by our sins, and every part and parcel of our bodies so divers and sundry ways abused, will be then as so many whetstones and incentives to edge and exasperate his most just revenge against us.
It is a strange piece of art, and a very exorbitant course, when the ship is sound, the pilot well, the mariners strong, the gale favourable, and the sea calm, tą lie idly in the road, during so seasonable weather : and when the ship leaketh, the pilot sick, the mariners faint, the storms boisterous, and the seas a turmoil of outrageous surges, then to launch forth, hoist up sail, and set out for a long voyage into a far country,
Yet such is the skill of these evening repenters, who though in the soundness of their health, and perfect use of their reason, they cannot resolve to cut the cables, and weigh the anchor that withholds them from God.
Nevertheless they feed themselves with a strong persuasion that when they are astonished, their wits distracted, the understanding dusked, and their bodies and souls racked and tormented with the throbs and gripes of a mortal sickness; then, forsooth, they will begin to think of their weightiest matters, and become sudden saints, when they are scarce able to behave themselves like reasonable creaNo, no; if neither the canon, civil, nor the common law will allow that man (perished in judgment) should make any testament of his temporal substance, how can he that is animated with inward garboils of an unsettled conscience, distrained with the wringing fits of his dying flesh, maimed in all his ability, and circled in on every side with many and strange encumbrances, be thought of due discretion to dispose of his chiefest jewel, which is his soul; and to despatch the whole manage of all eternity, and of the treasures of heaven, in so short a spurt !
No, no; they that will loiter in seed-time, and begin to sow when others reap; they that will riot out their health, and begin to cast their accounts when they are scarce able to speak; they that will slumber out the day, and enter upon their journey when the light doth fail them, let them blame their own folly if they die in debt, and be eternal beggars, and fall headlong into the lap of endless perdition.
Let such listen to St. Cyprian's lesson : “ let,” saith he, “ the grievousness of our sore be the measure of our sor
let a deep wound have a deep and diligent cure; « let no man's contrition be less than his crime."
A Description of the Country's Recreations. QUIVERING fears, heart-tearing cares, Anxious sighs, untimely tears,
Fly, fly to courts;
Fly to fond worldlings' sports,
Where mirth's but mummery;
Fly from our country pastimes ! fly,
Come serene looks,
Clear as the crystal brooks,
Peace and a secure mind,
Abused mortals ! did
know Where joy, heart's ease, and comforts grow,
You'd scorn proud towers,
And seek them in these bowers, Where winds sometimes our woods perhaps may shake, But blustering care could never tempest make;
Nor murmurs e'er come nigh us, Saving of fountains that glide by us.
Here's no fantastic masque, nor dance,
Nor wars are seen,