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formance of our duty, than an affurance of obtaining hereby fo happy a ftate? what can more efficaciously withdraw us from impiety, than being certain thereby to lofe and fall fhort of it? fo on the other hand, what can more vehemently provoke us to obedience, than being perfuaded, that we shall thereby avoid eternal misery? what can more powerfully deter us from fin, than confidering, that by commiffion of it we fhall expose ourselves to that wretched ftate? Infinitely stupid and obdurate we muft be, if the confideration what thefe ftates are doth not produce these effects.
What is the state of life? it is a state of highest dignity and glory; of sweetest comfort and joy; of joy full in meafure, pure in quality, perpetual in duration, in all respects perfect to the utmoft capacity of our nature; wherein all our parts and faculties fhall be raised to their highest pitch of perfection, our bodies fhall become free from all corruptibility and decay, all weakness and disease, all groffness and unwieldiness, all deformity and defilement: for they fhall, as St. Paul teaches us, be rendered incorruptible, ftrong, healthful, glorious, and spiritual: our fouls also shall in their faculties be advanced, in their inclinations rectified, in their appetites satisfied; the understanding becoming full of light, clear and diftinct in knowledge of truth, free from ignorance, doubt, and error; the will being steadily inclined to good, ready to comply with God's will, free from all weakness and all perverseness; our affections being fet in right order and frame, with a conftant regularity tending unto that which is really best, and taking a full delight therein: wherein we shall enjoy the blissful fight of God, fmiling in love and favour upon us; the presence of our gracious Redeemer, embracing us with most tender affection; the society of the holy angels, and of the just made perfect; whofe company and converfation, how unconceivably sweet and delightful must it be! wherein nothing adverse or troublesome can befall us; no unpleasant or offenfive object shall present itself to us; no want, or need of any thing fhall appear; no care, or fear, or fufpicion; no labour or toil, no forrow or pain,
no diftaste or regret, no ftir or contention, no liftleffness or fatiety shall be felt, or fhall come near us; where God (as it is in the Apocalypfe) will wipe every tear from the eyes, Rev. xxi. 4. (of them who fhall come there,) and death fhall be no more; nor forrow, nor clamour, nor pain any more: it is, in fine, a state in excellency furpaffing all words to exprefs it, all thoughts to conceive it; of which the brighteft fplendours and the choicest pleasures here are but obfcure fhadows, and faint refemblances; comparable to which no eye hath feen, nor ear hath heard any thing; 1 Cor. ii. 9. nor hath it ascended into any heart of man to conceive the like; as St. Paul, out of the Prophet Ifaiah, telleth us: which state, seeing by a pious life we certainly do acquire a right unto, and fhall enjoy a poffeffion of; but from an impious life do forfeit all pretence thereto, and shall infallibly be deprived of it; are we not infinitely mad, are we not extremely enemies, and injurious to ourselves, if we do not embrace the one, and efchew the other?
Again; What is the other ftate, that of death? what but a state of lowest disgrace and ignominy; of utter shame and confufion; of intolerable pains and miferies, without any ease or respite, without any hope or remedy, without any ceffation or end; wherein we shall not only for ever be fecluded from God's prefence and favour; not only be deprived of all reft, comfort, and joy; but detruded into utmost wretchedness; into a condition far more dark and difmal, more forlorn and difconfolate, than we can imagine; which not the sharpest pain of body, nor the bitterest anxiety of mind, which any of us hath ever felt, can in any measure represent; wherein our bodies fhall be afflicted continually by a fulphureous flame, not only fcorching the skin, but piercing the inmoft finews; our fouls fhall inceffantly be gnawed upon by a worm, (the worm of bitter remorse for our wretched perverfeness and folly; the worm of horrid despair ever to get out of that fad estate;) under which unexpreffible vexations, always enduring pangs of death, always in sense and in defire dying, we shall never be able to die which miferable state, fince it is by performing our duty furely avoided, fince by neglecting or tranf
greffing God's laws it is inevitably incurred; if we do not accordingly choose to demean ourselves, how infinitely careless are we of our own good, how desperately bent to our own ruin!
If these confiderations make no impreffion on us, what can any reason effect? what can any words fignify? how monftrously fottifh or wild do we appear to be! I conclude with prayer to Almighty God, that, according to his infinite mercy, he, by his gracious affistance leading us in the ways of piety and righteousness, would bring us to everlasting life and happiness; that he by the fame powerful grace withdrawing us from impiety and iniquity, would rescue us from eternal death and misery; To him, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be for ever all glory and praife. Amen.
* LORD'S PRAYER,
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
THE DOCTRINE OF THE SACRAMENTS.
* Si per omnia precationum sanctarum verba discurras, quantum existimo nihil invenies, quod non ista Dominica contineat et concludat oratio: unde liberum est aliis atque aliis verbis, eadem tamen in orando dicere, sed non debet esse liberum alia dicere. Aug. ad Probam Epist. cxxi.