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all of them and innumerable more of God's saints, were true Benonies, fons of sorrow and affliction. :
Lord, with how much fervor, and alacrity of soul, did these thy blessed ones pursue thy heavenly-joys? what sharp combats had they to overcome themfelves? And if such chosen and fele&t vessels as these, have had such great strivings, such powerful conflicts with their finful bodies, what will become of me? that have obeyed sin in the lusts thereof, that can find no pleasure but in folly, no laughter but in madness.
Consider therefore, O my soul, whilst thou hast yet time, that there is no truer character of a grace. less heart, than pror hane mirth; thou art too ready to believe, that God is merciful, that all thy sins may be forgiven thee in a moment; that the good
thief was saved at the last hour, and that therefore · thou mayst still go on in wickedness. God indeed
is always ready to shew mercy, but it is only unto those that are ready to ready to repent: and how knewes thou whether God will accept thee in that hour? Whether he may not, whether he will not, then withdraw his saving grace from that sinful soul, which liath so long withdrawn itself from his ser. vice: this is that which thy blessed Saviour 'telleth thee, “ Not every one which crieth, Lord, Lord, foall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that
doeth the will of my Father, which is in heaven," Matt. 7. 21.
And left perhaps that one example of the dying penitent may flatter thee, consider of the time, the place, the manner of his strange conversion: “This was assuredly (saith St. Augustine) to manifest the power and Godhead of a dying Saviour, and that upon rare confession of an Infidel, and that at such a time, when all the world. forsook him, and even his own disciples either doubted, or denied his Godhead.”
Alas, how little comfort. canst thou now reap from this example? how. should it rather affright thee; to see but one soul amongst so inany millions, to obtain mercy at the last hour, and that upon such. weighty circumstances? on what a weak foundation dost thou build thy hopes of happiness? how easily will that devouring storm of thine accusing conscience ruin it? and then how great the fall will be, the farful horror of thy: lost estate, will woefully express.
Lord, let this teach me to redeem those precious hours which I have lost: 0 let each wanton thought, eaoh idle word, be monitors to tell me how my.audit stands with heaven, I can speak nothing, I can do nothing, which I can recal; each circumstance of fin is charged in mine account, and must be Teckoned for: how careful should this make me of the expense of that time that is recorded for eternity. Thou, O Lord, art holiness itself, thy saints and angels are holy, and thy children must be holy; nothing but holiness can inherit heaven, no unclean pleasure, no impure joy shall enter there; how can I ever hope to be an inhabitant of that holy city, whose heavenly language I cannot speak ?
And now, Lord, seeing these things are thus, by thine assisting grace, I seriously resolve to allow myself no pleasure in this life, but what is sanctified with moderation ; because I clearly see these outward pleasures to be only so far useful unto me, as by them I am made more serviceable unto thee: moderate my honest repast, set an edge upon my soul, and make it more earnest, more active in devotion, when I take up pleasure as a trade, I be.. come a traitor to my body, a tyrant to my soul.,
Lord, I am now heartily in love with heaven, and grudge at that hour's liberty in outward merriment, that maketh not the next more eager of mine inward comfort : there is no sweetness but in. goodness, and there is no goodness in that mirth which is not subordinate to this sweetness: chris. tian liberty may be easily mistaken, and become lic centious wickedness, there is often-times most danger in those things which seem most necessary, if not used with moderation,
And now Lord, having seriously confidered what time is, and wherefore, I admire the folly, and la. ment the misery of all those whose only aim is to mispend it: my days are few, and full of evil, O let my greatest care be to husband my time well; I have much business, and great, to dispatch, and I know not whether this day's light may be my last; mine eternity of joy or sorrow, hath its dependance on this short moment: if I think upon it seriously, I shall grudge to spend one minute vainly : Lord, there is no distinction of time with thee; one day with thee, is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day; O let me seriously consider, that with me there is, that I must work while it is called to day, that mine hours are swift and short, that the night of death cometh, when I cannot work; that the end of all things cometh, when time shall be no more: By thy grace therefore I will piously devote the remnant of my life to holy duties, so shall mine age of fin be nothing in thy sight; and one day well spent (in thy rememberance) is as a thousand years.
WILT thou accept of such a finful creature as I am to appear before thee, to approach unto thee, to sue to thee for mercy? How bold am I to look up. unto thee with these adulterous eyes, that have so long been gazing on these earthly joys? how much
presuming on thy mercy, to implore thee with that tongue, that hath so much provoked thy displeafure? how impudent to offer that disloyal heart unto thee, that hath so fast been wedded to this sinful world ?
Lord, when mine own wretchedness had brought thy gracious visitation on me, when thy hand preffed me fore, when thine arrows stuck fast in me, and the venom of them drank up my spirits ; when my heart was in heaviness, and my soul in bitterness, when my life was drawing near unto the grave, when mine own conscience pleaded powerfully against me, and the terrors of a second death were ready to devour me; I then earnestly implored thee for mercy, thou freely forgavest me; I then begged my life of thee, that I might thankfully devote the remnant of my life unto thee.
Ah Lord, how wretchedly hath mine own heart deceived me; what serious vows, and faithful pro.. mises did I then make unto thee ? and yet, how carelessly, how foolishly am I departed from thee; how vainly have I trifled out that precious time which thou hast given me ? how justly mayest thou now deprive me of this wretched life, by which I. have so much dishonored thee..
And now, Lord, when I have even wearied out myself in wickedness, when my soul is overcharged