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thofe, whose Unhappiness it will be to be Serm.IV. too well-acquainted with the Original. Here the Body pressed down the Soul, and the earthly Tabernacle the Mind, that muSed upon many Things : But when the Soul Thall be clothed with refined Matter, which will not encumber her in her Operations ; her whole Duration will be one continued Stretch of Thought, without any Pause or Intermission. And what a Misery must it be to be thinking still ; and yet to have little or nothing to think on, but endless Misery? To be at once deprived of all fenfual Delights, and cut off from the Enjoyment of rational and substantial Bliss, is a Misery that we cannot now conceive, and—may we never feel !

i That this may never be our Portion, let us, IIIdly, Attend to such practical Inferences, as arise from what I have before laid down.

ift, Beware of evil Habits. It is impossible to overcome intirely our first Nature ; and it is next to impossible to overcome long standing Habits, which are our second Nature. To destroy the Power of Vice is like laying the Ax to the Root of the

Tree:

SERM.IV.Tree : And it is not one Stroke, however

vigorous, or one Endeavour, which will
bring the Tree down, and root it up ;
though it may contribute towards it: No,
there must be several repeated Strokes, and
a continued Perseverance, to gain the de-
cihve Vistory over it, and to finish it's Ru-
in; however deeply rooted. When Sin has
had for a long Time the Dominion over us,
our Resolutions of Amendment will be, ac-
cording to the beautiful Thought of St.
Austin, “ like the Endeavours of those,
“ who are trying to wake out of a deep
« Sleep, into which they fink back again,
“ overcome by the dead Weight, which
“ hangs upon them.” Take Care then
of your Actions : Every evil Action is a
Step towards an evil Habit ; and every evil
Habit is a Step towards that bottomlessGulph,
from which there is no Return. For when
once ill Habits are rivetted in the Soul, you
are miserable for ever, by a Necessity of Na-
ture : you have made yourself an Object
incapable of Mercy, and indisposed to re-
ceive the Communications of the divine
Favour. Let it be acknowledged that a
sincere and thorough Repentance, implying
an entire Change of the Heart, can never

be

be too late ; but let it be likewise granted, Serm.IV. that a late Repentance is very seldom in this Sense fincere. If the Man were reinstated in his former Health, Ease pofsibly might recant the Vows, that were made in Pain, as null and void.

2dly, As you are to avoid evil Habits, be sure betimes to acquire good Habits, as the necessary Qualifications for Heaven. Some seem to think, that Religion consists in some broken disjointed Aets of Piety : But let them not deceive themselves : True Religion consists in the inward Frame of the Mind, in the standing Bent of the Inclinations, in settled Habits of Piety constantly residing in the Breast, and, as often as there is Opportunity, breaking forth into outward Acts. Thys a Man Thall think himself devout, if he now and then occafi. onally says his Prayers, and frequents the public Worship; though he often abfents himself upon every flight Occasion, upon no Occasion at all. But let him not deceive himfelf: If he were really devout, he would have a Relish for Acts of Piety, his Heart would cleave stedfastly unto God : and then he would not neglect private or public Prayers upon frivolous Pretences. Thus again a Man shall think himself cha

ritable,

Serm. IV. ritable, because he now and then performs

occasonal transient Acts of Charity : But
he. alone is a charitable Man, who loves
Mercy and Charity, and sheweth that he
loves them, by the main Tenor and Current
of his Actions ; who, with a strong Bene-
volence of Soul, is glad to relieve proper
Objects of Charity when he can; and line
cerely sorry when he cannot. And yet the
very sorrows of the Charitable give more
substantial Satisfaction than the Joys of the
Selfish. For Compassion for the Distrest (a.
Sorrow of which the Charitable are most
susceptible) gives them to understand, that
the habitual Disposition of their Mind is right:
And he, who does not feel that lovely Dif-
position within, must want a Pleasure, the
Absence of which no other Pleasure can
counterbalance. He is a thoroughly good
Man, who has often tried and found his Vir-
tue genuine, and clear of all Ostentation ; who,
instead of boasting or complaining, loves to
conceal the Good he does, and the Ills he suf-
fers; who thinks that Happiness scarce any
at all, which is folitary and uncommunicated;
as Paradise was no Paradise to Adam, till he
had a Partner of it. Till we have acquired
an habitually-good Bent of Temper, we
have not acquired those Qualifications, which
.. . I

are

are the main Ground-work and Founda-Serm.IV: tion of our future Happiness : We are not meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light,

Therefore, 3dly, Let us all consider, that our future Misery or Happiness depends upon our present Bebaviour. Our Happiness in Manhood depends upon those early Accomplishments, which we have acquired in our younger Years. If that proper SeedTime of Life be neglected, we must expect no Harvest in the Autumn of it. Just so our Felicity in another Life must be owing to the Preparations we make for it here. And what we must be to all Eternity, will be the Consequence of what we have been in this World.

There is a certain Fool-bardiness prevailing among us in Relation to a future State. Men live as carelessly or profligately, as if they never were to depart this Life; and then depart this Life with as much Stupidity and Hardness of Heart, as if they never were to live again. They rush unprepared into the Presence of the just, the holy Legislator of the whole World, as inconsiderately and audaciously, as the Horse rushes to the Bat. tle, a Creature not capable of being frighted with Consequences, because incapable of

reflecting

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