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Serm. Pain, in this World, fo grievous and intolIX. lerable as that of a guilty Conscience. The

Spirit of a Man may bear his Infirmities, i. e. may grapple with all those Diseases of Body and Troubles of Mind, which are the usual Attendants of human Nature ; but a wounded Spirit who can bear? The Question implies, that it is a Load insupportable. It is impossible to describe to you the dreadful Fears and Agonies of a guilty Mind, and the Horror and Amazement which fills an evil Conscience ; when a Man shall run from one place to another, and from one Company to another, and yet not find the least Diversion of his Pain, or Mitigation of his Torment; and at last, being swallowed up with Horror and De

spair, shall fly to Death and Hell fòr Ease Rev. ix. and Comfort: Their Torment is as the

Torment of a Scorpion, when he striketh a Man; and in those Days ball Men seek Death, and shall not find it; and shall defire to die, and Death shall flee from them. And that which adds to the Misery of an evil Conscience is, that no earthly Comfort can mitigate and afswage it. The good Things of this world will be but like broken Reeds, which, by piercing their Hands, will enrage their Pain, who think to rest upon them. Do but consider

that

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that mighty and potent Monarch Bel-SERM. Sbazzar; how did he quake and treinble, IX. and his Knees finite together for Fear, when we he saw the Hand-writing upon the Wall ; Dan. v. though at that Time he was in perfect s, &r. Health, feasting and carousing with his Princes, surrounded with numerous Guards, and ignorant of the Import and Meaning of the Writing ? And thus, when Cain had fiain his Brother, did he not wander about from Place to Place, fearful and distracted with his own Guilt ? And, being left to be punished by the Terrors of his own Conscience, cried out, My Punishment is Gen. iv. greater than I can bear.

2. On the other Hand, let us consider the Pleasure and Happiness which attends a good Conscience, a Conscience void of Offence toward God and toward Men : This is a Blessing which never comes single, but brings many other good Things along with it, amongst which this is not the least, that he, who has a good Conscience, has a perfect Tranquillity of Mind, Security and Resolution in his own Breast, and, amidst the several Changes and Chances of this sublunary World, podeljes his Soul in Patience, composes it to Rest, and remains Master of himself; he is not afraid when he hears of evil Tidings, for his Heart is

Şerm. fixed. He is not dismayed, when either

IX. Losses in his Estate, Sickness in his Body, mor Blemishes in his Reputation befal him i

but, with Job, he resolves that his Righte

ousness he will bold fast, he will not let it Job xxvii. go, his Heart shall not reproach him as long 6.

as he lives. And as long as he builds his Trust and Confidence on this Rock of Ages, he doth not fear, though the Waves roar, and the Winds blow, or whatever outward Calamity may betide him. · Let never so great AMictions and Troubles befal him, though his sworn Enemies should rejoice and triumph over him, and lay never fo many malicious Things to his Charge ; let him be deprived even of the Necessaries of Life, and his Body covered over with noisome Blotches and Sores, yet he knows that his Redeemer lives, that there is a God who governs the World, and, when he sees fit, will deliver him out of all his Troubles ; such Considerations, as these, administer Comfort to him,

produce a Calm within his Breast, and his Prov. xv. Conscience is to him a continual Feast

. Such Happiness doth that Man enjoy, so valuable a Blesling is it, to be able to look back

upon the past Actions of a Man's Life with Comfort and Satisfaction; to have the Testimony of his Conscience, that he

has

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has walked uprightly and piously towards Serm. God, in Temperance and Sobriety with IX. Relation to himself, and in perfect Love and Charity towards his Neighbour ; and, to the utmost of his Power, has kept a Conscience void of Offence, both toward God and toward Men. Such a Man is able not only to bear Crosses and Afflictions with Courage and Chearfulness, but can look even Death in the Face ; and, when his last Hour approaches, can say, with that good King, Hezekiah, Remember, now, Olfaiah Lord, I beseech, how I have walked before xxxviii. thee in Truth and with a perfe&t Heart, and have done that which is good in thy Sight! Such Considerations, as these, will be a Stay and Comfort to him, when all the Honours , and Riches, which this World can bestow upon him, can afford him no Satisfaction or Relief: For even at the great and terrible Day, when the Ungodly shall not stand in Judgment, nor Sinners in ihe Congregation of the Righteous ; when the Wicked shall call to the Mountains to fall on them, and hide them from the Wrath of an angry God: Then the greatest Stay and Support to every good Man will be, the Testimony of his Conscience, that, in Simpli- ? Cor. city and godly Sincerity, he has passed the i. 12. Time of his sojourning in this world. These are the Fruits and blessed Effects of

keeping

Serm. keeping a Conscience void of Offence ; IX. which are sufficient not only to incite and

encourage, but also to reward our Pursuits after it; and, therefore, let every one of us be prevailed on by these powerful Motives, to make it his chief Business in this World, to keep a Conscience void of Offence; which has the Promises of the Life that now is, as well as that which is to

come,

SERMON

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