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Some men spend their whole lives, from their infancy to their dying day, in going down the broadway to destruction. They do not only draw nearer to hell in length of time, but they every day grow more ripe for destruction ; they are more assimilated to the inhabitants of the infernal world. While others press forward in the strait and narrow way to life, and laboriously travel up the hill towards Zion, against the inclinations and tendency of the flesh; these run with a swift career down towards the valley of eternal death ; towards the lake of fire; towards the bottomless pit. This is the employment of every day, with all wicked men; the whole day is spent in it. As soon as ever they awake in the morning, they set out anew towards hell, and spend every waking moment in it. They ‘begin in early days before they begin to speak. “The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” Psalm xlviii. 4. They hold on in it with perseverance. Many of them that live to be old, are never weary in it; if they live to be an hundred years old, they will not give over travelling in the way to hell till they arrive there. And all the concerns of life are subordinatcd to this employment. A wicked man is a servant of sin ; his powers and faculties are all employed in the service of sin, and in fitting for hell. And all his possessions are so used by him, as to be subservient to the same purpose. Some men spend their time in treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. Thus do all unclean persons, that live in lascivious practices in secret. Thus do all malicious persons. Thus do all profane persons, that neglect duties of religion. Thus do all unjust persons; and those that are fraudulent and oppressive in their dealings. Thus do all backbiters and revilers. Thus do all covetous persons, that set their hearts chiefly on the riches of this world. Thus do tavernhaunters, and frequenters of evil company; and many other kinds of persons that might be mentioned. Thus do far the greater part of men; the bulk of mankind are hasting onward in the broadway to destruction. The way, as broad as it is, is, as it were, filled up with the multitude that are going with one accord this way. And they are everyday going into hell out of this broad way by thousands. Multitudes are continually flowing down into the great lake of fire and brimstone, out of this broad way, as some mighty river constantly disembogues its water into the ocean. 3. Hence when fiersons are converted, they do but begin their work, and set out in the way they have to go. They never till then do any thing at that work which their whole lives ought to be spent in ; which we have now shown to be travelling towards heaven. Persons, before conversion, never take a step that way. Then does a man first set out on his journey, when he is brought home to Christ; and he is but just set out in it. So far is he from having done his work, that he then only begins to set his face towards heaven. His journey is not finished; he is then only first brought to be willing to go to it, and begins to look that way; so that his care and labor, in his Christian work and business, is then but begun, which he must spend the remaining part of his life in. Those persons do ill, who, when they are converted, and have obtained a hope of their being in a good condition, do not strive as earnestly as they did before, while they were under awakenings. They ought, henceforward, as long as they live, to be as earnest and laborious as ever; as watchful and careful as ever ; yea, they should increase more and more. It is no just objection or excuse from this, that now they have not the same to strive for as before ; before they strove that they might be converted, but that they have obtained. Is there nothing else that persons have as much reason to strive, and lay out their strength for, as their own safety : Should we not be as willing to be diligent that we may serve and glorify God, as that we ourselves may be happy : And if we have obtained grace, yet there is not all obtained that may be. It is but a very little grace that we have obtained; we ought to strive that we may obtain more. We ought to strive as much that we may obtain the other degrees that are before, as we did to obtain that small degree that is behind. The apostle tells us, that he forgot what was behind, and reached forth towards what was before. Phil. iii. 13. Yea, those that are converted, have now a further reason to strive for grace than they had before ; for now they have
tasted, and seen something of the sweetness and excellency of it. A man that has once tasted the blessings of Canaan, has more reason to press forward towards it than he had before. And, then, they that are converted, should strive that they may make their calling and election sure. All those that are converted, are not sure of it; and those that are sure of it, do not know that they shall be always so ; and still seeking and serving God with the utmost diligence, is the way to have assurance, and to have it maintained. II. Use may be of exhortation ; so to shend the firesent life that it may only be a journey towards heaven. Labor to be sanctified, and to obtain such a disposition of mind, that you may be willing and desirous to change this world, and all the enjoyments of it for heaven. Labor to have your heart taken up so much about heaven and heavenly enjoyments, as that you may rejoice at any time when God calls you to leave your best earthly friends, and those things that are most comfortable to you here, to go to heaven, therc to enjoy God and Christ. Be persuaded to travel in the way that leads to heaven, viz. in a way of holiness and selfdenial, mortification, in a way of obedience to all the commands of God, in a way of following Christ’s example, in a way of heavenly life, or imitation of the saints and angels that live in heaven. Be content to travel on in this way, in a laborious manner, to endure all the fatigues of it. Begin to travel it without delay, if you have not already begun it; and travel in it with assiduity. Let it be your daily work from morning to night, and hold out in it to the end ; let there be nothing that shall stop or discourage you, or turn you aside from this road. Labor to be growing in holiness, to be coming nearer and nearer to heaven, in that you are more and more as you shall be when you get there, (if ever that be.) And let all other concerns be subordinated to this great concern of getting forward toward heaven. Consider the reasons that have been mentioned why
you should thus spend your life. Consider that the world is
not your abiding place, and was never so intended by God. Consider how little a while you are to be here, and how little worth your while it is to spend your life to any other purpose. Consider that the future world is to be your everlasting abode ; and that the cnjoyments and concerns of this world, have their being only and entirely in order to another world. And consider further for motive. 1. How worthy is heaven that your life should be whollyshent as a journey towards it. To what better purpose can you spend your life, whether you respect your duty or your interest ? What better end can you propose to your journey than to obtain heaven Here you are placed in this world,in this wilderness, and have your choice given you, that you may travel which way you please. And there is one way that leads to heaven. Now, can you direct your course better than this way ? What can you choose better for your journey’s end ? All men have some aim or other in living. Some mainly seek worldly things; they spend their days in the pursuit of these things. But is not heaven, where is fulness of joy forever and ever, much more worthy to be sought by you ? How can you better employ your strength, and use your means, and spend your days, than in travelling the road that leads to the everlasting enjoyment of God; to his glorious presence ; to the city of the New Jerusalem ; to the heavenly mount Zion : Where all your desires will be filled, and no danger of ever losing your happiness? No man is at home in this world, whether he choose heaven or not; yet here he is but a transient person. Where can you choose your home better than in heaven 2 The rest and glory of heaven is so great, that it is worthy we should desire it above riches ; above our father's houses, or our own ; above husband or wife, or children, or all earthly friends. It is worthy that we should subordinate these things to it, and that we should be ready, cheerfully, to part with them for heaven, whenever God calls. 2. This is the way to have death comfortable to us. If we spend our lives so as to be only a journeying towards heaven, this will be the way to have death, that is the end of the journey, and entrance into heaven, not terrible but comfortable.
This is the way to be free from bondage, through the fear of death, and to have the prospect and forethought of death comfortable. Does the traveller think of his journey’s end with fear and terror, especially when he has been many days travelling, and it be a long and tiresome journey : Is it terrible to him to think that he has almost got to his journey's end ? Are not men rather wont to rejoice at it Were the children of Israel sorry, after forty years travel in the wilderness when they had almost got to Canaan This is the way to have death not terrible when it comes. It is the way to be able to part with the world without grief. Does it grieve the traveller when he has got home, to quit his staff and load of provision that he had to sustain him by the way ? 3. Wo more of your life will be fileasant to think of when gou come to die, than has been shent after this manner. All of your past life that has been spent as a journey towards heaven, will be comfortable to think of on a death bed, and no more. If you have spent none of your life this way, your whole life will be terrible to you to think of, unless you die under some great delusion. You will see then, how that all of your life that has been spent otherwise is lost. You will then see the vanity of other aims, that you may have proposed to yourself. The thought of what you here possessed and enjoyed in the worldwill not be pleasant to you, unless you can think withal, that you have subordinated them to this purpose. 4. Consider that those that are willing thus to shend their fives as a journey towards heaven, may have heaven. Heaven, as high as it is, and glorious as it is, is attainable for such poor worthless creatures as we are. We, even such worms, may attain to have for our home, that glorious region that is the habitation of the glorious angels; yea, the dwelling place of the glorious Son of God ; and where is the glorious presence of the great Jehovah. And we may have it freely ; there is no high price that is demanded of us for this privilege. We may have it without money and without price ; if we are but willing to set out and go on towards it ; are but willing to travel the road that leads to it, and bend our course that way Vol., VII. 2 E