Imatges de pÓgina

for ever.

Shall live by Faith, but the Opportunity of that is quite loft to the Wicked after this Life, and they can never be in a Condition therefore to move the Mercy of God, they can do nothing then that can pretend to be Rewardable, and therefore it is no way inconsistent with the Goodness of God, to have no regard to their Complaints under their Miseries : But then it is not confiftent with the least Wisdom in our selves, to suffer things to run on, till they come to that pass, that we have either made Ship. wreck of our Fortunes here, or of our Souls

It is a great Misery for a Man to have plaid the Fool fo long, till it be too late to be Wise, to be without Understanding, till there is no place for Hope, and to be tormented with the Vehemence of unprofitable Wishes, and fruitless Complaints ? What a Pidure of Folly and Unhappiness together is that Man, who has neglected all his Opportunities of being Wise for himself, when he is made fensible of it, but too late for any Good that it will do him? When he inay have cause to wish a thousand times, that he had never tasted Wine, nor known Ease, nor felt Pleasure ; whereas less Severity than this would have fecured him, when Tiine was, if he had but temperately us’d these Things, and in such use of them had received, and been content with that

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more true Delight, than ever grew from Riot, and the fulsome Pleasures of Lust and Drunkenness; Or he will be dispos’d to wish that he had worn Sackcloth next to his Skin, and out-done the. Austerities of an Hermit, and yet, when Time was, he might have ordered the Matter fó wisely, as to have been happy at last with his finé Linnien, and faring sumptuously every Day; Or to wish that he had worn out his Knees with continual Devotion; and yet how much less than this would have done in the fit and proper Season of Repentance, had he prayed to his God in good earnest twice or thrice every Day? This would have procured God's Grace, to strengthen and fecuré him against Temptation, this would have procurd God's Pardon, which now .he begs in vain; Or that he had given all his Goods to the Poor; and yet a great deal less had been accepted in Discharge of bis Duty, if his Heart had served him to let go bar a small Part of a greatRevenue: This when Time was would have done, this would have treasured up for him the Rewards of Piety and Charity : But what à Fool must he be in his own Eyes, and how wretched in his own Conceic, who in the Day of God's Grace refused to do so much less for his own Happiness, than he now thinks reasonable, and believes he should do, if he were to be tried again?


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Let me tell you, Beloved, it is the Design of Wisdom in this place, and in this Book of the Proverbs, it is the Design of Sermons and Preaching, and of the publick Instructions delivered here, where, to use Solonon's Words, Wisdom cries, and Understanding puts forth her Voice, Nanding in the Top of high Places, it is the Design of Wif. dom, I say, to represent these Things to our Consideration, that we may do wisely for our felves in time, and prevent the Shame and Mifery of a very troublefome and un. easy, but a very unprofitable Repentance. For behold now is the accepted Time, behold, now is the Day of Salvation. Let us then seek the Lord while he may be found, and let us call upon him while he is near. Let us hearken to the Admonitions of Wisdom, and be well assur'd that we can never chuse happily for our selves, by any Ways of our own devising, while we set at nought her Counsel, and will have none of her Reproof. Trust then in the Lord with all thine Heart, and lean not unto thine own Understanding : Takę his Security for thy well. doing, whilft thou walkelt in the Ways that he chuseth for thee. Be not wise in thine own Eyes; fear the Lord, and depart from Evil ; and that Mall be Health to thy Napel, and Marrow to thy Bones. Keep sound Wisdom and Discretion, so Mall

; they be Life

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unto thy Soul, and Grace to thy Neck; then Malt thou walk in thy Way safely

, and thy Foot shall not stumble. And at the End of thy Days Wifdom shall make thee to inherit Glory, but Shame shall be the Promotion of Fools.

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SERMON XVI. The natural Tendency of well

doing to secure us against Harms from Men.

I PE T. III. xiii. And who is he that will harm you,

if ye be Followers of that which is


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"HIS is one of two Arguments, where

by St. Peter persuades Christians to the Universal Practice of Virtue and Goodness in this Chapter.

The former is in the Verse before the Text: The Eyes of the Lord are over the Righteous, and his Ears are open unto their Prayers: but the Face of the Lord is against them that do Evil. For, says he from the


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