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2 dly, count it needless ; for, think we, all these surely will not perilh...
2. Miut do thus, because, 1. They gain by the name of Christians, the Privileges that Chri. ftians enjoy in the World, by Vertue of the Laws. 2. They would lose by fincerity, the advantages which He crisy and Sin bring them in the World, it being now contrary to what it was of old. Ther i he Name was crime enough and mortal; thercfore few but sincere persons professed it: Now the Name is profitable, and therefore every Que for felfends puts iton..
Matt. XXV. 2, 3, 4.
T Et us take heed then of deceiving ourselves L foolishly with a naked Profession. No Man shall come to Eternal Life, bur by patient conţinuance in well doing. Rom. 2, 7. We must do well, concinue doing well, and cho' we lose or suffer by it, continue with patience doing well. This it is to be wise unto Salvation, and to have Oil in our Vessels with our Lamp. This Oil, wherewith our Lamps must be fed, is,
1. A constant care to mortifie our Lufts more and more, our Covetousness, Voluptuousness and Pride, these are like Water which keeps our Lamps from burning.
2. As great a. care to subdue and tame all our Pallions, and keeping them under good Government, suffering neither Joy nor Sorrow, Boldness nor Fear, Love nor Hatred, Anger nor Tameness, Desire or Loathing, nor any ocher to be immoderate.
3. 'And earnest striving against, and checking all the corrupt Inclinations of our Vicious Na
ture, ture, checking them in time, and by meditation, consideration, resolution, and watchfulness over our selves, and against Temptations, endeavour to alter and change them into better. .. . . 4. A daily exercise of all Christian Graces and Verrues, walking in obedience to God's Holy Laws, and doing our duty to God and our Neighbour, labouring to do what good we can in the World.
Unless we have this Oil in our Velels, our Lamps will go out and signifie nothing.
O how fain would we content ourselves without all this? How unwilling are we to think, · that all this is necessary to make us good Christians? See where our folly lieth.
1. We would fain be happy when we die, so far are we Wise enough.
2. We would fain be happy here, and so we might be, if we were Wise. For all the happinels we can have here, lies in the hopes of, and preparacion for eternal happiness, by a cheerful subjection to God's Will, a comfortable trust and confidence in his Promises, quiet submission to his Providence, a pleasing contentedness with our State, and a moderate use of, and rejoycing in what we have. But,
3. We would be happy in another World, and yet have a happiness, such as we fancy in this 1oo. That is, we would have our Wills, and humour our Lufts, and follow our own Inclinations, and yet be blessed in the end. Here we are Fools indeed, to think that God will bless us for serving our Fleih in disobeying him. Or elle,
4. We are careless and secure, and think of no blessedness, but in this World ; and here we
are foolifli again, knowing that we can never be made happy by that which is imperfect and perisbing, and such are all things in this World; and that God hath told us our blesíc dness lieth in another World: Or
5. We would make an exchange with God, and hope he will take what we give him, instead of what he demands. We hope he may accept of a great deal of Supersticion or Ceremony, or Formality, instead of Crucifying che Flesh, governing our Passions, cleansing our Hearts, reforming our Lives; obeying all his Laws. And if this will do, we'll be at pains and cost enough. So the Jews would give him Sacrificesand Offerings, and Traditional Observances ; but they will not part with their Sins. So the Papists will give him Masses and Pilgrimages, painted Temples, and abundance of Cringes; yea, and Alms too in plenty, and many good Works, as to che matter of them any thing to merit Heaven, and yet be allowed to enjoy their Lufts. And so will the Protestanrs too give him long Prayers, and fighs and groans, and abundance of their time in hearing Sermons, and all the Sabbath to a minute; or else they will go to Church every day, and often in the day to the Closet, and bow or stand, and be exceeding formal; fo chat still they live at their pleasure.
Good God, that after all we have heard of thee, we should yet be fo foolish, as to entertain such childish thoughts as these of thee ? As it God could not distinguish between Wheat and Chaff, between Oil and a little Air in our Lamps. Thcie ghin things without Substance, will not feed our Lamps with Light. No, the Oil we must have, must be a living Faith, a fervenc Love to
God and Man, a purifying of Heart and Life from all filthiness, and a constant and sincere practice of true Christian Piety, and a daily growing in Grace and Goodness of all sorts. He that is found, when he dies, or when Christ comes to Judgment, without all these in Sincerity and Truth, will be found with an empty Vefsel, and a Lampgone out, and will be sent to seek his happiness amongst the foolish Virgins, which took their Lamps, but took no Oil with them. Only they who persevere unto the end in the constant practise of Righteousness and Charity, Holiness and Godliness; and make it their Exercise, to have a conscience void of offence towards God and towards Men, are the wise Virgins who shall enter into Heaven with the Bridegroom when he cometh. O that we were Wise, that we understood this, that we would consider our latrer end.
Ur Blessed Saviour is the Bridegroom, to
whom the Church, i. e. all the true Chri- o sians are espoused upon Earth, and shall live with him eternally happy in Heaven. Achis coming then shall we ever be with the Lord,1 Thel. 4.17 But how long it will be e're he come, is a thing that he hath not thought good for us to know, but we are to live in a constant expectation of it,
and be always prepared to meet him whenever we shall be called ; and how soon, or suddenly that may be,we know not. This is all that we live for, that we may be fiited to live eternally. And is ir nor ftrange, that the only thing we live for, and which if it be neglected, we had better never have been born, should be the thing which we generally least of all think of, or consider. Alas, we are spending our days as a tale that is told, they will be at an end before we are aware of it, and we little think what we have to do whilft we trifle them away. This, together with the reason of ir, we are told in the Text.
1. They all Slumbered and Slept, even the Wife as well as the Foolish, both grew drouly and fell asleep.
2. Because the Bridegroom tarried.
The time of Christ's tarrying, is the day of Grace, the time of Mercy all the time we Live, and indeed between his Ascension, and coming again to judge the World in Righteousness; but as to every one's own concern, it is the time " that waits for his making ready, and spares hiin
in long sufferance. And this is the time that Christians fall asleep in, that they are apt to lose, and grow fó careless in, as to neglect all necelfary preparation for their meeting the Lord.
Here then we have these things to consider, : 1. That we are all apt to fall alleep.
2. What's the difference between the Sleeping of the wife and foolish.
3. That the reason of our Sleeping is Christ's tarrying. 14. The unreasonableness that it should be fo.
1. That we are all of us apr to be drousy, and fall asleep. This needs no other proof; but our