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2. That seeing he has neglected this, and driven it to this last push ; let him not rely upon any Pray. ers or Acts of Děyorion, which others can perform for him. There he ought to desire, but must not rely on them, but rather do all that ever he can for himleli. Examine his Life, confess his Sins,
bég Pardon, make full satisfaction where he can, Vows renew his Lovers, and do all the good things
that he coin do in the short time he has to live.
And when all this is done, all the comfort which can be given him is this. That we do not know, but Christ may stay so long for him, till he hath got such a stock of Holiness, as he will accept of. We do not know but he may admit him before the door be quite shur ; or if he be shut out of Heaven, we do not know but the course he now takes, may keep him from sinkingso deep into Hell, as otherwise he
Let us now serioully consider all this in time, before the time of Sickness or extream age come, 0, why fhould we be so foolish, as by the neglecting of our present Duty, and for the enjoyment of some vain Pleasure, which will last but a very little while, to run ourselves into this uncomfortable strait ? Why should we'wilfully bring ourselves into a condition wherein, how greatly foever we need it, how earnestly loever we defire it, how gladly soever our Friends would help us, yet no body in the World can Administer any certain comfort to us. And yet into this condition doch every one certainly bring himself that lives loosely and carelesly, and not answerably in all things to his Holy Profesiion. Had we not better abate something of our Carnal Pleasures and Delights, want a little more of our own Wills and Humours,drudge a little less for the World, and the fading things of the World, be a little more ferious and thinking, and use a little less Mirth and Laughter, than fall into this uncomfortable condition, that when we know we must part with all the things we have ever been fond of, and can have no more comfort
from any of them; we can have no comfort at all. No comfort in parting with what we have had and loved, and no comfort from any hope we can then meet with of what shall befal us, afterwards. Nothing but this, it may be, that God will yet have mercy on us; no body knows certainly that he will not, but ’ris come to that, that no body can tell us, and God himself hath not told us, whether he will have mercy on us, or no.
Matt. XXV. 10, 11, 12, And while they went to buy the Bridegroom came; and
they that were ready went in with him to the Marriage,
and the Door was fout: Afterwards came also the other Virgins, Saying, Lord, Lord,
open to us. But he Answered, and said, Verily I say unto you, I know
you not. W e are now come to the last part of this Parable,
V wherein we are taught what will certainly be the issue of a careless Life. At the news of the Bridegroom's coming, the foolish Virgins found themselves, through their improvidence, unprovided of Oil for their Lamps, and without that, they had as good fit still, as go to meet the Bridegroom. And finding that they could not borrow,they ran to Buy. But whilst they ran about to buy, the Bridegroom, met by thofe who had their Lamps Lighted, entered together with them to the Marriage, and the other were finally shut out, so that no intreaty could prevail for admission.
Here then all that spend their time carelesly, and Live not in a constant preparation for Death and Judgmenr,may fee what they are to expect froni Jesus Christ, at his coming to Judge the World in Righteousness: And let me befeech you all to think of it in time, efpecially you that are young, and are apt to fancy that you have Day enough before you, and that tho' you play and sport a great part of it away, yer, you may do all you have to do before Night. We that are old, know that our Day is shutting in, it is already but Twilight with us, and it darkens apace. JE we have Slumbered and Slept till now, we can have but very faint hopes that ever we shall Awake to our comfort. There is
and all me, s good. When it was then it is protow re
more hope of you that are yet young, if you will take warning in time ; but if you will not, you are growing every day older, and it will quickly be as much too late for you, as it is foț any of us who are already old;to think of getting the Oil you want. Let us all then consider,
1. What a change the apprehension of imminent dans ger, and dying presently, will make in us. How ready we will be to take that advice, when it is probably too late ; that we despised when it was seasonable, and might have done us good. Now when the Market is open, and all may have what Goods they need, we will Sleep on, let us be called on never so often ; but when 'tis ended almost, then we are in hast, and run to buy. What a strange Folly is this? And yet how many are guilty of it ? Speak to one in Health and Profperity, Young and Lively, to be Devout and Sober, to ply his Work for his Souland Heaven, and to take heed of Slorn, Idleness, vain Sports, and sinful Pleasures; you had as good hold your Peace, all Admonitions are disregarded as un seasonable. Yet thefe very Persons when they are Sick, or think themselves in danger of Death, will, with Tears and sad Sighs, beg your Prayers and good Advice, and will promise fair, and do all they can then do to be saved. Even the worst of Livers are daily observed to be thus changed through fear of Death. And they that are not so, are either such as are not sensible of any thing because of their Disease, or not sensible of their Sin and Danger through a reprobate Mind.
2. That for one who hath lived carelefly and toolly, tö fit himselffor Heaven, requireth some considerable time; it will be some while doing, and therefore the more dangerous is it to defer it to that time, which a thousand to one, will be much too short to do it in. Tho' the change but now mentioned, be made on a sudden, he that before delay'd would now give all the World he had not done so. He feared not to die quickly before, but now he doth ; he would take no pains to prepare himself before, but now would take any. Tho' he's thus far changed by the cry of the Bridegroom's coming, yet there's no other change neceffary to compleat Repentance; which it is to be feared cannot be made in the little time behind, when old Age and Sickness takes hold on us. IM habits are not in a moment changed
this any other pellentano
into contrary good ones. Love to Sinful Pleasures, is not suddenly changed into the Love of God ind Holiriefs ; along Life of Sin and Vanity is not quickly exa. mined, all Sins called to mind, all confefled, restitution to our Neighbours made, and every old reckoning fer strait. Thar which Christ requires is an Holy Life, and Fruits meer for Repentance, and a Conversation according to the Gospel of Christ, and he has not assured us, that any other kind of Repentance will be accepted but this. - A turning from a Vain and Wicked, to : Serious and Godly Life, is that which the Gospel requireih. And how much of our time so well spent afier Repentance, God will accept for the whole, that, should have been so spent, he hath not told us. And its not very likely, that he will accept of that little in our lattSickncis,or extream old Age, wherein we can do little or nothing well, if at all.
3. Nay, 'tis ren to one thatChrist will come before we can ineet with that which we are a feeking for, ro fit us for his coming. Wirile they went to buy, the Bridegroom came. No little Confusion must that poor Soul bein, which, when it is leaving the Budy and this World, hath no Preparation made for the next World. Where shall it begin its' work ?' And how mall it lind out all that it hath to do? And how shall it go about it? Alass! all's now on a sudden to be done, and no. thing learnt, no Experience gain'd, no hopes of thecime that seems neceffáry; even through despair of ever performing such a Task to purpose, it will be apt to give over thinking of it ; whilst it is thus in a naze and perplexity, Christ comes and calls it away. What less can the careless Sinner expect? All the time that Christ carried, was giving it in tender mercy and Compassion, that it might make it felt ready ; none of us can complain that God is too halty with ưs'; how long doch lie spare us, and suffer us to live, and give us all things needful both for this Life, and the next ? And yeć wę Right this his kindness; and sleep out all this time; that is, we spend it in Sin and Folly, and always in fonie; thing else that it was not given us for. We resolve to have our Wills and Humour, our Lusts as long as we can, tho we know we dishonour and displease him there. by. And can we now hope, that when he is coming, and by Age or Sickness tells us fn, that ire will stop in
alread upon others ? " If all the long as WheWo
his way, and stay yet till we have time enough to make our felves ready for him ? How many such warnings by sickness, or other fad accidents, hath he already given many of us ? How suddenly hath he come upon others before our Eyes, to warn us to take heed to our selves? If all this would not do, can we hope that he will stay just as long as we will? If we do, we must do it without any reason in the World for it.
4. When soever we are called hence by Death, none but they shall enter into blessedness, who are found ready for it. And they that were ready went in with him to the Marriage, and the Door was fout. There's no other Preparation for a happy Death, but a Holy Life There may be good Directions given to fick People, for the trimming of their Lamps to make them burn the brighter; 'tis good and fit then to review our Repentances, and quicken all our Graces, and Meditate on the joys we are entering upon, and to consider the mercies of God to enflame our Loye towards him, and the Vanities of the World, to make us the more contentedly to leaye it, and many such things as these; buf without an Holy and Christian Life hath been led by us, tho' in much weakness and imperfection, yet in fin. cerity and in truth; if we have not this to reffect upon in our fickness, that we have liv'd in the fear of God, and exercised our selves always in keeping a Conscience void of offence towards God, and towards Men. If our rejoycing be not this, the Testimony of our Confcii ence, that in fimplicity and gedly Sincerity, not in fleshly Wisdom, but by the Grace of God, we have had our conversation in the World. 2 Cor. 1. 12. I know of no rejoicing at all that we can have, in that melancholly time of sickness or Age. They that are thus ready shall enter into joy everlasting with the blessed Jesus, but the Door is Thut against all others. This therefore must be our care if ever we hope to enter into Heavėn and be happy, to live in the constant Practice of all Christian Vertues, that so we may be in a constant readincís, whenfoever we shall be call'd out of the World.
5. That no Prayers or Importunities, no Cries or Tears will prevail, or gain us Admission into Heaven, if we be not thus by a constant course of Holiness pre.