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*ng and Reproving the most Profligate, or Powerful Sinner alive; or, by Abandoning, Utterly, our Infidelity, or Impenitency, our Corrupt Principles, or Corrupt Practices, all the Dearest of our Sinful Gratifications, of Body or Mind; Tamely submitting our Reason to an Unshaken Belief of the Mysteries, and our PaJJions to an Intire Obedience to the Precepts of the Gospel.
Let us therefore Now, by a wise Choice, take into our Minds, such a Judgment of Things, as we shall not Then be able to keep Out of Them; Let us now be Industrious in Performing the Duties, which we shall Then Hate the Thoughts of Neglecting. Though our Endeavours may Now be sufficient to Prevent the Judgments of God, they may not Then suffice to the Removal of Them. Let us turn to the Lord with all our Hearts, and diligently seek him, whilst he may be found. Behold, now is the Accepted time', behold, now is the day of Salvation.
Let our Apprehensions of the Evils, which surround us, work so Happy and Lasting a Change in us, that those Evils
Themselves may never Invade and overtake us, but that we may obtain the Mercy and Favour of the most High, such Degrees of his Mercy and Favour, as may Effectually Preserve us from Destruction, both Temporal and Eternal, through the Powerful Merits and Mediation of our Blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; To whom with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, Three Persons, and one God, be all Honour, Praise, and Thanksgiving, both Now, and for Evermore. Amen.
PROV. III. 16.
Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand Riches and Honour.
WIS D O M, or Religion, is here introduced Holding out to men's View, the greatest Temporal Blessings, as Inducements to engage them in her Service. And the fame Encouragements to Virtue and Goodness, are offer'd in Other places of Holy Scripture. Therefore St. Paul assures us, * that Godliness is profitable to all things; having promise of the Use that Now i$} as
* i Tim. iv. 8.
well well as of That which is to come. And yet, the fame Holy Spirit, which Sometimes gives us a prospect of Good Men, Drawn in the most Agreeable and Beautiful Light, does Elsewhere represent Them under the utmost Disadvantages of Shade and Situation: They are Sometimes Figured out, as Crown'd with Happiness, and at Other times, as Loaded with Misery.
It will Therefore be neceflary, in treating of this Subject, to consider Three Things:
I. First, That the Proposal of Temporal Advantages, in the Text, is subjeB to several Limitations and Conditions, and not Intended to be Underjiood in an UNIVERSAL and ABSOLUTE fense, as Infallibly Ascertaining these Advantages to every Good man in the World;
II. Secondly, That according to the Natural state of Things, which God hath Determined, according to the Ordinary and settled Course andTendencies of Human Affairs, a Religious Life is the most proper and Likely means of securing those Advantages; And
III. Thifdly, That, Abstracting from the Natural Tendency of Things, God does frequently, by his Special Providence, vouchsafe these Advantages to his Faithful servants; And such Advantages, when placed in the hands of Good men, may be properly accounted Blessings.
I. That the proposal of Temporal Advantages, in the Text, is subjeB to several Limitations and Conditions, and not intended to be understood in an UN IVR RSAL and ABSOLUTE fense, as Infallibly Ascertaining these Advantages-to every Good man in the World. And the Truth of this Proposition may appear from the following Particulars.
ist. The Encouragement proposed in the Text, cannot be understood Otherwise, than as they are Compatible with the Established State and Order of Things in the World. If Honour and Riches, in the Highest fense of Them, were to be the Portion of every Good Man, the Consequence must be, (as Few Good men as there are in the World) that the Honourable and the Mighty would do more than bear a Just Proportion to their