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if this Thought were but Continually kept up in our minds, that all these gratifications will Presently be past and gone, and as if they had never been; As if they had never been, in every respect, but that the Influence they have had upon our Lives will be Particularly examined, and receive its Just recompence, in the Judgment of the great day.
4. Let the Future Judgment be another Subject of our Daily Meditations.
That any man should be under a firm Persuasion and Expectation, that he Must hereafter appear before Christ our Judge, and before all the World, as Certainly and as Plainly, as we now appear before one another, at the same time his Vices appearing as plainly as his Person, and that he should, under this Expectation, wilfully suffer himself to be defiled by Sin, and to Continue under the Habit of it, is Unaccountable. How confusedly and Ghaftly will be the Consciences and the Countenances of all Impenitent Sinners,
whilst they stand a Spectacle before the : Judgment Seat, with all their Abominaons about them; And when they observe
the vast Assemblies of Saints and Angels, disapproving and disdaining them for their Folly in having neglected fo Great Salvation? How will they Despise and Hate Themselves, for having been prevailed on by Trifles, in their State of Probation on Earth, to lose all the Opportunities of being Happy, which now can never be retrieved; and to expose themselves to the Direful Sentence of Condemnation, now to be pronounced, and never to be Revoked? And as These reflections are of such near concernment to us, and in Themselves so Grating and Shocking, that if they be well attended to, they will not suffer a man to persist, easily, in a course of Sin and Danger; so the serious Thoughts of the Triumphant and Transporting Joy, which, in that Final Day of Retribution, shall shine in all Holy men, are abundant Encouragements to the Faithful Discharge of their Duty. With what unspeakable Delight will they Then Caress and Applaud themfelves, when they see themselves applauded and caressed by the Judge of the World, and by all the Ranks and Orders
of Angels, for their Wisdom in having seen through, and Rejected all the Deceitful Temptations of Sin, in the former Transient State, for the sake of that Everlasting Reward which is now to be Immediately bestowed upon them? O Blessed Reception ! Blessed Consummation! Who can forbear spending his whole Life in making Provision for it?
5. Let us entertain our minds with Daily Thoughts of Happiness in Heaven. It must needs be, that This World will engage our Affections, whilst we do not suffer it to be rivald by the Other; It must needs be, that we shall pursue Temporal Satisfactions, whilst no Other Satisfactions are so much as Thought of. But if we can persuade our selves to rouze our Thoughts, and carry them up into a Survey of that Heavenly Countrey, which is Revealed and tendred to us in the Gospel, Comparing the Happiness of That State with the Enjoyment of This, we shall easily and presently be convinced, that Common Prudence obligeth us, to govern our Lives by the Rules of Religion. For in such a Comparison, it will
undeniably appear, that Things present have the Advantage over Future Happiness, in no Other respect but This, That they Are present. Whereas all the Other advantages, which lie on the Other Side, do so strongly bear down this One, that ’tis of very little or no Weight, and Unworthy of our Regard. Though worldly Satisfactions are present, yet the Vanity of them is such, that indeed they should not even be Compared with the Bliss of Heaven, if our Folly did not make such a Comparison Necessary, to prevent our running into Fatal Mistakes. : And if Temporal Happiness were not, in its Nature, fo Empty and Unsatisfying as it is; yet the Duration of it is so very Short, that it does not deserve our Notice, any Otherwise, than that our taking of it may serve to render it Little and Contemptible in our Sight. For what Esteem can be due to those enjoyments, which Flie from us, as soon as ever we Overtake them; which Appear and Vanish in one and the same moment, never failing to Leave us, at least as Unsatisfied as they Found us. But the Duration of Future
Happiness, is equal to the other perfections of it. 'Tis an Eternal, as well as an Exceeding Weight of Glory. But Here we must not Attempt Description; for Words cannot reach the conceptions of Eternity. Surprizing Eternity of Bliss ! In all Good men, at once the Parent of Holy Admiration, and Ineffable Joy! Can any man's Spirits fail him, in running the Race set. before him, whilst he maintains in his Thoughts, a Distinct View of the Incorruptible and Eternal Crown of Glory prepared for him? .
But as to This, and the Other Meditations which I have been proposing to you, give me leave to intreat you, that Every one of them may be Frequent and Habitual; for the Efficacy and all the great Benefits arising from them depend, chiefy, upon our being Constant, as well as Attentive in the Exercise of Them. And if an account could be taken of all the Souls, now in a state of Misery; not any One perhaps could be found : There, but who had neglected to exercise himself Habitually, with These, or the like Meditations, and to Implore the Di