Imágenes de página

works before men, that they may receive Praise from Them, shews how apt we are to be delighted with an apprehension, that our virtues are observed and approved, notwithstanding that they do most finfully abuse and misapply this Apprehension. 'Tis undoubtedly Natural to desire that our Light so shine as to be observed; But 'tis the Corruption of this Defire to wish, and study, and contrive, that our virtues may be seen of men, purely in order to gain Praise from them; As it is, on the other hand, the Improvement of this natural Defire, to propose to our selves the being observed and approved by the Almighty, or by men for the sake of Advancing his Honour, and 7heir Spiritual advantage. There is nothing more certain, than that virtue is more agreeable to our Nature than vice, if our nature be considered in its purest and best State; But such are our Depravities, that we should in many instances give vice the Precedency, and neglect the tedious Prescriptions of virtue, if we were not firmly persuaded, that God does Regard and will not forget our work and labour that proceedeth of love. - - But faithfully moted in the book of his Remembrance, and will be amply rewarded in the day of Retribution. 4thly, The Belief of God's Omnipresence is the Source of Consolation in that time of Pressing Necessity and Distress, when there is no Room for any Comfort but what Religion supplies, the Great and Solemn hour of Death. They who

[ocr errors]

are near to Dissolution, and have there

fore finally passed through all the Seasons and all Possibility of Temporal Comfort, must needs be Sollicitous and Jealous and Suspicious concerning the Important Events of the Soul's Separation from the Body; But all this uneasiness is at once prevented by the Thoughts of God's Omnipresence, if our lives have but been suitable to our Belief of it. Satan is in Scripture styled the Prince of the Power of the Air; And it hath been an antient opinion, that, being thus placed in these lower regions, he is permitted to seize upon the Souls of wicked men as soon as ever they are separated from the Body, and to hurry them into Torment. But this opinion it self cannot moleft us, in that Thoughtful and Busy and Shocking hour, if a Belief of this Attribute be firmly rooted and established in us. For the Prince of the Power of the Air cannot exercise any Dominion over us, or offer any violence to us, when the Almighty himself is present with our souls, and will effeótually defend us from the fury of the Destroyer. The Holy Scripture teacheth, that when the Body returns to the Earth from whence it came, the Spirit returns into the Hands of God that gave it. We shall then have no Occasion to be follicitous for the Condition of the Soul after its Separation, since God who made it receives it Immediately from the Body, and disposes of it accordingly. 'Tis incumbent upon us now to consider and revolve these things with Attention, and to render them familiar to our minds, because That final Period will quickly come upon every one of us, when we cannot avoid being follicitous and intense about them, and shall find, that there is nothing else worthy of being revolved or regarded. 5thly and Lasily, The Belief of God's Omnipresence should convince us, that - - the

3 - and

the Fruition of him' in Heaven must be attended with Unspeakable Glory and Delight. It must be a necessary Consequence, that if God's Essence be unlimited and infinite, the full Manifestation of it must be most Highly Glorious and Delightful; And That full Manifestation of it is reserved for us in Heaven. Now our Assent to the Divine Presence is grounded upon the Effects of it, and the Revelations of it in Holy Scripture. But That, which is now the Objećt of our Faith, will Then become the Objećt of our Sight. Though our Minds, shaded and veil'd, and darkned by our Bodies, cannot at present conceive how That is, yet undoubtedly Spirits have a clear Perception and Knowledge of one another, and Perfeót Entercourse and Communications with one another; And even, as to our future Knowledge of the Infinite Spirit, God himself, we are taught that we shall know him even as also we are Known. How we shall be rendred capable of the Beatifick Posion, we cannot tell, God knoweth; But we are positively assured, that we shall see him as he is. As our Sight is now the great Means of

« AnteriorContinuar »