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weakness and all perverseness ; our affections being set in right order and frame, with a constant regularity tending unto that which is really best, and taking a full delight therein : wherein we shall enjoy the blissful sight of God, smiling in love and favour upon us; the presence of our gracious Redeemer, embracing us with most tender affection ; the society of the holy angels, and of the just made perfect; whose company and conversation, how unconceiv. ably sweet and delightful must it be! wherein nothing adverse or troublesome can befall us; no unpleasant or offensive object shall present itself to us; no want, or need of any thing shall appear; no care, or fear, or suspicion; no labour or toil, no sorrow or pain, no distaste or regret, no stir or contention, no listlessness or satiety shall be felt, or shall come near us; where God (as it is in the Apocalypse) will wipe Rev. xxi. 4. every tear from the eyes, (of them who shall come there,) and death shall be no more; nor sorrow, nor clamour, nor pain any more: it is, in fine, a state in excellency surpassing all words to express it, all thoughts to conceive it; of which the brightest splendours and the choicest pleasures here are but obscure shadows, and faint resemblances; comparable to which no eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard any thing; nor hath it ascended into any heart of man , Cor. ii. 9. to conceive the like ; as St. Paul, out of the prophet Isaiah, telleth us : which state, seeing by a pious life we certainly do acquire a right unto, and shall enjoy a possession of; but from an impious life do forfeit all pretence thereto, and shall infallibly be deprived of it; are we not infinitely mad, are we not extremely enemies, and injurious to ourselves, if we do not embrace the one, and eschew the other ?
Again ; What is the other state, that of death? what but a state of lowest disgrace and ignominy; of utter shame and confusion ; of intolerable pains and miseries, without any ease or respite, without any hope or remedy, without any cessation or end ; wherein we shall not only for ever be secluded from God's presence and favour; not only be deprived of all rest, comfort, and joy; but detruded into utmost wretchedness; into a condition far more dark and dismal, more forlorn and disconsolate, than we can imagine; which not the sharpest pain of body, nor the bitterest anxiety of mind, which any of us hath ever felt, can in any measure represent; wherein our bodies shall be afflicted continually by a sulphureous flame, not only scorching the skin, but piercing the inmost sinews; our souls shall incessantly be gnawed upon by a worm, (the worm of bitter remorse for our wretched perverseness and folly; the worm of horrid despair ever to get out of that sad estate ;) under which unexpressible vexations, always enduring pangs of death, always in sense and in desire dying, we shall never be able to die : which miserable state, since it is by performing our duty surely avoided, since by neglecting or transgressing God's laws it is inevitably incurred; if we do not accordingly choose to demean ourselves, how infinitely careless are we of our own good, how desperately bent to our own ruin!
If these considerations make no impression on us, what can any reason effect? what can any words signify ? how monstrously sottish or wild do we appear to be! I conclude with prayer to Almighty God, that, according to his infinite mercy, he, by his gracious assistance leading us in the ways of piety
and righteousness, would bring us to everlasting life and happiness; that he by the same powerful grace withdrawing us from impiety and iniquity, would rescue us from eternal death and misery ; To him, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be for ever all glory and praise. Amen.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
THE DOCTRINE OF THE SACRAMENTS.
* Si per omnia precationum sanctarum verba discurtas, quantum existimo nihil invenies, quod non ista Dominica contineat et concludat oratio : unde liberum est aliis atque aliis verbis, eadem tamen in orando dicere, sed non debet esse liberum alia dicere. Aug. ad Probam Epist. cxxi.