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Vol. II. 1. Examine your felves whether
do mreally believe that there is a Day of Judg
ment to come. What Wonders would this Belief produce, where it but deeply rooted in us? Jamblicus tells us, That Zamol xis reduced even the Barbarous Getes, and Savage Thracians, to a strict observance of Justice and Virtue, by instilling this Doctrine of a Judgment in another Life. This was that which inspir’d Noah with his Fear ; Joseph with his Chastity; Moses with his Meekness and Humility, and a whole Cloud of Prophets and Confessors with an insuperable, Courage and Patience in welldoing, even the Belief of a Judgment to Come, wherein God would render to every Man according to his IVorks. This is the very Strength and Power of the Gospel ; this is the Foundation of all Religious, Hope and Fear, a Judgment to Come. But whatever Efficacy this
Article does contain in it, yet The Word Heb. iv.2. can't profit, not being mix'd with Faith in
them that hear it. 'Twas Faith tliat render'd the Message of Jonah so succes
ful to the Ninivites; for it is said, The John iii. 5. People of Nineveh believ'd God. 'Twas
Faith that taught Noah to escape the De
luge, being moved with Fear he prepar’d Heb. xi. 7. 'an Ark, to the saving of himfelf and his
House. House. But without this the Terrors of Ser. I. the Lord will not seize upon us, the Demo nunciation of a Judgment to come will no more frighten us than empty Noise, and harmless, tho' loud Sounds. This therefore is the first thing we ought to Examine our selves, about, whither we do really believe a Judgment to Come.
| 2. We are to Examine our felves whither we be fit to appear before God at this Day of fudgment; and here,
ist. We must reflect upon our Lives past. You know that Day will discover and try not only all your Actions, but all your Affections too : Have they been such as are fit to appear before a Just and Holy God? Have they been such
would be willing to present them naked to the View of Sober and Religious Men? Have they been such as that they can endure the Sentence of your own Consciences ? For if our Heart 1 John iii. condemn us, God is greater than our Heart, 20. and knoweth all things.
But you'll say, alass! in this Sence, Who can be fit to appear before God in Judgment ? Væ etiam laudabili vitæ, so Stricto judicio, remota misericordia, discutias eam, said St. Austin. Wo be to the most unblameable Life, if God should enter into a strict Examination of it. 'Tis
Vol, II. true, 'tis not to be expected that we
V should never have finned; were we to
be judg’d by this Rule, Lord! Who then could be sav?d? But 'tis expected we should wipe off the Stains and Pollutions of our Sins by unfeigned Repentance, that so they inay not rise up in Judgment against us. For there is a vast Difference in this Point, whither our Sins appear in Judgment as bewaild, detested, and condemn’d by our selves; for then they are like Idols burnt into Ashęs, and the very Dust of them scatter'd by those who once Worshipp'd them: Or whither as such, which we have continu'd to love and indulge; for then the Judge of the World will be able to Reproachi us with them, as he did once the Ifrazlites, Go and cry unto the Gods which
je Judges 3. have chosen, let them deliver you in the
time of your Tribulation. If our Sins appear in Judgment, as such, under whose Dominion we have lived to the last, they will be then indeed as Witnesses against us rising up to Condemn us. But if we have cast of their Yoke, and broken their Bonds ; if no Sins be charg’d upon us, but such as we had in our Life time forsaken and despis'd, they will then attend us only as Slaves do the Triumphs of a Conqueror; they will then only appear as the Trophies of Ser. I. our Victories, and the Marks of our Success in the Fight of Faith : Therefore, tho' we can't appear in Judgment without Sin, yet we must labour to appear without any Sins besides those which we have bewaild, which we have forsaken, which we have condemn’d, which we have conquer'd. This is the first Part we must attend to in the Examination of our felves, viz. The Consideration of our Lives past.
The ad Part of this Examination must consist in trying the Sincerity of our present State. Now this Sincerity consists in a hearty and honest Endeavour of growing better and better, of increasing in all Spiritual Grace, and abounding more and more in all the Fruits of Righteousness ; The greatest Perfection which God requires of Man being to labour heartily affer Perfection. When we are taught to Pray that we may do the Will of God on Earth, as it is done in Luke si Heaven, we are taught rather what we are to aim at, than what it is we can attain to; unless the Resemblance here consists not in the Perfection, but in the Sincerity which Men ought to shew in the Service of God. Thus therefore are we to demand of our felves: What
Vol. II. Proof have we of the Sincerity of our V Present State, such as can abide the Fie
ry Tryal of the Day of Judgment ? Where are the ten Talents, or the five Talents, or the one Talent that our Lord entrusted us with? What Fruit, what Interest has our Employment of 'em gain'd, our great Lord' and Master? What Improvement have we made ? What excellent Effects has the Knowledge of his Divine Trutlis produc'd in us ? What Resemblances of God have the Communications of his Blessed Spirit form'd in us? Where is our Love of God and of Jesus Christ? Where is our Love of our Neighbour ? Where is our Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness? Where is our Purity? Where is our Humility? Wliere is our Self-denyal? What are the Fruits, what are the Instances of 'em that we can trust to, as unquestionable Marks of our Sincery? Or at least wise can our own Consciences acquit us, that we do strive and labour after the Attainment of these Graces ? That we Struggle and Contend, and Fight, and Watch, and Pray? That We Hear, and Read, and Meditate on the Word of God? That we Examine our felves frequently and seriously? That we shun all Opportunities and Óc