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casions of Sin diligently? That we walk Ser. I. circumfpectly and with Fear, and do fim nally, daily bemoan our Backwardness and Imperflections? If these Things be in 1 Pet. i. you
and abound, then look up and lift up your Luke xxi. Heads, for your Redemption draweth nigh. 28. The Day of Judgment shall be to you a Day of Triupmh; and the Voices of Angels shall be heard, as the Joyful Noise of those that fout for the Vi&tory. But if upon due Examination, we can't find any true Marks of this Sincerity in us, then we are to proceed to the
2d Thing, wherein this Preparation consists, viz. Repentance. When St. Pea ter had told the Jews, they were all to know assuredly, that God had made that same Jesus, whom they had crucified, both Lord and Christ, and they being mov’d with Religious Fear, began to cry out, Men and Brethren, what shall we do? Peter an- A&s ii.36, swers, Repent and be Baptiz’d. Baptiz?d 37, 38. we all are, but this is the Preparation for Judgment that becomes the Sinner, Repentance. This is that which softens and appeases God, and if I may fo say, difarms him of his Rage and Indignation. This is that which deliver'd Nineveh from its approaching Ruin; and would have deliver'd Sodom and Gomorrab themselves, could it but have been
Vol. II. found in them. The Flames of Judg
ment will not touch, will not hurt those whom the Waters of Repentance, and the Effusion of the Divine Spirit have cleans'd and fanctify’d; only defiPd polluted Sinners being combustible Matter for that Flame. Apuleius tells us, that à little before his Time, when the Burnings of Vesuvius broke in like a Deluge of Fire upon all adjacent Cities and Villages for many Miles round ; There was one Town found of that Piety, that the young and strong did not labour to escape by a hasty Flight, or to carry away their Wealth with them, but laying their Aged Parents, and Sick Relations on their Backs, refolved either to save them, or to perish with them. When the destroying Flame came to this Place, it divided it self; and as if it durst not touch Holy Grouud, it incircled the Walls of this Place with a harmless and inoffensive Light, without the least Injury to the Place; so that that Fire, which consum'd other cities and Villages, did but, as it were, make a bright Crown to reward the Piety of this, or to prefigure that Reward which fhall attend the Righteous in the great Day of Judgment. For thus shall it fare with the Penitent at that Day, their Eyes shall behold the Ruin of Ser. I. (O that it must be faid!) many many Thousands, but they shall be in Safety'; for Repentance anticipates the Day of Judgment, do's prevent the Evils of it, and while the Conscience, like the ViceRoy of God, does exercise the Judgment of God against all Sin and Unrighteousness, it prevents the dreadful Part of the Work of that Day, and leaves no Matter for Damnation. Thus speaks
1 Cor. xi. the Scripture, If we would Judge our selves, 31; we should not be Judged. And indeed 'tis not reasonable to imagine that those Sins which we have bewaild, which we have fought against, which we have conquerd, which we have crucify’d, should appear in our Retinue as their Patron's and Entertainers. If therefore you would escape the Wrath to Come, this is the 2d. part of your Preparation, you must Repent.
And this doth plainly import thus much.
ist, An unfeign'd Sorrow for your Sins.
2dly, A stedfast and well-grounded Resolution of living conformable to the Will of God for the time to come. And
zdly. The Bringing forth Fruits meet for Repentance in the remaining Part of your Matt, iii.
Vol. II. Lives: But waving a more full Consi
deration of these at present, I pass on
3d. Part of your Preparation, which
When we have done all, we must say ive are
unprofitable Servants. We must not come
ousness? We must therefore, when we Ser. I. have done all, lay our selves at the Foot m of the Cross of Christ, overflow'd with Tears, and cloathed with Humility; and we must intreat God to be Mercifull to us by the Agonies and Scourging, by the bitier Death and Pallion of our dear Lord and Master. We must put our selvès under his Protection, and desire with St. Paul to be found in him not having our own Righteousness,but that which is thro Phil.iii.... the Faith of Chrift, the Righteousness which is of God by Faith. He is our Peace, he is our Hope, he is our Confidence in that great Day: 'Tis in the Lord we rejoyce, 'tis in the Lord we Glory, who is of God made unto us Wisdom, and Righte- 1 Cor. i. ousness, and Sanétification, and Redempti-30, He has loved us and wash'd us from our
Rev. i. Sins in his own Blood, and he ever lives to make Intercession for us; and therefore we 25. know there is no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.
Rom.Viji The Last, and that an effectual means of fitting us for that Day, is to think often and seriously of its Approach. No Thoughts do more effectually tend to awaken the Souls of Men, to inspire them with Religious Fear and Zeal, than the Thoughts of a Judgment to Come: No Thoughts do more effectually tend to