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will much more easily get the assurance and comfort of his forgiveness and salvation.
Direct. 2. ' Renew your sense of the vanity of this world :' which at such a time one would think, should be very easy to do. When you see that you are near an end of all your pleasures, and have had all (except a grave to rot in) that ever this world will do for you, may you not easily then see, whether the godly or the worldly be the wiser and the happier man; and what it is that the life of man should be spent in seeking after? Matt. vi. 33. Isa lv. 1-3. Eccles. vii. 3-6.
Direct. 3. Remember what flesh is, and what it hath been to you;' that you may not be too loath to lay it down.
Of the dust it was made, and to the dust it must return. Corruption is your father, and the worm is your mother and your sister; Job xvii 14. “ Drought and heat consume the snow waters; so doth the grave those which have sinned : the womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him;" Job xxiv. 19, 20. “ Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but this mortal must put on immortality,” by being made a spiritual body; 1 Cor. xv.
And this flesh hath cost you so dear to carry it about; so much care and labour to provide it food, to repair that which daily vanisheth away; and so many weary, painful hours; and so many fearful thoughts of dying, that methinks you should quietly resign it to the grave, which hath been so long calling for it.
Especially considering what it hath done, by the temptations of a vitiated appetite and sense, against your souls; into how many sins it hath drawn you; and what grief and shame it hath procured you; and what assurance and heavenly pleasures it hath hindered ; and how many repentings, and purposes, and promises it hath frustrated or undone : 'methinks we should conceive that we have long enough dwelt in such an habitation.
Direct. 4. • Foresee by faith the resurrection of the body, when it shall be raised a spiritual body unto glory; and shall be no more an enemy to the soul.'.
Direct. 5. Renew your familiarity with the blessed ones above.'' Remember that the great army of God (the souls of the just from Adam till now) are all got safe through this
Red Sea, and are triumphing in heaven already; and that it is but a few stragglers in the end of the world that are left behind : and which part then should you desire to be with? And remember how ready those angels which rejoiced at your conversion, are to be your convoy unto Christ; Lukę xvi. 23.
Direct. 6. But especially think with greatest confidence and delight, that Jesus your head is entered into the heavens before you, and is making intercession for you, and is preparing you a place, and loveth your company, and will not lose it. You shall find him ready to receive your souls, and present them spotless unto God, as the fruit of his mediation: he will have you be with him to behold his glory, and none shall take you out of his hands. Let his love therefore draw up your desires, and establish your hearts in confidence and rest.'
Direct. 7. Remember, that all that are living must come after you; and how quickly their turn will come ;' and would you wish to be exempt from death alone, whieh the whole world below must needs submit to?
Direct. 8. Think still of the resurrection of Christ your head ;' that you may see that death is a conquered thing, and what a pledge you have of a life to come,
Direct. 9. Dwell still in the believing forethoughts of the blessedness of the life to which you go, as it is your personal perfection, and the perfect love and fruition of God, with his perfect joyous praise.'
Remember still what it is to see and know the Lord, (and all things else in him, which are fit for us to know ;) and labour to revive your love to God, and then you revive your desires and preparations,
Direct. 10. Give up yourselves wholly to the will of God; and think how much better it is for upright souls to be in God's hand than in your own. The will of God is the first and last, the original and end of all the creatures. Besides the will of Infinite Goodness, there is no final rest for human souls. But man's will is the alpha and omega, the beginning or first efficient, and the ultimate end of all obliquity and sin: be bold then and thankful in your approach to God, remembering how much more safe and comfortable it is to be (for life and death) at God's disposal, than our own,
Besides these, read the directions against the fear of death, in my book of “ Self-Denial;" and what is said in my "Saints' Rest," and other the treatises before mentioned.
CHAPTER XXVIII. How by Faith to look aright to the coming of Jesus Christ in
BECAUSE I have said so much of this also, in my“ Saints'
faith and hope, by placing Christ's kingdom in things too low, or that are utterly uncertain.'
Think not so carnally of the second coming of Christ, as the Jews did of the first, who looked for an earthly kingdom, and despised the spiritual and heavenly: and make not the unknown time, or other circumstances of his coming, to be to you as the certain and necessary things; lest you do as many of those called Millenaries or Fifth-MonarchyMen among us, who have turned the doctrine of Christian hope ipto an outrageous fury, to bring Christ down before his time, and to make themselves rulers in the world, that they might presently reign under the name of the Reign of Christ; and have by seditious, rebellious railing at Christ's ministers, and hating those that are not of their mind, done much to promote the kingdom of Satan, while they cried up nothing but the kingdom of Christ.
Direct. 2. .Do all that you can in this day of grace, to promote Christ's present kingdom in the world, and that will prove your best preparation for his glorious coming."
To that end labour with all your might, to set up life, and light, and love, abhorring hypocrisy, ignorance, and un-: charitableness; turn not religion into a ceremony, carcase, or dead imagery or form: nor yet into darkness, error, or a human, wandering, distracting maze: nor into selfish, proud, censorious faction: Build not Christ's kingdom as the devil would do, by hypocritical dead shows, or by putting out his lights, or by schism, division, hatred and strife. Read James iii.
Direct. 3. “Yet leave not out of your faith and hope, any certain part of Christ's glorious kingdom.' We know that we shall for ever be with the Lord, and in the presence of the Father in heavenly glory; and withal, that we shall be in the New Jerusalem; and that there shall “ be a new heaven, and a new earth, in which shall dwell righteousness; and that we shall judge the angels and the world.” And if we know not the circumstances of all these parts, let not therefore any of them be denied; 1 Thess. iv. 11. 2 Cor. v. 1. 3. 8. Rev. xx. xxii. 2 Peter iii. 13.
Direct. 4. · Think what a day of glory it will be to Jesus Christ;' Matt. xxv. 31. O how different from his state of humiliation ! He will not come again to be despised, spit on and buffetted, blasphemed and crucified: Pilate and Herod must be arraigned at his bar; it is the marriage-day of the Lamb; a day appointed for his glory; Rev. xxi. xxii.
Direct. 5. • Think what a day of honour it will be to God the Father ; how his truth will be vindicated, his love and justice gloriously demonstrated ; Matt. xxv. 2 Thess. i. 8,9.
Direct. 6. Think what a day it will be to all the children of God;" to see their Lord, when he purposely cometh to be "admired and glorified in them;" 2 Thess. i. 11, 12. To see him in whom they have believed, whom they loved and longed for; 2 Peter iii. 11-13. 1 Peter i. 8. To see him who is their dearest head and Lord; who will justify them before all the world, and sentence them to life eternal : to see the day in which they must receive the end of all their faith and hope; their prayers, labours and patience to the full; 1 Peter i. 8, 9. Rev. ii. iii. Matt. xxv. 2 Peteriv. 13.
Direct. 7. · Think what a day it will be to the shame of sin, when it shall be the reproach and terror of the world ; and to the honour of holiness, when faith, obedience and love shall be the approved honour of all the saints : and what a day of admirable justice it will be, when all that seems crooked here, shall be set straight :' O the difference that there will then be in the thoughts of sin and holiness, in comparison of those that men have of them now!
Direct. 8. • Think what a confounding day it will be to the infernal serpent, and all his seed;' Matt. xxv. 41. 16. When impudent boasters shall then be speechless, and all iniquity shall stop her mouth; Matt. xxv. 44. xxii. 12.
Psal. cvii. And when Lazarus shall be seen in Abraham's bosom; and the enemies of the saints shall see them ad vanced (as Haman did Mordecai) and rejoicing when the glory of Christ is revealed; 1 Peter iv. 13. When every scorner's mouth shall be stopped, and all stand guilty before their Judge, (Rom. iii. 4. 19.) and the wretched unprepared souls must, for departing from God, be sentenced to depart into misery for ever! Matt. xxv. 41. 46. Jude 6.
Direct. 9. · And think what a change that day beginneth both with the saints and with the world : What a glory it is that we must immediately possess, in body and soul; and how we must partake of the kingdom of our Lord: saints shall be scorned and persecuted no more: the threatenings and promises of Christ shall be no more denied by unbelievers : sin will be no more in honour, nor pride and sensuality bear sway; the church will be no more eclipsed, either by its lamentable imperfections and diseased members, or by the divisions of sects, or the scatterings of the cruel, or the slanders of the lying tongue; Ephes. v. 27. Satan will no more tempt or trouble us (Rev. xii. 9. Matt. xxv. 41.); Sin and Death will be excluded ; and all the fears and horrors of both: for the face of Infinite Love will perfectly and perpetually shine upon us, and shine us into perfect perpetual glory, love and joy; and will feed these, and the thankful and praiseful expressions of them, to all eternity; Matt. v. 46. 2 Cor. iv. 17. Rev. ii. iii.
Direct. 10. Lastly, Think how near all this must needs be. If the day of the Lord was near in the times of the apostles, it cannot be far off to us. If the world's duration be to six thousand years (the time which arrogant presumption most plausibly guesseth at), it will be less than three hundred and fifty years to it. Though we know not the time, we know it cannot be long.
And let me conclude with a warning to both sorts of readers : And 1. To the ungodly, unprepared sinner. Poor soul! dost thou believe this dreadful day or not? If not, why dost thou dissemble, by professing it in thy creed? If thou do, how canst thou live so merrily or quietly in a careless, unprepared state? Canst thou possibly forget so great, so sure, so near a day? Alas, it will be another kind of meeting, than Christ had with sinners upon earth ; when