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lesser of the two evils, to lose a hand or eye, than to lose the soul, and, therefore, to be chosen if there were no other remedy. If the thief had no other way to forbear stealing, than to cut off his hand; or the fornicator to cure his lust, than to put out his eyes, it were a cheap remedy. A cheap and easy superficial repentance, may skin over the sore and deceive a hypocrite; but he that would be sure of pardon, and free from fear, must go to the bottom.

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Direct. XX. Live as with death continually in your eye, and spend every day in serious preparation for it, that when it cometh, you may find your work dispatched; and may not then cry out in vain to God to try you once again.'

Promise not yourselves long life: think not of death as at many years' distance, but as hard at hand. Think what will then be needful to your peace and comfort, and order all your life accordingly, and prepare that now, which will be needful then. Live now while you have time, as you will resolve and promise God to live, when on your deathbed you are praying for a little time of trial more. It is a great work to die in joyful assurance and hope of everlasting life, and with a longing desire to depart and be with Christ as best of all; Phil. i. 21. 23. O then what a burden and terror it will be, to have an unbelieving, or a worldly heart, or a guilty conscience. Now therefore use all possible diligence to strengthen faith, to increase love, to be acquitted from guilt, to be above the world, to have the mind set free from the captivity of the flesh, to walk with God, and to obtain the deepest, most delectable apprehensions of his love in Christ, and of the heavenly blessedness which you expect. Do you feel any doubts of the state of immortality, or staggering at the promise of God through unbelief? Presently do all you can to conquer them, and get a clear resolution to your souls, and leave it not all to do at the time of sickness. Are the thoughts of God and heaven unpleasant or terrible to you? Presently search out the cause of all, and labour in the cure of it as for your lives. Is there any former or present sin, which is a burden or terror to your consciences? Presently seek out to Christ for a cure by faith and true repentance; and do that to disburden your consciences now, which you would do on a sick bed; and leave not so great and necessary a work, to so uncertain, and short, and unfit a time. Is there any thing in this world that is sweeter to

your thoughts than God and heaven; and which you cannot willingly let go? Mortify it without delay, considering of its vanity; compare it with heaven; crucify it by the cross of Christ; cease not till you account it loss and dung, for the excellent knowledge of Christ and life eternal; Phil. iii. 7-9. Let not death surprise you as a thing that you never seriously expected. Can you do no more in preparation for it, than you do? If not, why do you wish at death to be

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tried once again? And why are you troubled that you lived no better? But if you can, when think you should it be done? Is the time of uncertain, painful sickness better than this? O how doth sensuality besot the world! and inconsiderateness deprive them of the benefit of their reason! sirs, if you know indeed that you must shortly die, live then as dying men should live: choose your condition in the world, and manage it as men should do that must shortly die. Use your power, and command, and honour, and use all your neighbours, and especially use the cause and servants of Christ, as men should do that must shortly die. Build and plant, and buy and sell, and use your riches, as those that must die, remembering that the fashion of all these things is passing away; 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30. Yea, pray and read, and hear and meditate, as those that must die. Seeing you are as sure of it as if it were this hour; in the name of God delay not your preparations. It is a terrible thing for an immortal soul to pass out of the body in a carnal, unregenerate, unprepared state, and to leave a world which they loved and were familiar with, and go to a world which they neither know nor love, and where they have neither heart nor treasure; Matt. vi. 19-21. The measure of faith which may help you to bear an easy cross, is not sufficient to fortify and encourage your souls, to enter upon so great a change. So also bear all your wants and crosses as men that must shortly die: fear the cruelties of men, but as beseemeth those that are ready to die. He that can die well, can do any thing, or suffer any thing: and he that is unready to die, is unfit for a fruitful and comfortable life. What can rationally rejoice that man, who is sure to die, and is unready to die, and is yet unfurnished of dying comforts? Let nothing be now sweet to you, which will be bitter to your dying thoughts. Let nothing be much desired now, which will be unprofitable and uncomfortable then. Let

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nothing seem very heavy or grievous now, which will be light and easy then. Let nothing now seem honourable, which will then seem despicable and vile. Consider of every thing as it will look at death, that when the day shall come which endeth all the joys of the ungodly, you may look up with joy, and say, Welcome heaven; this is the day which I so long expected, which all my days were spent in preparation for, which shall end my fears, and begin my felicity, and put me into possession of all that I desired, and prayed, and laboured for, when my soul shall see its glorified Lord. For he hath said, John xii. 26. "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be. If any man serve me, him will my Father honour." Even so Lord Jesus, remember me now thou art in thy kingdom, and let me be with thee in paradise; Luke xxiii. 42, 43. O thou that spakest those words so full of inexpressible comfort, to a sinful woman in the first speech after thy blessed resurrection; John xx. 17. "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." Take up now this soul that is thine own, that it may see the glory given thee with the Father; (John xvii. 24.) and instead of this life of temptation, trouble, darkness, distance, and sinful imperfection, I may delightfully behold, and love, and praise thy Father and my Father, and thy God and my God. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace. Lord Jesus receive my spirit;' Luke ii. 29. Acts vii. 59.

And now I have given you all these Directions, I shall only request you in the close, that you will set your very hearts to the daily, serious practice of them; for there is no other way for a ripe, confirmed state of grace: and as ever you regard the glory of God, the honour of your religion, the welfare of the church and those about you, and the living and dying comforts of yourselves; O do not sluggishly rest in an infant state of grace! Did you but know how a weak and strong faith differ, and how a weak and a sound, confirmed Christian differ, as to the honour of God, and the good of others, and especially to themselves, both in life and death, it would quickly awaken you to a cheerful diligence, for so high and excellent an end. Did you but well

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understand the wrong that Christ and the Gospel have sustained in the world, yea, in England, by weak, diseased, distempered Christians, your hearts would bleed, and with shame and grief, it would be your secret and open lamentation. Stir up then the grace that is given you, and use Christ's means, and do your best, and you will find that Christ is not an insufficient Physician, nor an uneffectual Saviour, or an empty Fountain; but that he is filled with all the fulness of God, and hath spirit and life to communicate to his members; (Zech. xii. 8.) and that there is no want which he cannot supply, and no corruption or temptation which his grace is not sufficient to overcome; John iv. 14. 2 Cor. xii. 9. Rom. vi. 4. 6. Col. iii. 1.3, 4.











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