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If thou wilt enter into life, says our Lord, Matt. xix. keep the commandments: there is no other way to life everlasting. And the first and greatest of all the commandments, is this, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, Matt. xxii. Now how few are there that keep this commandment? It is easy to say, with the generality of Christians, that we love God with our whole heart; but what is the practiceof our lives? Does not self-love, vainglory, sensuality, &c. on every occa sion take place? If so, it is in vain to say we love him above all things. And yet there is no salvation without this love. THINK WELL ON THIS. Besides, the apostle James declares, chap iv. 4. that whosoever will be a friend of this world, becomes an enemy of God. And St. John, epist. i. chap. ii. ver. 15. If any one love the world, the love of the Fether is not in him And Christ himself declares, that we cannot serve' two masters, Matt. vi. 24 How then can we think to reconcile the conduce of the greatest part of those who call
themselves Christians (whose whole study is to please the world, and to. conform themselves to its false maxims, corrupt customs, and deluded vanities) with their expectation of the kingdom of heaven, which is not to be obtained but by using violence to ourselves, by renouncing this sinful. world, and by a life of self-denial and mortification?
Consider, fourthly, how great a corruption is generally found evenamongst the greatest part of true be lieving Christians, and from thence, make a judgment of their future lot. How few are proof against human res pects, and the pernicious fear of what the world will say! Alas! what numbers sacrifice their eternal salvation to this accursed fear, by rather chusing to forfeit the grace of God, than the false honour and esteem of this world! How many of those, whose birth and fortune have advanced them above the level of their fellow mortals, live continually in the state of damnation, by a cursed disposition of never put ting up with an affront, and of preferring their worldly honour before
their conscience ! Unhappy men! who, by conforming themselves now to those false maxims of deluded worldlings will be trampled under foot by insulting devils for all eternity! How few masters of families are sincerely solicitous for those under their charge, to see that instructions be not wanting, devotions be not neglected, &c and that nothing scandalous or sinful lurk under the favour of their negligence or connivance ! and yet the apostle assures us, that if any man neglects the care of his family, he is worse than an infidel, 1 Tim, v. 8. How few parents effectually take care to bring up their children from their infancy in the fear of God, and to inspire into them an early horror of sin above all evils! Ah! what a double damnation will the greatest part bring upon themselves, by sacrificing these. tender souls to the devil and the world, which they might with so much ease have consecrated to heaven! In fine, not to run over all states of life in particular, is it not visible that injustice, impurity, pride, detraction, &c. every where reign among Christians ;
and that the number of those who live up to the gospel is very small? Good God! have mercy on us, and grant t us grace to be of the number of the few, that so we may be included in the number of the saved.
On Mortal Sin.
Onsider, first, that there is not
nor even in hell itself,
a more hideous, filthy, abominable monster, than mortal sin: a monster, the first born of the devil: or to speak more properly, the parent both of the devil and hell There was not in the whole universe a creature more beautiful, more perfect, more accomplished with all kinds of gifts, both of nature and grace, than was the bright angel Lucifer and his companions; yet one mortal sin, and that only com sented to in thought, changed them in an instant into ugly devils, just objects of horror and abomination to God and man. What effect then think ye will sin have upon man, who is but dust and ashes, if it blast so foully the stars of heaven? It was this mon
ster, sin, that cast our first parents out of paradise, and condemned both them, and us their posterity, to innumerable miseries and to both a tenporal and eternal death. It was sin that drowned the world with the waters of the flood! and daily crouds hell with millions of poor souls, to be the fuel of endless flames. Good God! deliver us from this accursed evil.
Consider, secondly, that sin is the death of the soul. For as it is the soul of a man which gives life to his body so consequently that body from which the soul has gone, is dead; in like manner it is the grace of God which is the life of the soul, and that soul is dead which has lost her God and his
grace by mortal sin. If, then , a dead carcass, from which the soul is gone, be so loathsome and frightful, that few could endure to pass one night in the same bed with it, how is it possible, unhappy sinner, that thou canst endure to carry continually with thee the carcass of a soul dead in mortal sin, which is far more loathsome and hideous! Ah! beg of God that he would open thy eyes to see thine