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those, whose Unhappiness it will be to be Serm.IV. too well-acquainted with the Original. Here the Body pressed down the Soul, and the earthly Tabernacle the Mind, that mused upon many Things : But when the Soul Thall be clothed with refined Matter, which will not encumber her in her Operations ; her whole Duration will be one continued Stretch of Thought, without any
Pause or Intermission. And what a Misery must it be to be thinking still ; and yet to have little or nothing to think on, but endless Misery? To be at once deprived of all senfual Delights, and cut off from the Enjoyment of rational and substantial Bliss, is a Misery that we cannot now conceive, and—may we never feel !
That this may never be our Portion, let us, IIIdly, Attend to such practical Inferences, as arise from what I have before laid down,
ist, Beware of evil Habits. It is impossible to overcome intirely our first Nature ; and it is next to impossible to overcome long standing Habits, which are our second Nature. To destroy the Power of Vice is like laying the Ax to the Root of the
SERM.IV.Tree: And it is not one Stroke, however
vigorous, or one Endeavour, which will
Sleep, into which they fink back again,
overcome by the ' dead Weight, which
be too late ; but let it be likewise granted, Serm.IV. that a late Repentance is very seldom in this Sense fincere. If the Man were reinstated in his former Health, Ease possibly might recant the Vows, that were made in Pain, as null and void.
2dly, As you are to avoid evil Habits, be sure betimes to acquire good Habits, as the necessary Qualifications for Heaven. Some seem to think, that Religion consists in some broken disjointed Asts of Piety : But let them not deceive themselves : True Religion consists in the inward Frame of the Mind, in the standing Bent of the Inclinations, in settled Habits of Piety. constantly residing in the Breast, and, as often as there is Opportunity, breaking forth into outward Acts. Thys a Man shall think himself devout, if he now and then occasionally says his Prayers, and frequents the public Worship; though he often abfents himself upon every flight Occasion, upon no Occasion at all. But let him not deceive himfelf: If he were really devout, he would have a Relish for Acts of Piety, his Heart would cleave stedfastly unto God: and then he would not neglect private or public Prayers upon frivolous Pretences. Thus again a Man shall think himself cha
Serm. IV. ritable, because he now and then performs
occafonal transient Acts of Charity: But
are the main Ground-work and Founda-Serm.IV. tion of our future Happiness : We are not meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light.
Therefore, 3dly, Let us all consider, that our future Misery or Happiness depends upon our present Bebaviour. Our Happiness in Manbood depends upon those early Accomplishments, which we have acquired in our younger Years. If that
proper Seed Time of Life be neglected, we must expect no Harvest in the Autumn of it. Just so our Felicity in another Life must be owing to the Preparations we make for it here. And what we must be to all Eternity, will be the Consequence of what we have been in this world.
There is a certain Fool-bardiness prevailing among us in Relation to a future State. Men live as carelessly or profligately, as if they never were to depart this Life ; and then depart this Life with as much Stupidity and Hardness of Heart, as if they never were to live again. They rush unprepared into the Presence of the just, the holy Legislator of the whole World, as inconsiderately and audaciously, as the Horse rushes to the Battle, a Creature not capable of being frighted with Consequences, because incapable of