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them, they think religion requires them to say, they are quite willing to die. We desire, say they, to depart, when, alas ! all their desires are to make a tabernacle in the world, for it is good, they think, to be there. They tremble at the coming of Christ, and yet they cry, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Ah! Be not conformed to this world, open thy heart that it may be known, discover the maladies of thy soul, that we may apply, such remedies as are proper. Do not imagine you will acquire such sentiments and emotions as saints of the first order had by talking their language : but imbibe their principles in your mind, and their tempers in your heart, before you make use of their language.
The fifth mistake is this. Most dying people speak to their ministers only in the presence of a great number of attendants, and most attendants interfere in what ministers say on those occasions. Be not conformed to this world. Two reasons may convince you of the necessity of being alone. The first regards the pastor. Surrounding attendants divert his attention from the sick person. The second regards the sick person himself. Would it be just or kind to give him directions in public? What! would you have us in the presence of a husband lay open the intrigues of an immodest wife, and endeavor to bring her to repent of her lasciviousness by convicting her of her crimes ? Would you have us reprove the head of a family for the iniquity that has disgraced his long life, in the presence of his son? Would you have us exhort a dying man to make restitution of his ill-gotten wealth in the presence of an hungry heir, who already gluts his eyes, and satiates his soul with hopes of succession ? Were we casuists after the Roman fashion, did we compel consciences to reveal secrets to us, which ought to be confessed to God alone, did we interfere with your families and properties, there would be some ground for your scruples: but while we desire nothing but to èxonerate your consciences, and to awaken your souls to a sense of danger before they be plunged into an abyss of eternal misery, respect our conduct, and condescend to submit to our instruction.
To these I add one mistake more. Most dying people trust too much to their ministers, and take too little pains themselves to form such dispositions as a dying bed requires. Be not conformed to this world. It is not enough to have external help to die well, we ourselves must concur in this great work, we must by profound meditation, by frequent reflections and by fervent prayers support ourselves under this last attack, and thus put the last hand to the work of our salvation. It is true, the infirmities of your bodies will affect your minds, and will often interrupt your religious exercises ; but no matter, God doth not require of a dying person connected meditations, accurate reflections, precise and formal prayers, for one sigh, one tear, one ejaculation of your soul to God, one serious wish rising from the bottom of your heart will be highly esteemed by the Lord, and will draw down new favors upon you.
To conclude. The multitude is a bad guide in regard to faith, in regard to manners, and in regard to departing out of this life. A man who desires to be saved, should be always upon his guard lest he should be rolled down the torrent: he ought to compile in his closet, or rather in his conscience, a religion apart, such as is, not that of the children of the world, but that of the disciples of wisdom. Be not conformed to this world.
I finish two reflections. I address the first to those, who derive from this discourse no conse
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any proofd udgment wage the likes
quences to direct their actions :' and the second to such as refer it to its true design.
First. I address myself to you who do not draw any consequences from this discourse to regulate your actions. You have seen a portrait of the multitude. I suppose you acknowledge the likeness, and acquiesce in the judgment we have made. It seems, too many proofs and demonstrations establish this proposition, the multitude is a bad guide. Now you may follow which example you please. You may make your choice between the maxims of Jesus Christ and the maxims of the world. But we have a right to require one thing of you, which you cannot refuse us without injustice, that is, that granting the genius of the multitude, when you are told you are destroying yourselves, you do not pretend to have refuted us by replying, we conduct ourselves as the world does, and every body does what you condemn in us. Thanks be to God, your proposition is not strictly true! Thanks be to God, the rule hath some exceptions! There are many regenerate souls, hidden perhaps from the eyes of men, but visible to God. There are even some saints, who shine in the sight of the whole world, and who, to use the expression of Jesus Christ, are a city set on a hill, Matt. v. 14. What then, you never cast your eyes on the most illustrious objects in this world ! Do you reckon for nothing what alone merits observation in society, and what constitutes the true glory of it? Have you no value for men for whose sake the world subsists, and society is preserved ?
However, your proposition is indisputable in a general sense, and we are obliged to allow it, for our whole discourse tends to elucidate and establish the point. Allege this proposition, but do not allege it for the purpose of opposing the censures you have heard, or of getting rid of our reproofs. By answering in this manner you give us an advantage over you, you lay a foundation which you mean to destroy, you do not furnish yourselves with a shield against your ministers, but you yourselves supply them with arms to wound and destroy you. Why do we declaim against your conduct? What do we mean when we reprove your way of living, except to convince you that it is not answerable to the christian character which you bear? What do we mean except that you break the vows made for you in your baptism, and which you yourselves have often ratified at the Lord's table? What, in one word, except that you do not obey the laws of the gospel? But what can you advance more proper to strengthen the testimony which we bear against you than that, which you advance to weaken it, that is, that you live as the world lives.
All the world, say you, conduct themselves as we do, and every body does what you censure us for doing. But all the world conduct themselves badly, all the world violate the spirit of religion, all the world attack the maxims of Jesus Christ, all the world run in the broad road of perdition, all the world are destroying themselves, and the apostle exhorts us not to take the world for an example.
Secondly. I address myself to you, who sincerely desire to apply this discourse to its true design. I grant, the road opened to you is difficult. To resist the torrent, to brave the multitude, to see one's self like Elijah, alone on the Lord's side, and, in this general apostacy, in which a christian so often finds himself, when he desires to sacrifice all to his duty, to recollect motives of attachment to it, this is one of the noblest efforts of christian heroism.
However, after all, it would argue great puerility to magnify our ideas of the crowd, the many, the multitude; it would be childish to be too much struck with these ideas, every body thinks, in this manner, all the world acts thus. I affirm, that truth and virtue have more partizans than error and vice, and God hath more disciples than satan. What do you call the crowd, the many, the multitude » What do you mean by all the world? What! You and your companions, your family, your acquaintances, your fellow citizens, the inhabitants of this globe, to which the Creator hath confined you; is this what you call all the world ? What littleness of ideas ? Cast your eyes on that little mole bill, occupied by a few thousand of ants, lend them intelligence, propose to one of these insects other maxims than those of his fellows, exhort him to have a little more ambition than to occupy a tiny imperceptible space upon that mole hill, animate him to form projects more noble than that of collecting a few grains of corn, and then put into the mouth of this little emmet the same pretext that you make use of to us; I shall be alone, all the world conduct themselves in another manner. Would you not pity this insect? Would not he appear more contemptible to you for his mean and spiritless ideas than for the diminutiveness of his body? Would you not look with disdain on an ant, that had no other ambition than that of taking for a model other insects about him, and preferring their approbation before that of mankind, who hold a rank so high in the scale of the world? My brethren, give what colors you will to this imagination, it is however certain, that you would form unjust ideas of this insect. An emmet hath no relation to those beings, which you propose to him for models. Such ideas of happiness as you trace to him