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Vol. II. Death and Judgment come on apace ;
that yet a little while, and it will signifie little, whether we have been Princes or Peasants, Healthy or Crazy, Prosperous or Calamitous; but only whether we have been Vertuous or Vicious; whether we have made a good or a bad use of our Trials and Talents. These things you must seri. ously ponder ; these things you must often revolve ; we perish for want of thinking; we are lost for want of consideration. The Truths of the Gospel are mighty and powerful, but 'tis consideration must fer them home: without serious, without frequent confideration, no Truth can make either deep or lasting Impression upon us. We are earthy, worldly, carnal, and therefore not easily affected or moved. We are filly, inconstant, vain, and therefore apt to forget what is wise and good, and apt to entertain in the room of it, whatever offers it felt next, how slight and trifling foever: So that the things of the Body and the World do easily please, amuse, imploy and possess us, if we be not careful often to refresh and renew the memory of Divine Truths.
3. Have often in your Eye the Ex- Vol. II. amples of those, who through faith and patience, have inherited the Promises. Examples, we commonly fay, teach better then Precept ; I know not whether they clear and illustrate the Rule, whether they express and explain our Duty better than Words can ; but I am sure they affect and move us, or are apt to do so more than bare words there is a loveliness, a beauty, in Vertue, when rendred visible by Practice that can scarce fail of exciting in us some Defires and Affections towards it. How lovely does Integrity look, when it triumphs over the Temptations of Interest and Ambition ? How comely is Gratitude towards God and Man, when it expresses it self in the best Service it can render, either with Love and Joy ? What a Serene Majesty is there in Devotion, when, with David, we compass the altar of God with Joy, and an humble Reverence? When the Purity and Elevation of the Soul breaks out naturally, and whilst it is far from affecting to do so, renders the heavenly frame and temper of the Soul illustrious and visible, to any serious SpeEtator? This is one Reason why Ex
Vol. II. amples are said to instru& better than
the Language of Example is not only
from doing any Religious Duty ? and Vol. II. with what gust and pleasure they ha-, m ften afterwards to do it? In a word, the consideration of excellent Examples, will naturally be apt to raise these Thoughts in us; ôn what ground can I pretend to the reward of faithful Servants, if I do not labour as I see they do? how can I pretend to the Favour of God, if my Faith and Love do not produce in me the same Effects whichi I see they do in the Children of God.
The Influence of Con
versation with the Regulation thereof.
Prov. XIII. 20.
He that walketh with wife men fall be
wife; but a companion of fools fall be destroyed.
NOnversation has ever justly been
accounted a powerful Instrument of Good or Evil ; it has ever had a mighty Influence on the Conduct of Human Life; and the Vice or Vertue of the World, has ever in a great measure been owing to it. The Regulation therefore of it did in all Ages demand the utmost Prudence and Caution, but surely in none more than in this of ours : Nov, if ever, it is nes cessary for us to exhort all that have a concern for their own Souls, to shun the way of the Sinner, and refrain their Feet from the Path of the Wicked. Now, if ever, 'tis necessary for us