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of more knowledge, do difable that power and faculty which fhould make ufe of it when they have it.

How will men attend for feveral hours to a lewd and extravagant play, and fit not only with patience, but with delight to hear things fpoken, which are neither fit to be fpoken nor heard?"

And above all, how eager and earneft, how bufy and induftrious are a great part of mankind, in the purfuit of their ambitious and covetous defigns? How forely will they labour and travel? how hardly will they be contented to fare, and how meanly will they live themfelves, to make they know not whom rich? even any body that happens to come in their way, when they make their laft wills.

And are men at all thefe pains for compaffing of their fow and mean, of their vile and wicked defigns, to do themselves no good; nay, for the most part, to hurt and deftroy them felves; and are the prefent pleafures and fatisfaction of our minds, and eternal life and hap pinefs in another world, things of no value and effeent with us is falvation itself fo flight and inconfiderable a thing, that it deferves none of this care and diligence to be used for the obtaining of it?

IV. Confider that when we come to die, nothing wilt yield more true and folid confolation to us, than the rememberance of an ufeful and well-fpent life, a life of great labour and diligence, of great zeal and faithfulness in the fervice of God; and on the contrary, with what grief and regret fhall we look back upon all thofe precious hours which we have fo fondly mifplaced in fin and vanity? how fhall we then with that we could recall them, and live them over again, that we might spend them better? all that time which now lies upon our hands, and we know not how to bestow it and pass it away, will then moft affuredly lie heavy upon our confciences.


anguifh and confufion have I feen in the looks and fpeeches of a dying man, caufed only by the grievous rememberance of an unprofitable and ill-fpent life! So foolish are many men, as never ferioufly to think for what end they came into the world, till they are just ready to go out of it.

V. Con

V. Confider, that the degrees of our happiness in another world will certainly bear a proportion to the degrees of our diligence and industry, in ferving God and doing good. And it is an argument of a mean fpirit, not to afpire after the beff and happiest condition, which is to be attained by us. To be contented barely to live, when by our pains and induftry we may become confiderable, and raife ourselves above the common level of men, is a fign of a poor and degenerate mind; fo is it in the bufinefs of religion, to be contented with any low degrees of virtue and goodnefs, and confequently of glory and happiness, when by a great diligence and induftry in ferving our generation according to the will of God, we may be of the number of thofe, whofe reward fhall be great in heaven, and have a place there, among thofe righteous perfons, who fhall fhine as the fun in the kingdom of their Father.


Befides, that it may prove a thing of dangerous confequence to us, to deal thus ftrictly with God, and to drive fo near and hard a bargain with him; we may eafily mifs of happiness and come fhort of heaven, if we only defign juft to get thither; we may be mistaken in the degree of holiness and virtue, which is neceffary to recommend us to the divine favour and acceptance, and to make us capable of the glorious reward of eternal life for unto whom foever much is given, faith our Saviour, of him much fhall be required; to him that hath only one talent committed to him, it may be fufficient to have gained one; but he that hath many talents entrufted with him, may gain one, and yet be a wicked and flothful fervant; proportionably to our advantages and opportunities, our duty encreafeth upon our hands, and better and greater things may juftly be expected from us. The confideration whereof fhould make us unwearied in our endeavours of doing good, and stedfast and unmoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as we know that our labour fhall not be in vain in the Lord.

VI. And lastly, Let us confider the argument here in the text, There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither we are going. Longe quiefcendi tempora fata dabunt, we fhall then reft from


our labours, and our works will follow us. This life is the time of our activity and working, the next is the feason of retribution and recompence; we fhall then have nothing to do, but either to reap and enjoy the comfort of well-doing, or to repent the folly of an ill-fpent life, and the irreparable mifchief which thereby we have brought upon ourselves; There is no work nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou geeft; intimating that our life is a continual journey towards the grave, fhorter or longer as God pleafeth; and many times when we think ourselves far from it, we may be juft upon it, and ready to ftumble into it. So that our time of working may be very fhort, to be fure it is very uncertain.

And it is very well worth our confideration, that as there is no work nor wisdom in the grave, fo there is very little to be exercifed when we come to draw near to it, whether it be by fick nefs or old age: fufficient furely for that day will be the evil thereof. We had need then to have nothing elfe to do, but to be old and weak, to be fick and die; we fhall find that to be burden and trouble enough.

Let us therefore work the work of him that fent us into the world, while it is day for the night cometh, faith our Saviour, (by which may probably be meant the time of fick nefs or old age) the night cometh when no man can work; fo that what we do, we must do quickly, mind the work which is before us, and ply it with all our might, as if it were the laft opportunity we fhould ever have; and fo it may prove for ought we know, for it is ten to one but that fome here present, and God knows which of us it may be, may now have the laft opportunity in our hands, and that but a flippery hold of it, and may never have this counfel given us again, nor perhaps be long in a capacity to make ufe of it; for when death hath once overtaken us, it will fix us in an unchangeable flate; as the tree falls, fo it shall lye.

This is the time of our work and preparation for another world, and what we do towards it in this life, will avail us in the other; but if this opportunity be neglected, there is nothing to be done by us afterwards, but to inherit the fruit of our own folly and neglect; to fit down in everlasting forrow, and to be immutably

fixed in that miferable ftate, which whilft we were in this world we could never be perfuaded to take any tolerable care to avoid.

And if we can do nothing for ourselves to help and relieve us in that state, much lefs can we think it can be done to us by others, by the configning of maffes and prayers, of merits and indulgences to our ufe and benefit in another world. No, fo foon as ever we are paffed into the other ftate, we fhall enter upon a condition of happiness or mifery, that is never to be altered. So that this life is the proper feafon for wisdom to fhew itself, and to exercife our beft induftry for the attaining of happiness; it will be too late afterwards to think of altering or bettering our condition, for death will conclude and determine our ftate one way or other, and what we are when we leave the world, good or bad, fitted for happiness or misery, we shall remain and continue fo for ever.

Therefore it infinitely concerns all of us, to exercise our best wisdom in this prefent life, and what we have to do for our fouls, and for all eternity, to do it with all our might; to contrive and use the best means to be happy, while the opportunity of doing it is yet in our hands; we may easily let it flip, but no care, no wifdom, no diligence, no repentance, can retrieve it; when it is once loft, it is loft for ever.

Hear then the conclufion of the whole matter; would we enjoy ourselves and the peace of our minds while we live? would we have good hopes and comfort in our death, and after death would we be happy for ever? let us lay the foundation of all this, in the activity and industry of a religious and holy life; a life of unfpotted purity and temperance in the ufe of fenfual pleafures, of fincere piety and devotion towards God, of ftrict juftice and integrity, and of goodness aud charity

towards men.

And let us confider that many of us are a great way already on our journey towards the grave, that our day is declining apace, and the fhadows of the evening begin to be stretched out; therefore that little of our life which is yet behind us, should be precious to us, ut effe folis gratius lumen folet, jam jam cadentis, we fhould in

prove that which yet remains, as it were for our lives, always remembering that our only opportunity of working, of defigning and doing great and happy things for ourfelves, is on this fide the grave, and that this opportunity will expire and die with us; For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither we are going.

Now, God of his infinite mercy grant, that we may all of us know, in this our day, the things which belong to our prefent peace, and future happiness, before they be hid from our eyes, for his mercy's fake in Jcfus Chrift; to whom with thee, O Father, and the Holy Ghoft, be all honour and glory, thanksgiving and praife, now and for evermore.



Of the bleffednefs of giving, more than that of receiving.

ACTS XX. 35.

And to remember the words of the Lord Jefus, how he faid, It is more blessed to give, than to receive.

The whole verfe runs thus,

I have fhewed you all things, how that fo labouring ye ought to fupport the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jefus, how he faid, It is more blessed to give, than to receive.


HE words which I have read to you have this particular advantage to recommend them to our more attentive confideration, that they are a remarkable faying of our Lord himself, not recorded by any of the Evangelifts among his other fayings and difcourses, but remembered by the Apostles, and by fome


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