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comparison of whose favour all the honours, riches, and enjoyments of this world, are as nothing.
Deliver me, I beseech thee, from the shame and anguishı, the horror and confusion of a guilty conscience; and give me that comfort and complacency of mind, which arises from the consciousness of having been faithful in thy service, and obedient to thy will. And, since thou hast been graciously pleased to make thy service the most perfect freedom, and the practice of our duty so conducive to our present as well as future well-being: O make me steadfast and immoveable in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that, baving faithfully served thce in this life, I may at last be found meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, through the sole merits and intercession of our eternal advocate and mediator Jesus Christ. Amen.
In the foregoing chapter I have endeavoured to shew, that Religion is the only solid foundation of happiness in this world; the only thing that can make us
pass the time of our pilgrimage here on earth, with any tolerable ease. and satisfaction. I shall now proceed in the next place, to consider the great advantage of a good life, from the comfortable prospect it gives us when we come to die.
This is an advantage peculiar to virtue and Religion; and to which a life of sin and wickedness never pretended. The most which the latter promises its votaries, is to regale their senses for a little time : it gives them no hopes beyond the grave; nor aims at any thing farther than a short lived happiness. When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish. Prov. xi. 7. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained all that this world can give him, when God taketh away his soul ? Job xxvii. 8. All his enjoyments are then at an end; and those schemes, upon which he had built his happiness wiil vanish and conje to nothing. But with a good man it is far otherwise : he looks beyond this present life, and beholds with an eye of faith the heavenly Jerusalem,
the city of the living God; that place · of endless happiness, which God has
prepared for thein that love him. In the hopes and expectations, of this happiness, he considers himself as a pilgrim and stranger upon earth.Sa is daily endeavouring, through the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, by a life of virtue and righteousness, to become meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.
It must indeed be owned, that death is the great king of terrors; that the dissolution of soul and body, and the thoughts of becoming a prey to the devouring worms, carries in it something very shocking to human nature : yet to a good man, death appears in a quite different view. He considers, that to leave this world is only to quit a place
of trouble and vexation, of vanity and emptiness: it is to leave a barren und dry wilderness, where no water is, for the delightful regions of felicity, where are rivers of pleasure, and a never ceasing spring of endless comfort, which will satisfy the most longing desires of the soul. He considers, that though this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, yet he has a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; and is assured with Job; that his Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the letter day upon the earth : and that though his body be destroyed, yet in his flesh he shall see God, whom he shall see for himself, and his eyes shall behold, and not anather's, Job xix. 25, 26, 27.
This is what Religion promises to them, who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality. It is the hopes and expectations of this unspeakable happiness that fortify the mind of a good Cbristian, and give him a courage and resolution, which even death itself shell not be able to shake.
It was this that gave holy David such a firmness of mind as made hiin say, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me : thy rod and thy staff comfort me. Ps. xxiii. 4. He had made God his portion, his hope, and his trust: The Lord, says he, is my stony rock, and my defence, my Saviour, my God, and my might, in whom I will trust; my buckler, the horn also of my salvation. Ps. xviii. 1. And though we find him sometimes complaining, that the sorrows of death had compassed him, and the over-flowings of ungodliness made hin afraid; that the pains of Hell came about him, and the snares of death overtook him ; yet the great confidence he had in the goodness and love of God, and the firm belief of a better life after the present, overcame all his fears. I had fainted, says he, but that I verily believe to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Ps. xxvii. 13.
Religion has been the support of good men in all ages. It is certain, whoever leans upon any thing else will