Pious Christian's preparation for his latter end
PIOUS CHRISTIAN's PREPARATION
To which is added,
JOB, chap. xxx. verſe 23.
For I know that thou wilt bring me to
dust, and to the houſe appointed for all
EVERY day ſpend some thoughts about eternity; the thoughts of eternity ſhould make you very ſerious about your ſoul; let us in time remember eternity, let us every minute we have to live, fo live as if we lived in fear of everlaſting torment. O man! who-ſoever thou art, think upon theſe things but thou eſpecially, who findeſt thyſelf guilty of any grievous ſin, repent and amend: remember eternity, and think upon the day of death, it is uncertain (illegible text) to part with all for Chriſt; to lay down your life for Chriſt, to loſe all to ſave your ſoul, and gain eternity. Many of you riſe up early, and go late to bed at night, and eat the bread of ſorrow all the day, and load yourſelves with thick clay; and I am ſure, that ſuch perſons being night and day taken up with the world, are not prepared for death.
I remember a word recorded of a wicked man, who was exceeding rich: ſaid he, I would give many thouſands of pounds if death would but give me one day longer: he got it not, and how ſuddenly may death ſurpriſe any of you as it did him. Therefore prepare for death. An admirable young child about five years of age, ſaid to his mother when his father was dead, the being often grieving for the loſs of her huſband, Grieve not mother, tho' my father be dead, yet God is alive, and from that day to the day of her death, ſhe never grieved more. My advice and council unto young perſons is, that you will pray to God and God will hear you, for he loves them that love him, and they that seek him early shall find him. If yon have a regard to your own eternal happiness, it ought to be your chiefest care to serve and glorify God, it was for this end that God both made and redeemed you: do but confider how welcome a young person is to God; it was to young Samuel, that God revealed himself and such time when the word of God was precious and very rare: and you know that St. John the youngest of all the disciples was the only person of all the twelve, who was suffered to lean on our Saviours bosom. Pray think, if you can, bow inconceivable a joy it would be to you, when in your elder years can think of your well spent time, and the innocence of your youth; how great a consolation will it be to you on your death-bed, how easy it will render your accounts at the great day of judgment? and how much a whole life spent in God’s service, will increase your glory in heaven? I can but counsel and warn you! I cannot compel you to be happy, if I could would: therefore be wife in time, that you be not miserable to all eternity; pray unto God,and the Lord will answer, he will guide you continually, and satisfy your fouls, and make fat your bones, and you shall be like a watered, garden, and God shall make the habitation of your righteousness prosperous: so ye know these things, happy are ye if you do them, and the glory of the Lord shall be your reward. I would (under God) be a means to help you to find your feet, and walk in the ways of God commandments, and run the pace, that is set before you.—The whole design and aim of this discourse is to warm the heart, enrich the conscience and direct the life: to teach men how to live and to die, and how to attain a blissful life after death.
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The Signs before the Day.
OF that day and hour knoweth to "man, no not the angels that are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Watch therefore, for it is uncertain whether the master of the hour (being gone into a strange country) we come at eve, or at midnight, the cock crowing, or at dawning.
Howbeit, certain signs go before this day, by which as by evening men may judge of the morning, we may prognosticate not only the nearness of the time but the terrors that will accompany it.
St Matthew fays, that before the coming of. this day, there will be great wars and troubles in the world, nation shall rife against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be great earthquakes in many places, and pestilence and famine, and terrible things air.St. Luke fays, there shall be false Christs, wars, sedition, famine, plague &c.
A Christmas Hymn.
CHristians awake, salute the happy morn,
Whereon the Saviour of the world was
Life to adore the mystery of Love, [born,
Which hosts of angels chanted from above,
With them the joyful tidings first begun,
Of God incarnate and the Virgin’s Son.
Then to the watchful Shepherds it was told,
Tho heard th' angelic Heralds, voice behold
I bring good tidings of a Saviour’s birth,
So you and all the nations upon earth,
This day hath God fulfill’d his promis’d word,
This day is born a Saviour Christ the Lord.
St David’s city, Shepherds ye shall find
The long foretold Redeemer of mankind;
Wrapt up in swadling clothes, the Babe divine,
Lies in a manger, this shall be your sign.
The spake, and straightway the celestial choir
The hymns of joy, unknown before conspire.
The praises of redeeming Love they sung,
And heav’ns whole orb with hallilujahs rung.
God’s highest glory was their anthem still,
Peace upon earth and mutual good will:
To Bethlehem th’ enlightened Shepherds ran,
To fee the wonder God had wrought for man.
And found with Joseph and the blessed maid
Her Son the Saviour in a manger laid.
Amaz’d the wond’rous story they proclaim
The first apostles of his infant frame:
While Mary keeps and ponders in her heart
The heavenly vision which the swains impart
They to their flocks still praising God return
And their glad hearts within their bosom burn
Let us, like these good shepherds then employ
Our grateful voices, to proclaim the joy.
Like Mary, let us ponder in our mind,
God’s wond’rous love, in saving loft mankind
Artless and watchful, as these favour’d swains.
While virgin meekness in the heart remains,
Trace we the Babe, who has retriev’d our loss
From his poor manger to his bitter cross.
Treading his steps, assisted by his grace,
Till man’s first heav’nly sate again takes place
Then may we hope th’ angelic throne anmong
To sing, redeem’d a glad triumphal song,
He that was born upon this joyful day,
Around us all his glory hall display;
Sav’d by his Love, incessant we shall sing,
Of angels, and of angel-men, the King.