A DISCOVRSE OF ETERNITIE Collected and Composed for the Common good, By W. T.

ACADEMIA OXONIENSIS
‘SAPIENTIA FELICITATIS’

OXFORD Printed by IOH: LICHFIELD, for WILLIAM WEBBE, An. D. 1633.

THE FIRST CHAPTER Containing an Introduction to the ensuing Discourse.

THere is nothing can fully satisfie the mind of Man but that which is aboue man,Fecisti nos ad te domine, & inquietum est cor nostrum donec requi­escat in te. Aug, lib. 1. Cons. cap. 1. all the treasures and riches vnder Heaven can­not make vp a proporti­onable object for the soule. For that which must terminate the de­sires of so excellent and divine a nature, must bee of a correspondent & like condition with it, that is, in­finite and immortall. Now no sublunary blessings ex­tend thus farre: All worldly happinesse, and earthly delights haue their changes, and haue their death. They are short in their continuance, and vncomforta­ble in their end. For they leaue vs, when we leaue the world, and they nothing availe vs in the day of triall, when our bodies shall descend into the slimie vally, & our soules returne to God that gaue them, then all the [Page 2] choicest comforts of this life glide away from vs as the streame, and the sunne of our ioy will set for ever. Our beautie wherein wee haue so much prided our selues, shall turne into rottennesse, our mirth into wormewood, our glory into dust. Now if this be the condition, if such the state of our best pleasing conten­tations here below, how vndiscreetly, improuident of our soules welfare should we be, to bound our affecti­ons on the things of this world, what a madnesse be­yond admiration, were it in vs, to trifle out our time, to waste and weare out our most pretious daies in the va­nities vnder the sunne, as if God had placed vs here on earth, like the Leviathan in the Sea, to take our pastime in it; to ingulfe our soules into the sensuall pleasures of this life, as if we had neither hope nor ex­pectation of a life to come, what an intollerable stupi­ditie were it, for the short fruition of a momentary content here, to plunge our selues for everlastingnes into a sea, as it were of fire and brimstone, where wee shall see no bankes, and feele no bottome. Me thinkes the serious consideration hereof, should even cut the heart, and damp the mirth, and wound the very soule of the most glorious and selfe pleasing worldling, whose life is nothing but a change of recreations, to thinke vpon his fading state, his flowing condition, his declining ioy, his dying life, and endlesse eternitie, to see how all things in him, and about him goe speedily forward in a most sensible declination, to behold with his eies, how his goods, and his greatnesse, his liuings, and his life, and all the most pretious delights which his sensuall heart enioyes, are already winged as it [Page 3] were for their flight, and must shortly bid him an e­verlasting farwell. And then what shall bee his stay, where shall be his shelter, what will remaine to bee done, but with that sad and disconsolate Heathen, to shut vp all in that hopelesse and helplesse lamentation, Anxius vixi, dubius morior, heu quo vado, I haue squandred out my life in an vnfruitfull way, I haue li­ved vnresoluedly, and die doubtfully, and now whe­ther away O my soule, woe is thee and alas for ever­more. And such is the bitter close, and vncomforta­ble ende of all those who goe desperately on in the waies of their hearts, and in the sight of their eies, and make not God their strength; though their excellen­cy mount vp to the heauens (saith Iob) and their heads reach vnto the cloudes, yet shall they perish for euer as their doung, and the eye which hath seene them shall doe so no more, Iob. 20.6. O then how deepely doth it concerne vs, to raise vp our desires to things a­boue, to fix our hearts vpon the true rocke, to drawe our waters of comfort from the euerliuing fountaine, to trust so much more on God, by how much we haue lesse on earth to trust to. Now for our better incou­ragement to this dutie, and to the end wee may the more easily vnloose our affections from the imbrace­ments of this world, it will not bee vnworthy our la­bour to meditate a while vpon the nature of that Eternitie which doth vnavoidably abide for vs either in horror or happinesse in the life to come.

CHAP. II. Containing a description of Eternitie, with a briefe declaration of the nature and condition of it.

ETernitie is an infinite, endlesse, bottomelesse gulfe, which no line can faddome, no time can reach, no age can extend to, no tongue can ex­presse. It is a duration alwaies present, a being al­waies in being, it is one perpetuall day, which shall ne­ver see an Euening. Infinite are the descriptions of the Ancients, and divers their expressions, touching this Eternitie. The Egyptians conceiuing that God was eternall, and his duration and being to bee properly tearmed Eternitie, represented the diuine power by a Circle, which had neither beginning nor end. And hence it was that the Ancient Romans erected Tem­ples which they dedicated to their Gods in a circular figure. Thus Numa Pompilius deuoted a round Tem­ple to the Maiestie of Vesta. And Augustus Caesar the like in honour of all the Gods: Pythagoras the better to expresse that God was eternall, commanded his Schollers that so oft as they accommodated them­selues to the worship of God, they should turne them­selues round. The Turkes euery morning ascend into an high Tower built in the fashion of the Egyptian Pyramides, where they deuoutly salute their God and Mahomet, crying with a lowd and roaring voice, De­us semper fuit, semper (que) erit, God alwaies hath beene, and euer will be. Mercurius Trismegistus, the most fa­mous among the Philosophers, represented God the [Page 5] true Eternitie by an intellectuall spheare, whose Cen­ter was euery where, but without any circumference, because he was the beginning and ende of all things, not bounded within any compasse, nor terminated in any limits. It was an vsuall custome among the Naso­mons, an ancient people in Africa, that they coveted to dye sitting, and would alwaie be buried in the same posture sitting in Cells vnderneath the earth, and this they did to fignifie by that vnmoueable gesture, that they should now sing a requiem from the businesse of this troublesome world, and had now ariued at the hauen of eternall quietnesse: Thus we see how these miserable heathen who had no other light but nature, no other guide but those lame and corrupted princi­ples, which were left in them after the fall, did not­withstanding according to their broken and weake apprehensions, tire out themselues in the expression of Eternitie, and how euer they were vnhappily igno­rant in the waies of God in this life, yet they earnestly laboured to know what should become of themselues hereafter, and to finde out the state of the life to come: Oh how iustly might I (were it not a digression) take vp a lamentation and deplore the wretched condition of our times, how short doe wee fall, euen of the per­fection of Heathens, what man is there amongst vs, that casteth forth so much as a thought vpon Eternity? wee liue here as if there were no life hereafter. Our Earth is our Heauen, and our pleasures, our Para­dice, we crowne our heads with rose buds, wee eate of the fat, and drinke of the sweet, and say in our hearts, no euill shall happen to vs, & yet when we haue done [Page 6] all, Omnes humanae consolationes sunt desolationes, Hearts ease will not growe in this earthly garden, the true rest will not be found, but in the true place, the eternall Hierusalem, sound and entire contentment hath no rooting in this world. For as one hath it ex­cellentlyDispone & ordina omnia secundum tu­um velle & vi­dere, & non invenies, nisi semper a li­quid pati de­bere, autspon­te aut invite & ita crucem semper inve­nies. dispose & marshall all things to thine own hearts desire, yet shalt thou (doe what thou canst) still meet with some crosse or presure in the way. Since it is so, let vs not then determinate our affections in these earthly things, which are of no continuance, but let vs send our hearts before vs to those heavenly mansions where they shall be crowned with fulnesse of happinesse, and shall swimme in streames of plea­sures for evermore. Certainely there is no true rest but that which is eternall, & the sweetest refreshment our soules can finde in this world, consists in the seri­ous meditation of the ioyes to come, in devoting our selues and all we haue to his seruice, from whom wee haue them, in trusting to him, and relying on him, for out of God the soule findes no resting place to set her foot on, but every where stormes and waues, death & hell abide her, when we haue improued our content­ments to the very height of our desires, when we haue attained as much happinesse as the world can giue vs, yet then may we be cut off perchance in the midst of our daies, when our breasts are full of milke, and our bones full of marrow, or suppose we spinne the thred of our life to a longer day, and God crowne vs here with the blessings of his left hand, the comforts of this life, and length of yeares, yea though all things fa­vour our longer continuance in this world, yet in the [Page 7] end time and age will ruine vs. Wee shall bring our yeares to an end, like a tale that is told, and shall vanish away like a shadow, though we liue many yeares, and in them all we reioice, yet in the end we shall remem­ber the daies of darknesse, saith Solomon, and the time shall come that the eye which saw vs, shall see vs no more.Soles occide­re & redire possunt, nobis cum occidet, semel brevis lux, nox est perpetuo vna dormienda Cat. The Sunne sets, and riseth againe, but we alas when our glasse is runne, and the short gleame of our sommers day is spent, shall neuer returne till our last summons, when the dead shall heare the voice of the sonne of God, and they that heare it shall liue, and come forth of their graues, they that haue done good to the resurrection of life, and they that haue done e­vill to the resurrection of condemnation, both to Eter­nitie, and then shall follow that large day, that shall ne­ver shut in, that infinite continuation of time that shall neuer end, that vnlimited Eternitie, which ever hath beene, and is, and will be the same for euer, when the Sunne shall no more yeeld her light by day, nor the Moone her brightnesse by night, but God shall be our light, and the Lord our glory. But oh the vnhappy condition of our age, who is there that ponders these things with a digested meditation, that lookes into the state of his soule with a serious eye, that examines his conscience, vnvaileth his heart, and considereth his waies. That endeauours to lay a good foundati­on for the time to come, wee stand at the doore of Eternitie, and while we liue, we are euery day entring into it, it's but a stroake of death & we are gone, even in a moment, and whether? from our short and fading delights, to an endlesse, easelesse gulfe, where our [Page 8] worme shall never die, nor our fire shall neuer out. Now let all those who swim in the streames of their voluptuousnesse, putting far from them the evill day, who labour to expell from their hearts, and to stifle in the bud the sad consideration of their approaching infelicities, let them (I say) knowe, that they may fall into this vast gulfe of Eternitie, when they least su­spect it; into which when once they haue vnhappily plunged themselues, they may desire redemption, but shall not finde it.Postqaum istinc excessū fuerit, nullus poenitentiae locus, nullus satisfactionis effectus, Cyp. It shall be one of their torments, to know they shall never be out of torment. All the gold of Opher cannot purchase them one minute of reliefe from their vnexpressible miseries. But now, euen now is the jubile, now is the accepted time, now is the pro­mulgation of pardon, there remaines nothing for our parts, but to sue it forth, we need not many hundred of yeares or number of daies to redeeme our mispent time, and to wash out our contracted pollutions, no, one day, may through Gods gratious favour, and lo­ving indulgence, procure more mercy here, then Eter­nitie of time may obtaine hereafter, one sigh from a true sorrowfull heart here, shall prevaile to discharge more debts, then infinite ages shall acquit or satisfie for hereafter. Here God with patience expects our repentance, but if we abuse his forbearance and come not in, hereafter with trembling wee shall abide his judgement:

Let vs therefore be wise in time, and remember our creator in the daies of our youth, before the evill daies come, and the yeares approach, wherein wee shall say, we haue no pleasure in them, before our dust [Page 9] returne into the wombe from whence it came, and our lungs be locked vp into the brestlesse earth, be­fore that black and gloomy day, the day of death and dissolution appeare to vs the which (if our timely re­pentance here prevent not our doome) will seale vp our soules to eternall darknesse. Let vs consider that wheresoeuer we are, whatsoeuer wee goe about, wee stand euery minute of our time in the glorious pre­sence of anImmanifestus omnia autem manifestans per omnia ap­paret & in omnibus. incomprehensible maiestie, whose bright and most piercing eye, is ten thousand times clearer then the Sunne, who knows all hearts, sees all actions, vnderstands all councells, viewes all persons, there's not a word in the tongue, not a thought in the heart, not a sparke of lust in the flesh, though neuer so softly blowne, and secretly kindled, but he beholds it altoge­ther, he is all eare to heare, all hand to punish, & when and where he please, all power to protect, and all grace to pardon, he that findes not his mercy, shall feele his fury: and who amongst vs can dwell with devouring fire, who amongst vs can dwell with everlasting bur­nings?

CHAP. III. Expressing how all men doe naturally beleeue this Eternity.

WIthin these hundred yeares many nations haue beene discouered and many are disco­vered still which were vnfound in former ages. Amongst them some haue beene found to liue without law, without King, but yet none without [Page 10] some knowledge of God, and of some everlasting be­ing in the world to come. What moued the Brack­mans in India, and the Magies amongst the Persians, to begin and end their vndertakings with prayers to God? What moued Publius Scipio never to enter into the Senate house before he had ascended the Capitall, avowing that principle as constantly in his practise as he did in his knowledge, A Iove principium? What made Caligula (which threatned the aire if it rained on his game-plaies) yet, to runne vnder his bed, and wrap his cappe about his head at a clap of thunder? What moued Attillius Regulus (who had no other teacher then a naturall illumination) to preferre the obligation of his oath before the safty of his life, and rather then he would breake his ingaged word and promise to the Carthaginians, expose himselfe to all the torments that the cruelty and malice of his eni­mies could inflict vpon him? what moued the Sagun­tines a people of Arragon to that vndaunted resoluti­on of theirs, who hauing plighted their faith and loy­alty by solemne oath to the Romans, chose rather to entombe themselues voluntarily in a fire which they made in their Market place, then to breake their faith to the said Romans which they had so solemnly swore and sacredly avowed vnder their protection? what, I say, could moue these meere naturalists to such a feare of an oath; to such a trembling at Gods iudge­ments, to such austerity, and care, and censorious cir­cumspection in all their waies and actions, but that they naturally apprehended what they truly & distin­ctly vnderstood not, viZ: Some immortall happinesse [Page 11] and everlasting being? and this they conceaued was beyond the mountaines, or aboue them, or in some o­ther world, they knew not where, according as their severall fancies led them.

Certainely they would never haue so much vnder­valued their earthly contentments, and sold all the comforts of this life (as some of them did) at so cheap a rate, but that they trusted to some future rest of more enduring substance after this life, and comforta­bly expected the immortall fruition of such ioyes as should abundantly countervaile the losse of all their pleasures. When I revolue in my minde the Stoicall reseruednesse, the moderation, the vnconquerable cou­rage of these miserable Heathens, when I see Cleombro­tus in hope of immortalitie to tumble himselfe vo­luntarily downe a hill, when I see Socrates smile vpon his hemlocke, and fullen Scevola burne off his owne hand without euer gnashing his teeth at it, when I see Marcus Cato scorne his owne life because his enimie gaue it him, and teare off the salue from his bleeding sides, which his owne sword had peirced: When I thus behold these vnhappy soules in the light of na­ture, to conquer nature it selfe, and to build these their resolutions vpō no other ground but the slender hope of some vnknowne contentment in the life to come, me thinkes these magnanimous acts of theirs howeuer they are not for the imitation of vs Christians, yet doe they tend to our condemnation. Their hope did ex­ceed their knowledge, & our knowledge doth exceed our practise. God hath revealed to vs the immortality of the soule, and the eternity to come, in a farre more [Page 12] cleare and perspicuous manner, then euer to the hea­then Idolaters, and yet we lesse regard it: what should more affect vs here since our life is but a vapour, then to knowe what shall become of vs hereafter? and yet the consideration hereof lies like a waight of lead vp­on our soules; and we iudge the very thought hereof a burthen. Wee readily apprehend such things as con­cerne vs in this world: our honours, our preferments, our pleasures we looke on with a cheerefull eye: but alas with how slow and dull a pace doe we proceed in the pursuit of our future blessednesse? wee meet with many stops in our way, many turnings in our iourney: and the truth is wee must not expect to arriue at so happy a hauen without some stormes; but what are these to Eternitie that long day that shall neuer shut in; that vnum perpetuum hodie, that beginning ever in be­ginning, in which the blessed doe euerlastingly enioy their happinesse, and renew their pleasures, and the damned are alwaies dying yet never dye? O that the meditation of this our future state could sinke deepe enough into our hearts, that we would make that the obiect of our thoughts here, which must be the obiect of our accounts hereafter, that the sense of our sinnes were the chiefe matter of our sorrowes, then should we enioy an eternitie hereafter boundlesse for time, endlesse for happinesse, where our ioyes should bee such, as should neither change nor perish.

CAP. IV. Explaining how Nature hath represented and shaddowed out Eternity to vs in some of the creatures.

NOw to the end wee should bee the farther en­couraged vnto the inquisition of eternity, God hath not only planted the knowledge hereof in the hearts of the Heathens but hath also re­presented it in the nature of the creatures. For if wee search with a narrow eye into the secrets of nature, how many things shall wee finde in the world; as liuely resemblances, shadowing as it were, and trace­ing out vnto vs this eternity? Solinus reports of a stone in Arcadia which being once inflamed burnes perpetually. And of this matter were your burning lampes made, which continued (as Histories speake) so many hundreth yeares in ancient Sepulchers. Like herevnto in the nature of it is your Linum vivum, a certaine kinde of linnen knowne in India which is vncombustible, nay it is not only, not consumed by the fire but it is as it were cleansed and washed & pu­rified by the heate thereof; and hence it was that the body of the ancient Romane Emperors when they were to be buried according to the funerall rites of those times, were shrouded vp into such linnen to preserue their ashes and to avoide a confusion and mixture of their bodies with common dust.

Behold, here nature it selfe suggests an eternity to thy soule, while it presents to thee such things as the [Page 14] fire cannot consume, many other such Symboles and representations of immortality may bee found in the booke of the creatures. The Salamander liueth in the fire and perisheth not, those famous hills in Sicily haue beene on fire continually, beyond the memory of man, and yet remaine whole and vnconsumed. The like we reade, of that O leum incombustibile (as Historians call it) an oyle that ever burnes, but will never waste, & of the matter of this was that burning torch composed, which was found in Tulliola, daugh­ter of Cicero her sepulcher: which continued burning fifteene hundreth yeares. These and many other shad­dowes and traces of eternity, God hath vouchsafed vs to stirre vp our dead and drowsy hearts to a more ex­act inquisition and serious consideration of the time to come. For in the booke of the creature wee may see the power of the Creator and out of these particu­lar workes of his we may vnderstand that, that God which hath endowed nature with such admirable qualities can giue the flesh also such a condition, that it shall endure according to his mercifull dispensation either torments or happinesse for evermore.

Now then to draw all this to an issue, since it is vn­doubtedly true that God hath provided an everlasting being for the soules of men in the world to come: since he hath engrauen the knowledge hereof as with an Iron pen in the consciences of the Heathen, since he hath giuen vs so many liuely resemblances and tra­ces thereof in the secrets of nature, and in the workes of his creation, Oh how should the meditation of this take vp our deepest thoughts, our refinest affections? [Page 15] how should this cause vs to reflect vpon our soules; to ponder our waies and with an vndazeled and vnde­sembling eye throughly to trye and to descry cleare­ly our owne state, whether we be already washed with the blood of Christ and enliuened with a supernatu­rall vigour and life of grace, or yet ly polluted in our owne blood?

Oh, how can any man be at rest and quiet in his minde, till he be assured and secured in this point; since that vpon it depend his everlasting estate in another world? our daies wee see are wouen with a slender thred, our time short, our end vncertaine, and when the oyle in our lampes is spent, and our glasse runne out, then ex vnico momento pendet duplex aeternitas, we fly in a moment to an everlasting being either in horror or happinesse, where wee shall receiue accor­ding to the workes of our hands. If wee haue appro­ved our selues sincere in Gods service, iust in our acti­ons, diligent in our callings, faithfull in our promi­ses, wee shall then attaine the end of our faith, the sal­vation of our soules; and the conscience of our well spent life, shall at that dismall day replenish our soules with abundance of consolations.

Then all our teares shall bee wiped from our eyes; what we haue sowed in sorrow, we shall reape in ioy, when we haue finished our course & ended our com­bate with sinne and death: then shall our crowne bee sure, our victory glorious, and our triumph Eternall; our graue shall be but as a sweet refreshing place to our wearied bodies, and death shall be our day starre to everlasting brightnesse.

But on the other side; if wee haue in the whole course of our warfare here, expended our pretious time in the service of sinne and Sathan, and crumbled away the best and choicest of our yeares in the lusts of the flesh, and sports of vanity; then the issue of all will be death, and our end destruction. Our mirth wil be turned into wormewood, and our ioy into heaui­nesse: all our delights in this earth shall vanish as the flower, our sun shall set in a cloud, and our daies of iol­lity and contentation shall irrecoverably be involued and turned into perpetuall darknesse.

CHAP. V. Containing a short digression touching the eternity of the damned.

AND here it will not be vnseasonable, nor any digression from the point in hand to consider with our selues, for our better encouragement to the waies of holinesse, the condition of that eterni­ty which the damned haue in hell. O the vnhappy and ever deplorable state of those poore soules, who feele nothing for the present but wrath and vengeance, and can expect nothing to come but the vialls of Gods in­dignation to be powred on them, in a fuller measure for ever after!Nec qui tor­quet, aliquan do fatigatur, nec qui tor­que tuc, a li­quando mori­tur, Bernard. meditat. cap, 3. And that which addes abundant weight to their miseries is; they shall burne but not diminish; they shall lye buried in their flames, but not consume; they shall seeke death, but shall not finde it: they shall desire it, but it shall flye from them: their punishment consists not in the indurance of any pro­per [Page 17] or peculiar paine, but in the accumulation & heap of innumerable torments together. All the faculties of the soule, all the senses of the body shall haue their seuerall punishments, and that which is more, vnsepa­rable, and more then that, eternall: There shall bee [...] degrees in their torments, but the least shal be infinite. For as the wrath and displeasure of God toward them is everlasting, so shall their pressures be. They enioy an eternity like the Saints, but not the Saints eternity; for their eternity shall beginne in horror, and proceed in confusion: their eternity shall purchase and yeeld to them no other fruit but yellings and lamentations, & woe. Their eternity is such as turnes all things into its owne nature: for all things where the damned doe in­habit are eternall. The fire is eternall: for the breath of God like a riuer of brimstone hath kindled it, and it shall neuer goe out night nor day; but the smoake thereof shall ascend for euer. The worme is eternall, for the conscience of the damned shall be everlasting­ly tormented with the sense of their sinne: Their worme dieth not, (saith the Prophet) and their fire ne­ver goeth out. The prison wherein they are inclosed is eternall. The prayers of the Church could open the prison doores to Peter, but no prayers can pierce these walls, no power can ouerthrowe them, no time can ruine them; out of Hell is no redemption, no ransome, no deliuery, Cruciantur damnati, cruciantur in aeter­num. This is the last sentence of the Iudge, his irrevo­cable decree, his immutable and eternall Iudgement vpon the damned, which shall neuer bee reuersed:Adesse intole­rabile, abesse impossibile. there is no appeale will lye from this Iudge; there is [Page 18] no reversing this judgement, when the sentence is once past it stands for eternity; Hence it was that the ancient Church repeated this sentence often in their di­vine service, Peccantem me quotidie, & non me peniten­tem, timor mortis conturbat me quia in inferno nulla est redemptio. Whilst I daily sinne but repent not daily as I ought, the feare of death amazeth me, because af­ter this life ended, out of hell is no redemption. The blood of Christ shed on Golgotha, is fully sufficient to saue all man-kinde, but it belongs not to the damned. If therefore the yoake of repentance seeme not sweet to thee (saith St Bernard) thinke on that yoake which thou shalt be sure to suffer, which is Goe yee cursed into eternal fire. But the most deplorable thing which is eternall in hell, is the irrevocable losse of the beati­ficall presence of God, the eternall priuation of Gods sight, the vncomfortable want whereof, doth more grieue their hearts, and wound their afflicted soules, then all their bodily torments. Thus wee see the vn­happy estate and condition of the damned in the other world, and how the highest linke in all this chaine of sorrowes, wherewith they are enuironed, is the mise­rable perpetuitie of their torments, when their rest­lesse thoughts haue carefully runne through many thousands of yeares, yet will they not then enioy one day, one little houre, one minute of rest and respirati­on. Everlasting darknesse is their portion, they beginne and end alike, with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Now since this is certainely true, is it possible that man should be so forgetfull of God and himselfe? Can he so farre degenerate into a beast, and indurate into a [Page 19] stone, as to read these things and not beleeue them, or beleeue these things and not to tremble? Can the knowledge of these things swim in our braine with­out a serious and sound digestion of them into our hearts? when we see, and knowe, and beleeue, that in­explicable, eternall, endlesse, easelesse horrors, with­out true and vnfained repentance, abide vs hereafter; and on the other side we knowe not, nor can possibly discerne with how speedy and swift a foot our end approacheth, nor how suddenly wee shall be summo­ned to giue the world our euerlasting farwell; How can so sad and important a consideration as this, pos­sesse our thoughts and not torment them? or how can this chuse but imbitter our dearest pleasures, & crosse our indulgence to our sensuall affections? Did we but reason a while with our soules, and euery one of vs in a particular application say within himselfe: I am here floating like a ship in the sea of this world ballased on every side with the cares and disquietings & pressures of this life, and I sayle on with full course towards the hauen of Eternity, one little blast of death is able to plunge me irrecouerably into this bottomelesse gulfe, where one houres torment will infinitely exceed (for the paine of it) an hundred yeares bitter repentance. And shall I now thus standing vpon the very battle­ments of hell, melt in my delights, cheere vp my selfe in the dayes of my youth, shall I tyre out my spirits, trifle out my pretious time, rob mine eyes of their be­loued sleepe for such things, to the which the time will come, when I must bid an euerlasting farewell? Me thinks the thorough meditation of our future state [Page 20] should euen strangle our sensuall ioyes in vs, & with­drawe our hearts from the embracements of this world, especially when wee shall to our endlesse sor­row vnderstand, our dearest contents must close at the last in death and confusion, and all our precedent plea­sures shall yeeld vs no other fruit but their bitter re­membrance to augment our sorrowes.

CAP. 6. Wherein the question is answered wherefore a finite sinne, is recompensed with an infinite punish­ment, wherein also is farther shewed that the severity of Gods iustice therein doth no waie diminish the greatnesse of his mercy,

NOW here ariseth a question to bee resolved; how comes it to passe, that our mercifull and gratious God, who is so infinite in his good­nesse and so abundant in his loue, whose praises the Prophet David amplifies in his 136. psalme, twenty seauen times together, with this conclusion; for his mercy endureth for ever, how can it stande, that this our God, whose mercy is thus exalted aboue all his workes, should be thus infinitely mercifull, and yet so infinitely iust too, as to inflict vpon a finite sinne an infinite punishment, that he should continue milli­ons of yeares, yea to everlastingnesse, in the avenge­ment of those sinnes which were committed as it were in a moment of time, so that hee who hath of­fended [Page 21] but temporally, should bee bound to suffer paines eternally? I answere, wee shall sufficiently vin­dicate and cleare Gods righteous dealing towards vs herein, if wee measure his iustice but by our owne rules:Scelus non temporis lon­gitudine sed iniquitatis magnitudine metiendum est. Aug. de Ci­vitat. Des lib. 21 cap. 11. for doth any law proportion out the time of punishment to the time only in which the offence is commited, and so measure the continuance of the pennalty by the time of the fault? Shall the priso­ner lye no longer in the Goale, then he is committing his villanie? Doe not wee here amongst vs often see some offences which were suddenly thought of and as soone executed, yet punished with endlesse date­lesse banishments, which in comparison to this life beare a proportion with eternity? Now if the wis­dome of man doth follow this rule in proportioning of punishments, weighing offences by the fowlenes of the fact, Shall wee denie God the righteous Iudge of all the world the same liberty over the workes of his owne hands? Againe if this will not satisfie our in­quisitiue mindes, let vs but take our owne hearts to taske, and sifte them to the bottome, and impartially weigh what a world of pollution and deceipte and perversenesse is lodged in them, and then certainely wee shall finde matter enough against our selues with­out farther inquiry for our endlesse condemnation: our owne consciences will testify to the confusion of our faces, that iust is the Lord, and iust are his Iudge­ments, that all the waies of the Lord are mercy and truth,Nec iniusta e­ius gratia nec crudelis potest esse iustitia. Aug. de Civit. Dei lib. 21. c. 11. that his grace is not vniust nor his Iustice cru­ell: Adde herevnto that the fault of its owne nature is infinite, because it is a sinne against an infinite maie­sty? [Page 22] Gods Iustice being infinite, the violation thereof by sinne must needs contract an infinite debt; because in sinning we rob God of his glory, which wee must needs repaie him againe: Now the satisfaction of an infinite debt, must needs bee infinite either in re­spect of time or measure; And because a finite vessell is not able to hold or comprehend an infinite wrath forasmuch as wee cannot beare Gods indignation, propter immensitatem doloris, wee must of necessity satisfie his Iustice, duratione temporis; the long con­tinuance of our sufferings must supply what is want­ing in the weight of our punishments. Againe he that dies in his sinne without repentance, offends as much as if he had sinned eternally, quia omnis peccator est in aeternum, si in aeternum vixisset, in aeternum peccasset; i.e. had hee liued eternally, his sinne had extended to the length of his daiesPeccandi vo­luntatem non amisit sed vi­tam. Greg. for a man sooner ceaseth to liue then to loue his sinne, and therefore God may iustly after many thousand yeares torments in Hell, iterate their torments to the damned: because if they had longer abode in their sinfull fiesh, they would still haue perpetuated their sinfull transgressions. Oh let not then sinfull flesh contend with its maker, let not vs prye into the heavens, nor curiously search into the secrets of Gods will, to finde a reason of the obligation of a sinner to perpetuall punishment, but rather in the lowlines of our heartes crie out with Daniell, O Lord righteousnesse belongs vnto thee, but to vs open shame, because wee haue rebelled against thee: let vs cast downe our soules at the foote of his grace, and humbly acknowledge in the sence of our [Page 23] deformities, that just is the Lord, & just are his judge­ments. Our weake vnderstandings can no way fa­thome the depth of his counsells; his wisdome is vn­searchable and all his waies are truth: but did we truly apprehend the nature of our sinnes, wee would never repine at the weight of Gods Iudgements, for whereas God made man a noble creature, both beautifull and glorious, and after stamped on him his owne Image, righteousnesse and true holinesse, how strangely hath his sinne disrobed him of all his excellencies, what rebellion hath it setled in all his members, what staines and pollutions hath it wrought in all his faculties? It is our sinne which hath vnioynted the confedera­cies and societies of the dumbe creatures, and hath armed them with an antipathy and rebellion one a­gainst another. It is sinne which hath so strangely al­tered the manners and conditions of our times, that hath turned mens browes into brasse, and their hearts into stones, and their hands into blood, and their tongues into Scorpions. It is sin which hath wrought such a confusion and Chaos in all things vnder the Sunne, which hath changed truth into flattery, sub­stances into formes, nature into arte, decency into new fanglednesse, renting of hearts into cutting of gar­ments. It is sinne I say which in this our age hath dissolued those sweete obligations of peace and cor­respondency, which were formerly knitte betweene our neighbour nations, and insteede thereof hath sent in, fire and sword amongst them; & that hath rowled vp within these few yeares so many Noble spirits in those parts into blood and destruction. And lastly it [Page 24] is our sin that shall at that last & dreadfull day turne the very Elements into fire, and the whole frame of this world with all the things therein, into their pri­mitiue Chaos and Originall Confusion.

Oh that wee did seriously consider of, and sound­ly digest the meditation of these things! For had wee but hearts to vnderstande, and eyes to see the deformity of our sinnes and did vnpartially compare the staine and pollution of them with the purenesse of Gods nature, and the brightnesse of his Maiesty, how should wee be confounded in our soules, with the sight of our owne filthinesse? How ready should we be rather to admire Gods patience then question his severity? How should wee tremble at his glorious presence; and dread his power, and iustly feare what wee haue worthily deserued, his everlasting iudge­ment, since our pollutions haue moved him to ab­horre the workes of his owne hands and to distaine the beauty of his owne creation? But if now on the o­ther side wee advisedly looke into Gods gratious pro­ceedings towards vs, and his louing indulgence in restraining his incensed displeasure, notwithstanding our infinite provocations, and in shewing vs a way to escape his fury; I know not whether wee shall finde greater cause to vindicate his justice, or admire his mercy. For true it is, as saith Saint Agustine, Deus adeo bonus est vt malum nun­quam sineret nisi adeo po­tens fuisset; vt ex malo bonum elice­ret. Aug. Soe Good is our God, that he would never haue suffered vs to fall had not his power bene such, that hee could extract matter out of our sinfulnesse to advance his owne glory. Oh how vnsearchable, how botomlesse, how surpassing the apprehension of men and Angells [Page 25] is the loue of God towards vs! whither can wee goe? which way can wee cast our eyes, where wee shall not behold the admirable foote-steps of his mercy? If wee looke vpward, his mercy reacheth vnto the Heavens, saith David: If downeward, they that goe downe into the deepe see the wonders of God, saith the same Prophet, and his mercies in the great waters. If round about vs, those that put their trust in the Lord, mercy embraceth them on every side. And hence it is that the Apostle Saint Paul to the Ephesi­ans, so diversly amplifies the loue of God in severall places of that Epistle, by sundry appellations or epi­thites, as his loue, his greate loue, his abundant loue, his loue passing knowledge: againe, the riches of his glory, the riches of his grace, the riches of his mercy; God who is mercifull saith the Apostle, who is rich in mercy through his loue, his great loue, even when wee were dead by sinnes hath quickned vs to­gether in Christ Eph. 2.4.

The Apostle also in the same Epistle and first chapter expresseth the Lord, great in his power, abun­dant in his wisdome, but rich, exceeding rich in his mercy. And why rich in mercy only? Is not the Lord rich in Angells, rich in the Saints, rich in the Heavens? Hath he not created the Cloudes, founded the Seas, wisely composed the whole frame of nature? And is he yet rich only in mercy? True it is; the earth is the Lords and the fulnesse thereof, all that wee haue, all that wee are, is his; but his mercy hath an excellency in it aboue all his creatures; yea (if I may so speake) a­boue all his attributes, aboue his Iustice; Mercy (saith [Page 26] the Apostle) reioyceth against condemnation: A­boue his power; Iacob wrestled with God and over­came him; aboue his greatnes; for he hūbled himselfe to take our nature on him; yea aboue all his earthly creatures; for his mercy reacheth to the Cloudes, there is nothing doth more illustrate Gods omnipo­tency then his mercy. It was noe marvaile that God should make the Heauens because hee is power it selfe, or that he should frame the earth; because hee is strength it selfe; or that he should governe the times because he is wisdome it selfe, or that he should giue breath to all creatures, because he is life it selfe; But herein chiefly is God to be magnified, that hee who is infinitely iust, should yet bee mercifull to sinners; yea to sinners while they wallow in their blood; while they rest in sinnes, while they haue no eye to looke after him, no heart to embrace him, no foote to follow him, no tongue to glorifie him, but lye woeful­ly plunged in the dregs of their pollutions? Oh the vnspeakable goodnesse of our God, who hath so gra­tiously invited those sheepe, who are so vnhappily strayed from him: nay who doth with aOmnipoten­tissima facili­tate homines ad scipsum convertit Deus, & vo­lentes ex no­lentibus facit. Aug. ad vita. louing vio­lence irresistably call those who haue trampled on his graces, and reiected his loue. But what should moue the creator of all things who hath beene thus infinite­ly provoked, who is armed both with power to strike; and meanes to be avenged, to compassionate his enimies? Certainely there is, there can be no o­ther reason alleadged, but that which David so of­ten iterates, because he is gratious, & his mercy endur­eth for ever. But alas how (may the afflicted soule [Page 27] say) can his goodnesse extend to mee who am nothing but wormes and dust, and woundes and sores and cor­ruption? Who can giue him no oblation but my sinnes, no sacrifice but my sorrow? What confidence now can I haue in this loue, what strength in this mer­cy? Who ever thou art, that art thus, and no better disposed to receiue the grace of thy God, bring forth this small provision, offer this sacrifice vpon the Al­ter. Since thou hast nothing else to part with surren­der vp thy sinnes, yeeld him thy lusts, renounce thy whole interest in thy sinfull delights, in thy immode­rate affectionsNullius rei tantum in in­ferno est, quantum pto­priae volunta­tis. Alsted. and then thy sorrowfull spirit shall be a sacrifice to God, thy wounded and broken heart hee will not despise; I am with him saith the Lord, who is of an humble spirit and that trembleth at my wordes. Wee haue his owne word for his mercy, wee haue his promise for it, wee haue his oath for it. He is faithfull saith the Apostle, who hath promised; hee is faithfull, hee cannot deny himselfe. The Apostle saith not, hee cannot deny his mercy, but hee cannot deny himselfe. If hee were any thing but mercy, then hee might deny his mercy, though hee did not deny himselfe: but now by not denying himselfe he giueth mercy, who by not giuing mercy should deny him­selfe. And thus we see how God is faithfull and cannot deny himselfe.Superare seipsum potest de­sertos mise­rando, nega [...]e seipsum non potest miseri­cordiam dele­rendo. He may overcome himselfe by pitty­ing the forsaken ones, but he cannot deny himselfe by forsakeing his pitty. For how can he deny him­selfe to vs, who hath given himselfe for vs? How can he deny vs his mercy, who hath given vs his life?

The end of the first booke.

THE SECOND BOOKE OF ETERNITY.

CHAP. I. Containing an Exhortation to holinesse grounded vpon the consideration of Eternity.

THE very soule and life of Chri­stianity consists in the life of a Christian, as for outward forma­lities, they plausibly serue to shew forth a good man to the eye of the world, but cannot make him such; it's true, externall acti­ons adorne our professions: but it is, where grace and goodnesse seasons them, otherwise, where the sappe and juyce and vigour of religion is not setled in the soule, a man is but like a goodly heart-shaken Oake, whose beauty will turne into rottennesse, and his end will be the fire. It was the saying of Machia­vell; that the appearance of vertue was more to be de­sired then vertue it selfe. But Socrates a meere natura­list, [Page 29] aduised better, who said, the good man is onely wise. Certainely our glorious shewes, and high ap­plauses, and exaltations amongst the sonnes of men will proue but miserable comforters in the close of our age, when the daies of darknesse come. O then as we respect the eternall welfare of our poore soules,Qualis videri vis talis esse debes. Gerb. Med. let vs bee what wee would seeme. Let vs turne our words into actions, our knowledge into affection, and our speculation into practise. Let vs not only in a ge­nerall and confused manner acknowledge God, but rather labour to know him; let vs not think it enough to beleeue that Christ came as a Saviour into the world, but endeauour rather by a peculiar, personall, and applicatiue faith to make him our owne. Alas what availes it my soule, that Christ shed forth his blood for the sinnes of many; if he died not for mee? What ioy to my heart, that Christ is risen for the iu­stification of sinners, if hee be not my portion?Non prodest Christi resur­rectio, nisi in te quoque Christus re­surgat. Gerb. Med. what comfort to my distressed conscience that Christ is come a light into the world, if I sit in darknesse and in the shadow of death? What confidence of protection can I haue from hence, that Christ is a carefull sheap­heard ouer his flock, if I am none of that sheepfold? O then let it be the chiefe desire of our soules,Sit scopus vi­tae Christus, quem sequa­ris in via vt assequaris in patria. and the vt­most extent of our endeauours, not onely to confesse Christ, but to bring him home to our hearts, to feele him, to affect him, to liue in him, to depend on him, to be cōformable to him: let vs willingly heare & cheer­fully follow the voice of that sweet guid, who is both the way, & the iournies end; that louing Physitian who comes to our wounded consciences with healing in [Page 30] his wings; that meeke and tender Lambe, who powred forth for vs teares of anguish, & teares of loue; teares of anguish to redeeme our soules, and teares of loue to compassionate our miseries. Now what a pressing perswasion haue we here to liue vnto him, who thus died for vs; to make him our ioy who hath borne our sorrowes; to fix him in our hearts, who for our sakes was fixed to the Crosse?Totus tibi fi­gatur in cor­de, qui totus prote figeba­tur in cruce. How should wee mourne in our soules, and weepe in secret for him, quem totus mundus, tota elementa lugebant, at whose sufferings the graues opened, the Sunne shut in his light, the earth trembled, and the whole frame of heauen in his na­ture and kinde expressed its sorrow. One of the Rabins when hee read what bitter torments the Messias should suffer when he came into the world (cried out) veniat Messias at ego non videam, Let the Messias come, but let me not see him. Did his torments seeme so dismall to the spectator, what were they then in the sufferer? If so gastly to the sight what were they in the sustaining? But what should we doe now? Shall we raile on Iudas that betrayed him, or on Peter that denied him, or the Iewes that pierced him, or the Apo­stles that forsooke him? No, no; let vs looke into our owne hearts, examine our owne waies: Doe wee not make his wounds bleed afresh with our sinnes? doe we not nayle him to the Crosse againe with our pol­lutions? doe we not grind him in our oppressions, and as it were massacre him in our murders? What sinne haue we euer forsaken for his sake; what inordinate affection haue we abandoned for his loue? Can we say and say truly that wee euer spared a dish from our bel­lies, [Page 31] or one houre from our sleepe, or one fashion from our backs, for his sake? And doe wee thus requite our redeemer?Deus tuus parvus factus est, & tu te magnificas exinaniuit se maiestas & tu vermiculus intumescis. Was Christ stretched on the Crosse, and shall we stretch our selues on beds of doune? Did Christ suck downe vineger for vs, and shall we surfet with plenty? Was Christ crowned with thornes, and shall we crowne our selues with Rose buds? O let it shame vs to beare so dainty a body vnder so dolefull a head: but let vs conforme our selues to his life, and let our conuersation bee answerable to his doctrine. Let vs fix our eie on this true Serpent, and fasten our hold on this sure anker. Let vs looke vp vnto Iesus the author and finisher of our faith: Where our trea­sure is, there let our hearts be also. We haue an inesti­mable price, a glorious inheritance set before vs, let vs carefully embrace all those meanes that may fur­ther our progresse, as the hearing of the word, recea­ving of the Sacraments, earnest and constant prayer to Almighty God: Let vs striue as we ought, presse for­ward with all violence. The woman in the Gospell which was so long visited with her bloudy issue, it was her holyVicta est ad violentiam, quia violenta ad victoriam. violence and pressing our Saviour that procured her health for her body and pardon for her soule: Let this be our endeauour, let vs neuer thinke our selues farre enough in the way to heauen, but pre­pare our hearts still, and lay hold on euery aduantage that may further vs in our iourney. Behold now is the acceptable time, now is the day of saluation, whilst you haue time then doe good vnto all: whilst you haue the light, walke as children of the light: Iudge thy selfe here, that thou bee not iudged of the Lord [Page 32] hereafter. Let not thy eies slumber, nor thy temples take any rest, till thou hast found out an habitation in thy heart for the mighty God of Iacob. Remember him as David did, in thy bed, and thinke vpon him when thou art waking: God said of the Church of Thyatira, I gaue her time to repent of her fornication, and she repented not. O let vs not giue our good God the like occasion to second the same complaint against vs. Behold God now graciously calls vs and offers vs his mercy: Behold the spouse comes, let vs goe forth to meet him: He stands at the doore, and knocks, let vs arise and open speedily to our beloued, to day while it is called to day, let vs heare his voice, let vs not put off our time, as Felix did St Paul, goe for this present time, & whē I haue a convenient leasure I will heare thee, as if the time present were not the fittest. Let vs not stifle the checks of our consciences, or say, as Festus to Agrippa, to morrow thou shalt heare him, Non quaerit Deus dilatio­nem in voce corvina, sed confessionem in gemitu Columbino. All procra­stinations in this case are dangerous: Let vs therefore take hold of saluation, whilst occasion serues vs. If we shut out our welbeloued he will be gone. Therefore let our hearts euen melt within vs, whilst he speakes to vs in his word; if we answer not when he calls vs, then shall we call and he will not answer. The Storke and the Crane, and the Swallow in the ayre know their sea­sons and obserue their appointed times, how much more should man, especially since times & moments, how long we shall enioy them, are not in our owne power, but in the power of God. The Angell in the Re­velation swore by him, that liueth foreuer, that time should be no more, the time past can neuer be recalled, [Page 33] let vs therefore take the present time: For the time past was and is not, the time present is, but shall not be, and of the future wee can promise to our selues no fruition. But alas such is our blindnesse, such an obdu­ration is growne over our hearts, that wee vnderstand these things, but feele them not; wee haue them swim­ming in our minds, but imbrace them not in our af­fections. The best of vs may take vp that complaint of Saint Augustine, Teneo in me­moria, scribo in charta, sed non habeo in vita. Aug. who averred of himselfe, that his desires were better then his practise, our vowes are in heauen, but our hearts on earth; our desires are to­wards our home, but our endeavours flagge in the way, and we faint in our iourney: wee haue heavenly hopes; but earthly affections; wee all couet after hap­pinesse, but wee would take no paines for it; wee would enioy Christ in his benefits, but wee refuse to partake with him in his sufferings; volumus assequi Christum, sed non sequi, wee would share willingly with our Saviour in his Crowne, but not in his com­bat; nay oftentimes wee instance God for such graces as we are loath to obtaine: like Saint Augustine, who prayed for continency with a proviso, Lord giue me continency but not yet; nay such is our intolerable sinfulnesse, and pollution of heart, that at the same instant, when our hands are lift vp to God for the par­don of old sinnes, our heads are working in the con­triving of new; as Salvian hath it, dum verbis praeter­ita mala plangimus, sensu futura meditamur. Thus we draw nigh to God with our lipps, when our hearts are farre from him, our affections are buried in the things of this life. Excellent is that saying of Isidorus, [Page 34] Regnum hoc sempiternū ex omni parte beatum est, omnibus pro­missum, & ta­men de illo altum inter nos silentium quotus quis (que) enim est qui de hoc com­memorat, hoc vxori, hoc li­beris, toti hoc familiae incul­cat. Isid. Coelum neg­ligimus, ter­ram non re­tiuemus, Dei favorem non acquirimus, mundi perdi­mus. The kingdome of heauen, saith hee, is eternall, bles­sed every way and promised to all men, but who is there almost that spends one moment in the serious meditation of it? What man is there that ever talkes to his wife, to his children, to his family of such a Kingdome? Wee can riot in the praises of our natiue soile, but wee blush to speake of, and are ashamed to commend our true country, our everlasting home. In our dealings about the things of this life, our vn­derstandings are ready enough to apprehend them, and our hearts to entertaine them, and our tongues to discourse of them; but in things that belong to the eternall salvation of our soules, how deepe is our si­lence, how slow our speech, how vnskilfull our ex­pressions?

Thus wee forsake heauen for these things which at last will forsake vs, and trifle out our time in things that will not profit vs. How far are men now adaies from that sweete resolution of Saint Hierome? Let o­thers, saith hee, liue in their statues, in their costly mo­numents: I had rather haue St Pauls Coate with his heauenly graces, then the purple of Kings with their Kingdomes.

O that wee would looke thus lowly vpon our selues; wee are Christians in profession, O let vs bee such in practice: seeing that God hath made vs stew­ards of his treasures, let vs improue them to the be­nefit of our brethren: hath God giuen vs abundance of his blessings? o let vs not hide our talents in a nap­kin: let vs send our good workes before vs into Hea­ven: pauca da, maxima in coelo recepturus: these slender [Page 35] guifts, which thou doest chearefully distribute in this world, will procure thee an eternall compensation in the world to come. That sweete speech of Saint Iohn is worth observation, blessed are those that dye in the Lord, they rest from their labours, and their workes fol­low them. When our dearest friends, our sweetest plea­sures, our most glorious titles of honour, the world it selfe, yea even our life it selfe shall glide away like a river, and turne to dust, then shall our good workes follow vs, non transeunt opera nostra (saith one) Sicut transire videntur, sed velut aeternitatis semina iaciun­tur; our good deeds die not with vs, but they are sowne in earth and spring in heauen; they are an in­exhaustible fountaine, that shall never bee dried vp: a durable spring, that shall never faile. They are acts of time, short in their performance, yet eternall in their recompence; they build vp for vs, through the mercies of our God, an everlasting foundation for the time to come.

Loe then here wee haue set before vs viam ad reg­num, the way to our eternity; let vs goe on herein without intermission; presse forward with violence and striue to attaine the crowne.Opulentia ni­mis multa est aeternitas, sed nisi perse­veranter quaefita nun­quam in venitur. Bernard. Eternity is an abun­dant treasure, an everlasting wealth, but it is not gi­ven saue to them that seeke it; yea that seeke it with their whole hearts. Certainty did we as truely know, as wee shall one day vndoubtedly feele the bitter fruite, that our luke-warme profession, our grosse stu­pidity, and vtter neglect of our everlasting state will produce and procure vs in the end, all our thoughts and language, all our affections and inclinations would be more eagerly imployed, and more faithful­ly [Page 36] exercised in the pursuite of eternity.illud propter quod pecca­mus, amitti­mus, et pecca­tum ipsum re­tinemus. Oh how sense­lesse are wee, how stupid in our selues, and wickedly injurious to our owne wellfare, who for a small gaine, a fading pleasure, a fugitiue honour wound our consciences, and hazard our soules, to stand as it were on the brinke of hell?

The whole world promised for a reward cannot perswade vs to endure one momentary torment in fire: And yet in the accustomed course of our liues we dread not, wee quake not at everlasting burnings. But ô thou delitious and dainty soule, who cherishest thy selfe in the ioy of thy heart, & the delight of thine eyes, whose belly is thy God, & the world thy Parra­dise! ô, bethinke thy selfe betimes, before that gloomy day, that day of clouds and thicke darknesse, that day of desolation and confusion approach, when all the inhabitants of the earth shall mourne and lament, and all faces (as the Prophet Ioel speakes) shall gather blacknesse, because the time of their judgement is come. Alas with what a dolefull heart, and weeping eye, and drooping countenance, & trembling loynes wilt thou at that last and great Assise looke vpon Christ Iesus, when hee shall most gloriously appeare with innumerable Angells in flaming fire, to render vengeance on them that know him not? What a cold dampe will seize vpon thy soule, when thou shalt be­hold him whom thou hast all thy life long neglected in his ordinance, despised in his members, reiected in his loue; when thou shalt see the judgement seat, theFiet apertio librorum sci­licet consci­entiarum, quibus meri­ta, & deme­rita vniuersorum, sibi ipsis & caeteris, in­notescent. bookes opened, thy sinnes discouered, yea all the se­cret [Page 37] counsells of thy heart, after a wonderfull man­ner manifested and laid open to the eye of the whole world? what horrour & perplexity of spirit will pos­sesse thee to view and behold but the very solemni­ties and circumstances, which accompany this Iudge­ment; when thou shalt see the heavens burne, the E­lements melt, the earth tremble, the sea roare, the sun turne into darknesse, and the moone into blood? And now what shall be thy refuge, where shall be thy suc­cour? shalt thou raigne, because thou cloathest thy selfe in Cedar? shalt thou bee safe, because with the Eagle thou hast set thy neast on high? O no, it is not now the greatnesse of thy state, nor the abundance of thy wealth, nor the priviledge of thy place, nor the eminency of thy worth, or wit or learning, that can availe thee ought, either to avoide thy doome, or prorogue thy judgement. All states and conditions of men are alike, when they appeare at this Barre. There the prince must lay downe his crowne, and the Peare his Robes, & the iudge his purple, and the Captaine his banner; All must promiscuously attend to giue in their accounts and to receiue according to that they haue done, whether it bee good or whether it be evill. Here on earth great men and glorious in the eye of the world, so long as they can hold their habitations in the earth, haue both countenance to defend, and power to protect them from the iniuries of the times: but when the dismall face of that terri­ble day shall shew it selfe, then shall they finde no eye to pitty, nor arme to helpe, nor palace to defend, nor rockes to shelter, nor Mountaines to cover them [Page 38] from the presence of him that sits vpon the throne, and from the wrath of the lambe. Giue me the most insolent spirit, the most vndaunted soule, that now breathes vnder the cope of Heauen, who now feares not any created nature, noe, not God himselfe, yet when he shall heare that terrible sound, Arise yee dead and come to iudgement, how will his heart even melt, and his bowells quiver within him; when hee shall haue his severe judge aboue him, and hell be­neath him, and his worme within him, and fire round about him. O then whosoever thou art, die vnto thy sinnes and vnto thy pleasures here, that thou maist liue to God herafter;Sic tibi cave, vt caveas te­ipsu [...]. goe out of thy selfe, judge & con­demne thine owne soule for thy sinnes against God in this world, that so thou maist comfortably receiue thy sentence of absolution in the world to come. Let vs learne to be wise in time; let our sorrow for sinne anticipate and prevent our punishment, satius est & suavius fonte purgari quàm igne: Hee that grieues not heartily for his transgressions here, shall woefully smart for them hereafter.in inferno ex­omologesis non est, nec paenitentia tunc tribul potest, con­sumpto tēpo­re paenitendi. In hell there is no redemp­tion for the time past, no confession, no repentance, but a sad and heavy exchange and most vncomforta­ble translation, from a short and passing ioy, to an endlesse, easelesse punishment. The serious and advised consideration of this eternall being in the life to come, was the ground of that ancient custome in the Romane Church vpon the consecration of their Bi­shops, at which time these words were recited with a loud voice, Annos aeternos in mente habe, i. e. remem­ber that eternall yeare, the date whereof will never [Page 39] expire. So likewise when the Bishop of Rome is brought to his pontificall chaire, one goes before him, shaking a burning torch and proclaiming three times Pater sancte, sic transit gloria mundi. Certainly it would worke somewhat towards the enliuening of our drowsinesse, & quickning vp of our dull security if we did in the beginning & end of all our vndertakings say within our selues, Annos aeternos in mente habe; Re­member ô my soule those daies of darknesse which shall neuer close. For all the pressures and vexing distempers, that befall vs in this life; all the crosses, which the envy either of men or evill Angells can throw vpon vs, are nothing, if compared to eternall miseries. Sapienti nihil magnum videri potest, cui aeternitatis nota est magnitudo. What if with Saint Paul I vnderwent labours & perills, hunger & thirst, iniuries and reproaches, what is all this to eternity?

What if I did beare in my flesh the most exquisite paines and bitterest torments, that created nature is capable of, yet what were all this to eternity? For all the adversities and alterations, which happen to vs vnder the sunne, haue their periods, which they can­not passe: however they disquiet vs for the time, yet as the Prophet Daniel saith, the end shall bee at the ap­pointed time, God will performe that which he hath appointed for me saith Iob: yet vs (que) ad tempus haec om­nia the end shall be at the appointed time. But of this eternity there will be no end, no bounds can limit it, no time shall determine it. Certainly first or last, there will happen to thee such an evening as shall haue no [Page 40] morning to follow; or else such a morning, as shall never see the close of the Sunne: And therefore let not the vanishing cares and transitory disquietings of this world over deepely possesse thy heart; but rather let the whole streame of thy meditations rnnne vpon thy latter end; that at the time of thy dissolution; (thy affection being wholy alienated from the world) thy thoughts may ascend before, whither thy soule is comming after: So shall thy sufferings here, make way for thy crowne hereafter.

But how few, ô how few I say are there that weigh these things? How few doe make it their daily taske to meditate on the evills to come? They credit not such reports; for they care not to beleeue what they are vnwilling to practise. Hence it is that they goe on so securely in their course, as if there were no heauen, no hell, no God, no eternity. Thus wee naturally de­sire, our daies should be as happy as they are longe, and being miserably-insensible of the sorrowes to come, wee rashly expose our selues to an irrevoca­ble downefall.Nos tales, qui mortis nostrae neque negotium ridentes exe­quimur. Greg. Without sense or sorrow wee runne merrily to hell, where wee shall everlastingly feele what we did never feare, death and darknesse; weeping and gnashing of teeth. O how different are our times from those of our Ancestors? They were not more rigidly superstitious, then we are vainely secure.

How did they pine their bodies and afflict their soules, crucify their most pretious lusts, forsake their friends, their lands, their inheritance, yea their Crownes, and Kingdomes; nay which is more, through the rigid and austeere obseruation of their [Page 41] strict and severe lawes expose themselues to the ha­zard and danger of their dearest liues, and thrust themselues as it were out of the world, and forgoe all society with men. And wherefore all this, but that they might disburthen themselues the better by these meanes from all earthly allurements; settle and dis­pose their hearts in a good preparation towards their home; and to enliuen their affections, and inflame their mindes to a more serious contemplation of the ioyes to come? Mee thinkes the consideration of these for­mer times should strongly invite vs to a more serious meditation of our future state; especially if wee re­member how swiftly our daies draw to an end, and how soone we are involued into everlasting dark­nesse. For alas what is our life here, Tota haec vita v­nius horulae mors est, one houre at the last will swal­low vp all our liue-long daies.

Let vs then not feare being so neare our home; let no stormes affright vs being so neare our haven: Let vs examine our accounts and cast vp our summes, that we may be able to giue vp a good account at the last day. Certaine it is what ever we goe about; whatsoe­ver be the scope of our endeavours; wee every day come nearer to the end of our course, every houre is a new step onward.

So soone as ever a man enters this mortall life, hee beginnes a constant iourney vnto death, quicquid temporis vivitur de spatio vivendi tollitur: i. e. Each part of time that wee passe, cuts off so much from our life, and the remainder still decreaseth; So that our whole life is nothing but a course or passage vnto [Page 42] death, wherein one can neither stay nor slacke his pace. This wee know, our daily experience doth con­firme this truth: and yet doe wee persist as securely as ever in our trade of sinne: Aegrae abstrahimur ab ijs quibus assuescimus, i.e. wee are hardly drawne from those things which custome and time hath invred vs vnto. It is a grievous burthen to a licentious heart to be drawne off from dainty fare, full cups, and good company. Wee lye as dead men and sencelesse in our damned pollutions, even drowned in our voluptuous­nesse, like brute beasts filled vp and pampered for the day of slaughter. Thus with the full streame of our indeauours we plod on in the habituall course of transgressing, without any sense of our sinne, vntill our short daies begin to shut in, and our evening ap­proach; at which time the weaknesse of our bodies, and the strength of our sinnes make vs as vnable to repent, as wee were before vnwilling. Wee many times through the incitement of some good motion beginne well but faile in the execution; wee make faire promises,Fatemur cri­mina, sed sic fatemur, vt in ipsa confessione non dolemus. Salv. but wee doe not second them in our pra­ctise; but let vs not deceiue our selues, God will not be mocked non verbis paenitentia agenda, sed actu: let vs not promise God better obedience with our lippes then wee performe with our hearts. Bee not rash to vow a thing before God, but when thy word hath past thy lips, then be as carefull to performe, as thou wast forward before to promise.

Lastly let vs alwaies follow that holy counsell gi­ven in Ecclesiasticus, In all thy actions thinke vpon thy latter end, and thou shalt never doe amisse: and that of [Page 43] the Prophet David, keepe innocency, and doe the thing that is right; for that shall bring a man peace at the last: peace with God, peace with men, and peace with our owne conscience. In the world saith our Saviour shall yee haue trouble, but in me yee shall haue peace. The world is our sea, but Christ is our haven; the world is our warfare, but Christ is our rest: The world is full of stormes, but Christ is our peace;Solus is cha­rum non a­mittit, cui ille charus est quinon amit­titur. in me you shall haue peace. Hence it was that the Saints of God alwaies haue taken exceeding ioy in their tribulation; because Christ was their comfort and peace: hee sweetned all their sorrowes. Hence it was that Saint Augustine so resolutely brake forth; Hic vre, hic seca, modò in aeternum parcas; he regarded not what pressures God laid vpon him, So he vouchsafed him patience here and heaven hereafter. What ever we doe or can suffer in this life, the abundance of our eternall ioy shall in­finitely recompence the weight of our sorrowes: Our light afflictions which are but for a moment doe cause vnto vs a farre more excellent and exceeding weight of glory. Our combat here is short, but our triumph eternall. And who would not endure a few crosses & windings in his way when he knowes they will bring him to his journies end? Who would not for a little season expose himselfe to the mercy of the waues to be tossed on the sea,Impossibile est, vt in v­tro (que) seculo bearsu sis, vt in caelo & in terra appa­reas gloriosus Hier. when he is assured with St Paul, to come safely to the shore?

Besides, wee must not expect to establish our hap­pinesse here and to enioy our heaven hereafter. It is impossible a man should flow in his delights in this world; and then drinke at the fountaine of everlasting [Page 44] blisse in the world to come.

O then let vs imbrace the conflict, that we may ob­taine the Crowne. Melior est modica amaritudo in faucibus, quàm aeternum tormentum in visceribus: i. e. a little gall in the mouth is not so painefull, as conti­nuall torments in the bowels. Farre better it is to Summe vp our reckonings here, then to haue our debts vpon the score hereafter;Vna hora erit gravior in paena, quam centum anni in amarissima paenitentia. Thomas de Kemp. farre better to vn­loose our soules from the immoderate embrace­ments of the comforts of this world, and to endure the straits and pinchings of a more reserued & home­ly course for sixty or seaventy yeares in this life, then to suffer but one torment in the life to come: farre better to be lightly afflicted here, then eternally tor­mented hereafter.

Saint Chrysostome hath an excellent expression to this purpose: Suppose a man, saith he, much desiring sleepe, and in his perfect mind, had an offer made him of one nights sweete rest, vpon condition to be pu­nished a hnndred yeares for it, would he accept (thinke you) of his sleepe vpon such tearmes? Now looke what one night is to an hundred yeares, the same is the life present, compared with that to come. Nay looke what a drop of water is to the sea; the same and no more is a thousand yeares to eternity. Who then of sound judgement, for the short fruition of a transi­tory contentment in this life, would expose himselfe to the horror of eternall flames in the life to come? And therefore whiles wee haue our abode in this vale of misery, we should alwaies pray with Saint Bernard, da domine, vt sic possideamus temporalia, vt non perda­mus [Page 45] aeterna, i.e. grant vs Lord that wee may so partake of temporall felicities, that wee may not loose eter­nall. All things vnder the Sunne haue their alterati­ons and changings, but things aboue are permanent, and of an enduring substance. Omnia ei salua sunt, cui salva est beata aeternitas; hee that can be secure, and sure of the happinesse to come, builds vp his house vpon a firme foundation. How small a modell of time, how short a period is the longest life, when once it is finished? Recollect with thy selfe, saith Saint Augustine, the yeares that are passed from Adams time vntill now; run over the whole scripture, and the time since the fall will seeme but as yesterday. For what are the times past? If thou hadst liued from Adams day till this houre; thou wouldst easily haue judged, that this life hath no perpetuity in it, which flies away so swiftly. For what is the life of any man, suppose the longest age? It is but like the morning dew, like the twinkling of an eye, in a trice it is gone. I haue seene an end of all perfection saith David. But here ô Christian, let me deale more plainely with thee; thou wilt readily acknowledge all things vnder the frame of Heaven are perishing, and heauen is thy thought, Eternity is thine ayme. Now if it bee so, why art thou then so dul in thy course of holi­nesse, so frozen in thy zeale, so inclinable to every motion of sinne, so easily ouercome by euery incitement to wantonnesse, never more calme and vn­seasonably patient, then when thy affections should be enflamed, and thy heart kindled with a iust indignati­on in Gods cause: and on the other side neuer more [Page 46] fretting, whining and vnquiet, then when thou shoul­dest be meeke and patient, and cheerefully disposed vnder the burden of of afflictions? How can it be that we should haue eternity in our mindes, and yet liue no better in our manners? Now that we may the easier discerne the deceitfulnesse of our hearts herein; let vs examine our selues by the example of Iacob. This Pa­triarch Iacob serued his vncle Laban seauen yeares for Rachell his daughter, and the greatnesse of his affecti­on towards her, made that time seeme but as a few dayes. (to apply this:) Thou art a seruant as Iacob was, but thou serues not such a Master as Iacob did, thou serues not man but God, thy maker and a faithfull re­warder; thou serues not for a wife, but for a kingdome; not for an earthly contentation, but for an heauenly habitation: And yet behold the short affliction of one day can eneruate thy loue, and vnlocke thy affections from God and heauen: Euery crosse accident stops thee in thy course, Euery little sorrow disquiets thy soule, and lessens thy contentment. Behold here, mea­sure by the example of Iacob the strength of thy loue: Iacob could serue seauen yeares with chearefulnesse for a wife, but thou canst hardly serue thy God so ma­ny dayes with a true affection for heauen: For reckon vp all the nights thou hast spent in prayer, summe vp all the dayes that thou hast worne out in religious ex­ercises, and canst thou then truly say to God as Iacob did to his vncle, in thy seruice night and day haue I macerated my body with heat and cold, and my sleep departed from mine eyes; twenty yeares haue I labou­red in thy seruice: couldst thou say thus, and say it tru­ly, [Page 47] ô then what would be the end of thy labour, what would thy reward be? not flocks and cattell, not the daughters of Laban, but God himselfe would be thy exceeding great reward, thy life and happinesse; Hee would be vnto thee every thing that, thy heart can desire or long for; Thy soule should flowe, and even melt in abundance of spirituall delights.

But now take a little view of thine owne vilenesse, thy owne nakednesse, thy vttter disability to any thing that may be truly called good. Thy hands are feeble to Gods worke, thy feete are slow to Gods temple, thine eyes are seared or shut vp towards heaven; But for the workes of flesh and Sathan, thy heart is hot to envy, thy minde prone to revenge, thy tongue vo­luble to blaspheame, thy affections even glued and in­corporated as it were into the sensuall embracements; And is this to serue God for heaven? shall the blessed­nesse of the Saints, and the glory of Angells, and the ioy, and fruition of God himselfe bee powred forth vpon such workes as these? Dost thou thus requite thy maker.

O consider, consider I say thy waies in time; labour to serue God as Iacob did: labour to approue thy selfe as faithfull to God as Iacob was to his vnckle Laban: And if the weight of the labour discourage thee, or adversity oppresse thee, or prosperity seduce thee; then lift vp thine eyes to heaven, as Iacob did to his Rachell: Let heauen be thy loue, thy spouse, the de­light of thine eyes, the ioy of thy heart; Behold thy Rachell is faire, and louely, heaven is both beautifull and glorious: Let thy desires goe before whither thou [Page 48] meanest to hasten after: suffer for a season thy light affliction, hauing an eye to the recompence of reward; yet and but a little while,Eò dirigendus est spiritus quo aliquan­do est itutus. and thou shalt approach the haven, where thou shalt enioy so much the more hap­pinesse, by how much the deeper thou hast drunke in sorrow; and by how much the more ardent thy affe­ctions haue beene towards God in this life, the more abundant shall thy reward be in the life to come; then shall thy crosses proue thy gaines, and that well-spring of ioy which shall ever rise in thy heart, shall swallow vp all thy sorrowes.

CHAP. II. Shewing that there is no other way nor possible meanes to attaine to the true eternity, but by a confident affiance vpon the mercy of God in Christ.

SVch and so deplorable is the condition of every man considered in his corrupted and degenera­ted state, that albeit he bee able by that small sparke of naturall illumination, which is left in his mind to see as in a glasse darkely and obscurely an e­ternity to come; yet is hee vtterly ignorant of the true way therevnto, neither hath he any possibility in nature to finde it out: Hee is in no better state then the poore creeple at the poole of Bethesda, who saw the waters that could heale him before his eyes, but found no meanes to helpe him into them. For that sound and perfect knowledge of the true way, which man was adorned with in his first creation, is whole­ly [Page 49] lost & extinguished in him, he is now a meere stran­ger from the life of God, Eph. 4.18. dead in Trespasses and sinnes, Eph. 1.2. reprobate to every good worke. Tit. 1.16. his very minde is defiled, Tit. 1.15. his wisdome is death, Rom. 8.6.Nemo aliun­de Deo placet, nisi ex eo quod ipse do­naverit. He is no more able of himselfe to lead a holy life, acceptable to God, then a dead man is to performe the actions of one that is aliue. Being thus disrobed of all spirituall endowments and sauing grace, how shall hee attaine to that ioyfull Eternity, which his soule (as I haue said) may long for, but can no way reach? Certainely there is no light to lead him, but thatSi Christum habes, aeterni­tatem per Christum in te habes. Alst, light of the world; no way for him to take to, but that new & liuing way, even him, who hath stiled himselfe, the way, the truth, and the life; no rocke to cleaue to, but this strong foundation; no name vnder heauen to be saued by, but this, euen this alone, Iesus Christ, yesterday and to day, and the same foreuer. Hee, and he alone is the onely sure, effectuall, infallible meanes of our saluation: Hee alone is the true High Priest, who was once offered to take away sinnes, and after that entred into the true sanctuary, the very Hea­ven, to appeare in the sight of God for vs, where hee is able perfectly to saue them, which come vnto God by him, seeing he euer liueth to make intercession for them. Heb. 7.26. He alone is the ground of our hope, the crowne of our glory, and the strength of our confidence.Oculum tuum Domine non excludit cor clausum, nec manum tuam repellit duri­tia hominum. Aug. It's he alone, who by the sweet influence of his grace, and by the secret working of his spirit, can (when he will) and doth (when hee please) subdue and bring vnder the most obdurate gainesaying, and rebellious heart, to a cheerefull, willing, & ready obedience to his hea­venly [Page 50] will. O the infinite & in expressible tendernesse of our louing Sauiour towards vs! When we, like sheepe, had gone astray, his mercy reduced vs: When we lay wallowing in our blood, his pitty refresht vs: When we were dead in our sinnes, his death did reuiue vs; and here we may truely say with David, his mercy reacheth to the heauens. From the heauens came the price of our redemption. We were not, neither could we be redeemed by the blood of bulls and goats, by thousands of riuers of oyle, by the cattle that are vpon a thousand mountaines. It was not the treasures of the world, the power of men or Angels could purchase this freedome, nothing could cleanse vs, but the blood of the Lambe: He was that fountaine, opened for sinne and for vncleanesse; He was that Sonne of righteousnes, that came with healing in his wings. His were the wounds, that healed our sores; his was the backe, that bare our sorrowes; his was the price, that quit our skores; he assumed our flesh to redeeme vs here, and he raignes as a king to crowne vs hereafter. Now what remaines after all this to be done on our parts? Let vs rest on this Anchor, let vs fly to this hold, and build on this foundation: For no other foundation can any man lay, then that which is laid, Iesus Christ. Let vs cast our soules into the armes of our Saviour: In brachijs Salvatoris mei & vivere volo et mori cupio, saith S. Bernard: O let this bee our desire: Now the gate is open, let vs not deferre the time of entrance: Now is the acceptable time, let vs not procrastinate the fea­son: Now he offers his mercy, he shewes his long suf­ferance, let vs not turne his grace into wantonnesse; [Page 51] let vs follow the counsell of the sonne of Sirach: Ec­clus the 5. Make no long tarrying to turne to the Lord, and put not off from day to day: For suddainly shall the wrath of the Lord breake forth, and in thy securi­ty thou shalt bee destroyed, and thou shalt perish in time of vengeance. But alas farre otherwise it is with vs in our practise:Magna pars vitae elabitur male agenti­bus, maxima nihil agenti­bus, tota aliud agentibus. A great portion of our time is crumbled away in doing ill, a greater part in doing no­thing, and our whole life in doing that, which wee should not, or in matters (as we say) vpon the by. And as Archimedes was secure and busie about drawing lines on the ground when Syracuse was taken; so is it with vs. Now that our eternall safety laies at stake, we lye puzling in our dust, I meane, in our worldly ne­gotiations: But for our eternity shortly approaching, we seldome or rarely thinke of it. We are like Mar­tha, troubled about many things, when one thing is necessary: But this one thing is that, which of all other things is least regarded, and in the last place. Wee sel­dome seek heauen, till death doth summon vs to leaue the earth: wee haue many euasions to gull our owne hearts, many excuses to procrastinate our repentance; like Dionysius, the Scicilian king, who to excuse him­selfe for the present deliuery of the golden garment, which he tooke from his God Apollo, answered that such a robe as that was, could not bee at any season of the yeare vsefull to his God: it would not keepe him warme in the winter, & it was too heauy for the sum­mer: So many there be, saith S. Ambrose, who play with God and with their owne soule. You must not (say they) seeke for the vigour and life of religion in [Page 52] the hearts of young men; For youth, as the prouerbe is, must haue his swinge: Neither can you expect it in the company of the aged: for their age, and those dis­tempers, which accompany it, make them a burden to themselues and dulls the edge of their intentions vnto all their serious vnderstandings. Thus both the sum­mer and the winter of our age are vnfit for Gods ser­vice. But let vs not thus cheate our selues. If God bee God, let vs follow him; let vs not put off the day of reconciliation, and say in our hearts to morrow wee will doe it, when yet we cannot tell, what shall bee to morrow: for what is our life? It is euen a vapour, that appeares for a little time and afterwards vanisheth a­way. Hence it was that Macedonius, being inuited a day before to a feast, replied to the messenger, why doth thy Master inuite me for to morrow, whereas for this many yeares I haue not promised to my selfe one daies life? Nemo mortem satis cavet, nisi qui semper cavet. i.e. No man dreads death as he ought, but hee that alwaies expects his summons; and therefore wee may truly iudge such men wofully secure, and wilfull contemners of the future good, who can goe to their beds, and rest on their pillowes in the apprehension of their knowne sinnes, without a particular humiliation for them. For how oft doth a suddain & vnexpected death arrest men? We see and knowe in our dayly ex­perience, many lay themselues to sleepe in health and safety, yet are found dead in the morning. Thus sud­dainly are they wrapt from their quiet repose to their irrecouerable iudgement, perchance from their fea­thers to flames of fire; such is the frayle condition of [Page 53] our brittle liues, within the small particle of an houre, liue and sicken, and dye: yet so grosse is our blind­nesse, that from one day to another, nay from one yeare to another, wee triflingly put off the reforma­tion of our liues, vntill our last houre creepes on vs vnlookt for, and dragges vs to eternity.

Saint Augustine striuing with all his endeavours against the backwardnesse and slownesse of his owne heart to turne to the Lord, bitterly complained with­in himselfe, Quamdiu, quamdiu, cras, cras? Quare non hâc horâ finis turpitudinis meae? How long (saith he) ô how long shall I delude my soule with to mor­rowes repentance? Why should not this houre ter­minate my sinfulnesse? Wee are every minute at the brinke of death, and every houre, that wee passe through, might proue (for ought we know) the even­ing of our whole life, and the very close of our mor­tality. Now if it should please God to take away our soules from vs this night, (as suddenly falls out to some) what would then become of vs? In what E­ternity should wee be found? Whether amongst the damned, or the blessed? Happy were it for vs, if wee were but as carefull for the welfare of our soules, as wee are curious for the adorning of our bodies: if our clothes or faces doe contract any blot or soiling, wee presently endeavour to cleanse the same: But though our soules lye inthralled in the pollutions of sinne, this alas we feele not; it neither provokes vs to shame, nor moues vs to sorrow. Wherefore let vs looke into our hearts with a sevearer eye: Let the shortnesse of our daies stirre vs vp to the amendment of our sin­full [Page 54] liues; & let the houre, wherein we haue sinned, be the beginning of our reformation, according to that of St Ambrose, agenda est paenitentia, non solum solicitè verùm etiam maturè, i.e. our repentance must be, not only sincere, but timely also, whilest wee haue the light, let vs walke as children of the light: Let vs not any longer cheate our soules in studying to invent e­vasions or pretences for our sinnes; but rather lay o­pen our sores, and seeke to the true Physitian, that can heale them. All the creatures vnder the sunne doe naturally intend their owne preservation and desire that happinesse, which is agreeable to their nature: onely man is negligent, and impiously carelesse of his owne welfare. Wee see the Hart, when hee is stri­ken and wounded, lookes speedily for a certaine hearbe, well knowne vnto him by a kinde of natu­rall instinct; and when he hath found it, applies it to the wound. The swallow, when her young ones are blind, knowes how to procure them their sight by the vse of her Celandine: But wee alas are wounded, yet seeke for no remedy; wee goe customarily to our bedds, to our tables, to our good company; but who is he that obserues his constant course of praier, of repentance; of hearty, and sincere humiliation for his sinnes? Wee goe forward still in our old way, and jogge on in the same rode: Though our judgement hasten, hell threaten, death stand at the doore, yet we thrust onward still; & in dulcem declinamus lumi­na somnum: But alas miserable soules as we are, can wee embrace quiet rests and vninterrupted sleepes with such wounded consciences? Can wee be so se­cure, [Page 55] being so neare our time?

But you will say, wee haue passed already many nights without danger; no sicknesse in the night hath befalne vs hitherto, why then should any feare of death amaze or trouble vs?

Admit all this, yea bee not too confident; one houre may effect that, which a thousand yeares could not produce: and thinke with your selues, what a lit­tle distance there is, betweene your soules and death: Let me aske the strongest of men on earth, what cer­tainty of life canst thou promise thy selfe, seeing that either a little bone in thy throat may choake thee, or a tile from thy house may braine thee, or some ma­lignant ayre may poyson thee, and then where art thou? There are a thousand waies,Tu te prius ad aeternita­tem abrep tum mirabe­ris, quàm me­tueres abripi­endum. whereby suddain­ly a man may come to his end; and certaine it is that; Mors illa maxime improvisa est, cuius vita praecedens non fuit provida, i. e. that death is the suddainest, which is not vshered in with a foregoing preparation. It is therefore a speciall point of wisdome to thinke every day our last, yea to account every houre the period of our liues. For looke how many pores there are in the body, so many windowes are there to let in death: yea we carry our deaths continually about vs in our bosomes; and who can promise himselfe his life till the evening? Hath not our owne experience showne vs many, whose sleepes in their beds haue proued sleepes vnto death; who haue beene carried from their chambers to their graue? Death doth not alwaies send forth her harbingers to giue notice of her comming; shee often presseth in vnlookt for, and [Page 56] suddainly attached the vnprovided soule. Watch therefore, because yee know neither the day, nor the houre: worke whilest yee haue the day; for the night comes, wherein no man can worke: looke towards thy evening; and cast thy thoughts vpon that long E­ternity; Death first or last will apprehend thee: expect it therefore at every turne, and of this assure thy selfe,Qualis quis (que) in hac vita motitur, talis in die novissi­mo iudicabi­tur. as death leaueth thee, so shall iudgement finde thee. How improvidently secure then are those, who set vp their rest in the comforts of this life, and overly-re­gard their eternall welfare? This is the generall care­lesnesse of our times.

If a man haue a perpetuity but of fiue shillings yearely rent, what travell and paines and sweat, what beating of his braine and exhausting of his treasure will he runne through, before he will loose one dram of his right? Yet our eternall inheritance is cast be­hind vs, and vndervalued as a trifle, not worth the seeking; and this shewes our small loue to our home: for wee little esteeme of that, which wee take small paines for. All other things which conduce to our temporall well being, wee seeke with circumspecti­on, and enioy them with content; but matters of Eter­nity, wee conceiue of, as things farre distant from vs, wee scarcely entertaine them in our thoughts. Wee busy not our vnderstandings in the search of those things which we see not: things present, and obvious to our sight doe best affect vs; wee are ill-sighted vp­ward, weake and dimme eyes haue wee towards hea­ven.

The truth of this appeares even in children, who [Page 57] presently even from the cradle, drinke in the rudi­ments of vice; they learne to sweare, riot, drinke and the like enormities with the smallest teaching; but they are vtterly indisposed to any vertuous inclinati­ons. They soone apprehend what belongs to the cu­riosity of behaviour, and deportment of the body, & the fashions of the times; Hoc discunt omnes ante Alpha & Beta puelli; but for Heaven and that Eternity, they are wholly averse from it, they are vtterly vncapable of the things aboue; they carry about them, as the li­very of their first parents, not only an indisposition, but a very opposition to goodnesse: And whereas for other imployments and vndertakings, they haue cer­taine naturall notions in them, bending their intenti­ons to naturall workes, some one way and some ano­ther; yet they haue not so much as a naturall appre­hension of the things of God.Homo sine gratia, praeter carnem nihil sapit, intelli­git aut potest. Thus it is with chil­dren, and thus it is with all men, even those of the ripest, and most peircing vnderstanding, vntill the light of Gods spirit hath shined on their hearts and powerfully wrought some spirituall, holy dispositi­ons in them. The naturall man (saith the Apostle) nei­ther doth, nor can discerne the things that are of God. O how infinitely-miserable and deplorable is his state, who hauing neither knowledge of the true life, nor possibility of himselfe to finde it out:Cum exulsit a patria exul­tat in via. yet runnes on securely in his damned way, vntill he fall woeful­ly and irrevocably into the pit, where hee will not haue, (no not when hee hath vncomfortably worne out millions of yeares) the least intermission of sor­row, or drop of comfort, or hope of pardon? Here [Page 58] on earth malefactors condemned to dye, haue this comfort (though wretched) that one houre com­monly terminates all their griefes in this life: But the torments of the damned are not concluded in an age; nay the end and period of ten thousand yeares will not end their sorrowe: And this is it which addes more to their sufferings, even their vnhappy know­ledge of the perpetuity of them; they haue not so much as any hope of releasement.

Hope in this life hath such a power in it, that it can yeeld some comfort in the middest of trouble; The sicke man, whilest his soule is in him, he hath hope, but after this life, this small refreshment is denied the damned, all their hope is turned into desperation. The Prophet Daniell, cap. 4.14. heard the voice of an holy one, crying, hew downe the tree, and cut off his branches, shake of his leaues, and scatter his fruit, neuerthelesse leaue the stumpe of his roote in the earth. Thus it is with men in this world saith Ambrose, their leaues and their flowers are shaken; their delights are taken from them; but the rootes remaine, and their hope is not abolished. But it is not so in hell; (saith he) There both flower and stumpe; nay and even all hope too, are banished away from them. The day of the Lord, saith the Prophet Malachy, shall burne them vp, and leaue them neither roote nor branch. The very hope, saith Salomon, of the wicked shall perish; what should this teach vs, but whilest our hope remaines to improue our few daies to our best advantage, to make straighter paths to our selues, to abridge our inordi­nate appetites in some measure of their vaine & fruit­lesse [Page 59] ioyes; and with all the power of our affections striue to attaine that hauen, where no billow shall af­fright vs, no stormes astonish vs, no perills indanger vs? Then shall our dissolution proue our gaine, and our death our glory: if otherwise wee persist wilfully in the paths of our voluptuousnesse, and solace our selues in the vaine ioyes of our owne hearts, and in the sight of our eyes; certainly it will be bitternesse in the latter end.Extrema gau­dii luctus oc­cupat. All our earthly delights will glide a­way like a swift river: The reioycing of the wicked is short, saith Iob, and the ioy of a sinner is but for a mo­ment. Though his excellency mount vp to the hea­ven, and his head reach vnto the cloudes, yet shall he perish for ever like his dongue, but the righteous is like a strong mountaine and he shall bee had in ever­lasting remembrance.

Wherefore to draw to a conclusion, iust occasion might here be taken for deploring the negligence, and vnhappy condition of our times. Where are there a­ny that take into their thoughts the due considerati­on of the time to come? Where shall wee finde any truly provident for immortality? Sic pleri (que) vivimus, ac si fabula esset omnis aeternitas; wee so liue as though wee conceiued of Eternity, but as of a fable, or a dreame; the sweete allurements of sin doe so strange­ly beguile many, that by gentle degrees they oblite­rate and extinguish in them all loue of vertue, and the very inclinations themselues to any thing, that may be truly tearmed good.

But let vs no longer delude our selues by fancying a perpetuity on earth, behold the judge stands before [Page 60] the doore:Momento fi et quod tota doleat aeternitas. The strongest holds in the World will not be able to detaine vs one minute, when God shall be pleased to call for our soules: and thereforeAnte oculos prae omnibus habeamus di­em vltimum, & momentis singulis sup­plicia timea­mus dolotum aeternorum. let vs be­fore all things haue continually in our sight the last day: and let vs every moment feare the punishments of eternall paines.

CHAP. III. Certaine conclusions drawne from the serious and devoute consideration of Eternity.

The first conclusion.

IF they, who runne on in any notorious sinne, did but rightly weigh how fast they goe towards the Eternity of torments, (since that by the least com­mand or stroke of God,Confecto de­mum scelere, eius magni­tudo intelligi­tur. they may bee vnavoidably hurl'd to death and destruction:) Certainely they would not for all the kingdomes in Europe, for all the treasures of Asia, nay not for the whole world, de­ferre their repentance one houre; much lesse would they goe so confidently to their beds, without feare or horror, being so neare the pits brinke; and lying in the danger of so great a sinne. For what would it profit a man, to winne the whole world, and loose his soule? wherefore whoeuer thou art Nulli parcas vt soli parcas animae, Omnia siper­das animam servare me­mento. what ever become of all other things, yet haue a speciall care for the salvation of thy pretious soule.

The second conclusion.

The greatest part of men doe not belieue this Eter­nity, which shall vndoubtedly follow either in Hea­ven, [Page 61] or Hell to all; For were they assured of that truth, they would shew more evident proofe thereof in the reformation of their liues. Some indeede will seeme to credit it in their words, but deny it in their actions. Their apprehensions and conceits may per­chance sometimes glance at it, vpon some checke of conscience, it being as a thorne in their sides, and a mountaine in their way towards their earthly con­tentment; but they are soone taken off. Such thoughts haue no rooting in the ground of their hearts, but are suddenly choaked by some intervenient imploy­ments: they are commonly nipt in their very bud, and killed in their birth; So that they neuer come to any issue. Thus many there are, whoCaeci ad aeter­nitatem ade­unt, ex qua nunquam ex­ibunt. runne headlong and blindfold to their long home, like the rich glutton in the Gospell, which never began to open his eyes and looke vpwards, till he was in torment: All the while he liued on earth, his eyes were shut vp, and when it was too late, namely when he was throwne to hell, then began he to looke vpward and about him: And certainely it is no marvaile, this rich glutton, and ma­ny more like him, hasten thus vnhappily to their vn­evitable downefall.

For they goe on in a pleasing and easy way. AndIn via nemo errat sed in fi­ne viae, via pluribus placet, sed dispi­cet & terret viae terminus. they are never sensible that they are out of the way, till they arriue at the end of their journey. All mise­ry lies in the close of the day, For out of the pit is no redemption: when once the soule is split vpon this rocke, it giues to the world his everlasting farewell, according to that of Iob. cap. 7.9. as the cloud vanish­eth and goeth away; so he that goes downe to the graue, [Page 62] shall come vp no more, hee shall returne no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.

The third conclusion.

Whosoeuer shall descend into himselfe, and take a strict and serious view of this eternity, certainly the meditation thereof soundly digested, cannot but terminate his desires to a moderate and sparing frui­tion, even of lawfull contentments.

This will imbitter his carnall mirth, take off the edge from his sweetest delights, and at length make him say with Salomon, I said of laughter thou art madde, and of joy what doest thou?

It is recorded of Lazarus, that after his resurrecti­on from the dead, he was never seene to laugh; The streame of his affections were now turned into ano­ther Channell; his thoughts were fixt in heaven, though his body was on earth, and thereforeAeternis in­hianti in fasti­dio sunt om­nia transito­ria, i.e. Bern. hee could not but slight temporall things, when his heart was bent towards eternall. Oh, that wee could worke our hearts & soules to a vehement thirst after Christ, the true eternity! that wee could cleaue to that rocke with stedfastnesse, and with vnmoueable affections! For if Christ be our end, our joy shall be endlesse, nul­lo fine regnabis cum Christo, si Christus tibi finis.

The fourth conclusion.

The minde of man is so much the more sensible of the evill present, by how much lesse it meditates on the good to come. For he that lookes towards the re­ward, will vilify the sufferings. Saint Austin runs on sweetely in his meditations vpon this subiect; Eter­nall labour, saith he, is but an equall compensation [Page 63] for an eternall rest. But if thou shouldest endure this eternall labour, thou couldst never arriue at that eter­nall rest: Therefore hath the mercy of God ordained thy sorrowes to be temporall, that thy ioyes may bee eternall; and yet saith he,Vbi est cogi­tatio Dei? ni­mi, profundae factae sunt co­gitationes Dei Aug. who is there, thinkes on God as he ought? Such thoughts are irkesome to vs; But for temporall vanities we thinke of them with de­light; and enioy them with contentment: Now, saith he, looke in and about thy selfe, see where thou art; God hath his hooke in thy nostrills,Noli gaudere, vt piscis, qui in sua exultat esca: nondum enim traxit hamum pisca­tor. Aug. and can plucke thee vp when he pleaseth: and though hee suffer thee (according to thy calculation) a long time, yet what is the longest time of man to Gods eternity? Yea though thou shouldest lengthen out thy daies to ma­ny hundreths of yeares; yet still thou art transitory and exposed to the common condition of all men. Then fixe thy heart on God, and so enioying that eter­nity, thou shalt make thy selfe eternall; and be not dis­couraged for thy tribulations, and daily disquietings in this world: for such is Gods loue, such his abun­dant kindnesse towards his elect; that heeIdeo Deus ter­renis faelici­tatibus amari­tudinē miscet vt alia quaera­tur faelicitae, cuius dolcedo non est falla [...]. corrects them here, to the end they might not bee condemned with the world hereafter; boni laborant, quia flagellan­tur vt filij, mali exultant quia damnantur vt alieni; God spareth those, who are aliens from grace, but whom he chuseth, he chastiseth; Bee not therefore (I say) cast downe with any crosses whatsoeuer, that may befall thee in this life; for the things that are pre­sent, are temporall, but the things to come are eter­nall. When we see the friends of this world, the ea­ger embracers of the comforts of this life, vpon every [Page 64] summons of death striue to deferre, what they cannot vtterly avoide, their corporall dissolutions; oh how great care, what indefatigable diligence what rest­lesse endeavours should we vse, that wee might liue for ever? Let vs againe, and againe, meditate on these things and with due care foresee eternity, before wee vnexpectedly fall into it. Certaine it is,Omnia tran­seunt, sola re­stat & non tranfibit ae­ternitas. all things passe away in this life, only eternity hath no period: let vs redeeme the time, and worke while wee haue the day; for if wee neglect good duties here, we shall never regaine the like opportunity hereafter. This life (saith Nazianzen) is as it were our faireday or mar­ket day, let vs now buy what wee want, while the faire lasts. While we haue time let vs doe good vnto all men:Tu dormis sed tempus tuum non dormit, sed ambulat imo volat. Bene illis qui sic vivunt, sicut vixisse se vo­lunt cum mo­riendum erit faciantque ea quae in aeter­nitate consti­tuti fecisse se gaudebunt. Amb. Happy is the man that so liues here, that the remembrance of his well-spent life may yeeld him ioy hereafter; For otherwise levis hic neglectus, aeternum fit dispendium, i.e. A small neglect in the or­dering of our time in this world, will bee seconded with an eternall losse in the world to come.

The fift conclusion.

Death is the ending our daies, not of our life. For when our day shall close, and our time shall bee no more, then shall our death conduct vs to a life, which will last for all Eternity: For we dye not here to dye, but to liue for ever. Therefore the best guide of our life is the consideration of our death: and hee a­lone leads a life answerable to his Christian professi­on, who daily expects to leaue it. Me thinkes 'its strange-men should be so industriously carefull to a­voide their death, and so carelesly improvident of the [Page 65] life to come, when as nothing makes death bad, but that estate which followes it: but the reason is, wee are spiritually blind and see not, nor know, in this our day the things that belong to our peace, wee haue naturally neither sight nor feeling of the ioyes to come. But when God shall enlighten the darknesse of our mindes, and reveale his sonne in vs when once the day dawneth, & that day-starre ariseth in our hearts ô then our death will be our joy, and the reioycing of our hearts, then shall wee infinitely desire to bee dissolued and to be with Christ. Let vs therefore with vnwearied endeavours labour to bring Christ home to our hearts, and to keepe him there. Let vs dye to our selues and to our lusts here, that so in the world to come, we may everlastingly liue vnto Christ and in him.

The sixt conclusion.

Now that we may bee the better incouraged to raise vp our indeavours to the attainement of this e­ternity; Let vs in a word consider the abundant and the ever-flowing happinesse in the world to come; neither eye hath seene nor eare hath heard, nor tongue can expresse the joyes that God hath provided for thē that loue him.Vbi nullum e­rit malum, nullum late­bit bonum- Saint Augustine being ravished with the desire of this life, breaketh out with an inflamed affection, how great shall that happinesse bee, where there can be no vncleane thing, where no good can be wanting;Praemium vir­tutis erit ipse, qui virtutem dedit. where every creature doth praise and ad­mire his Creator, who is all in all things. How great shall that reward be, where the giver of vertue shall be himselfe, the reward of vertue: how great shall [Page 66] that abundance be, where the author of all plenty, shall be vnto me, life and soule, and rayment, health, and peace, and honour, and all things; yea the end and compleat obiect of all my desires: For in his pre­sence, is the fulnesse of joy, and at his right hand there is pleasure for evermore. How great shall that bles­sednesse be, where we shall haue the Lord our debtor, who hath promised to reward our good deeds; where wee shall haue the Lord for our portion, who will be to vs, (as he was to Abraham) our exceeding great reward? How great shall that light bee, where the Sunne shall no more shine by day, nor the moone by night; where God shall be our light, and the Lord our glory? How great shall that possession be, where the heart shall possesse whatsoever it shall desire, and shall never be deprived of its possessions? Here will be to the Saints an abundant, everlasting, overflowing banquet; no griefe can accompany it, no sorrow suc­ceede it. Here is ioy without sadnesse, restQuies motus non appeti­tus. without labour, wealth without losse, health without languor, abundance without defect, life without death, perpe­tuity without corruption. Here is the beatificall pre­sence of God, the company of Saints, the society of Angells. Here are pleasures, which the mindes of the beholders can never be wearied with; they alwaies see them, and yet alwaies reioyce to see them: These are the flaggons of wine which comforted vp David, when he cried out, according to the multitude of the sorrowes which I had in my heart thy comforts haue refreshed my soule: In coelo est vita verè vitalis, In heaven, and only in heauen is the true life. For [Page 67] there our memories shall liue in the ioyfull recorda­tion of all things past, our vnderstandings shall liue in the knowledge of God; our wills shall liue in the fruition of all excellencies that they can wish for, all our senses shall abound in their seuerall delights. Here is that white stone, which Saint Iohn speakes of, even glory and immortality to them that overcome. Here is that water of life which our Saviour speakes of, whereof whosoever drinkes shall never thirst againe. Here is that river, the springs whereof make glad the heartes of men: And how earnestly are wee invited to these delights; come, buy wine and oyle without mony? Heaven is at sale,Coelum vena­le est nec mul­tum exaestues propter pretij magnitudinē: teipsum da, & habebis il­lud. Aug. and thou maist buy it if thou wilt, and shrug not at the greatnesse of the price, giue but thy selfe to God, and thou shalt haue it. And who would not abandon his honours, his pride, his credit, his friends, nay himselfe? Who would not be willing to passe through the gates of Hell, and in­dure infernall torments for a season, so he might bee certaine of so glorious and eternall an inheritance hereafter? Let all the divells in hell (saith Saint Au­stine) beset me round;Bone Iesu qui parcendo saepius nos à te abijcis, feriendo effi­ce, vt ad te re­deamus Ger. med. let fastings macerate my bo­dy; let sorrowes oppresse my minde; let paines con­sume my flesh; let watchings dry me, or heat scorch me, or cold freeze and contract me; let all these, and what can come more, happen vnto mee, so I may in­joy my Sauiour. For how excellent shall the glory of the iust be? how great their ioy, when euery face shall shine as the sunne, When or Saviour shall martiall the Saints in their distinct orders, and shall render to eve­ry one according to his workes? O were thy af­fections [Page 68] rightly setled on these heauenly mansions, how abiect & vnderneath thee wouldest thou esteeme those things, which before thou setst an high price vpon? As he which ascends an high mountaine, when he cometh to the top thereof, findes the middle steppes low & beneath him, which seemed to be high to him while he stood in the bottome; so hee which sends his thoughts to heauen, however hee esteemed of the vanishing pleasures of the world when his heart lay groueling on the earth below, now in this his tran­scendency he sees them vnder him & vilifies thē all in regard of heauenly treasures. Let vs therefore cheer­fully follow that advise of a Reverend Father:Quod ali­quandô per necessitatem amittendum est, pro aeterna remuneratio ne sponte est distribuen­dum. Let vs here willingly part with that for heauen, which we must first or last necessarily leaue vpon earth, and let all the strength of our studies, and the very height of our endeauours bee dispended for the attainment of eternity. For certaine it is howsoeuer wee liue here like secure people of a secure age, and howeuer we la­vish out the strength and flowre of our daies, as if wee should neuer account for it; yet our iudgement is most sure, and shall not bee avoided: The sentence of the Iudge will be one day most assuredly published, and shall not be revoked: Wee must all appeare (saith Saint Paul) before the iudgement seat of Christ, that euery one may receaue the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Then shall our wickednesse be brought to light which now lies hid in darknesse. I saw the dead (saith S. Iohn, Rev. 20.12.) both great and small stand before God, and the books were opened and another booke was opened which is the [Page 69] booke of life, and the dead were iudged of those things which were written in the bookes, according to their workes; and whosoeuer was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Thus it is evident, every man shall giue vp his account; euery soule shall first or last come to his reckning: Multorum vocatio, paucorum electio, omnium retributio, many are called, few chosen, but al rewarded according to their deeds. Oh then let vs prepare our selues to meet our God; let vs come before him with feare, and tremble at his iudgements. Feare not him (saith our Sauiour) who when he hath killed the body, can doe no more, but feare him, who can cast both soule and body to hell; I say him feare. Oh how many of the Saints of God trembled and quaked when they haue meditated vpon the last iudgement. Hierome saith, as oft as I thinke of that day, how doth my whole body quake, and my heart within me tremble?Quoties diem illum cogito toto corpore contremisco. Timeo Gehen nam quippe interminatam Cyrill saith, I am afraid of Hell, because the worme there dies not,A dentibus bestiae infer­nalis contre­misco, quis dabit oculis meis fontem lachrymarum, vt praeveniam fletibus fletū & stridotem dentium. and the fire neuer goeth out: I horribly tremble (saith Bernard) at the teeth of that infernall beast. Who will giue to mine eyes (saith he) a fountaine of teares, that by my wee­ping here, I may prevent weeping and gnashing of teeth hereafter? Let the examples of these Saints of God stirre vp in our hearts the like affections. Let it be the pitch of our desires, and the highest straine of all our endeauours, to attaine those heauēly mansions which our Saviour hath prouided for vs;Momentane­um est quod delectat, aeter­num quod cruciat. and to avoid those endlesse, easelesse flames which God hath pre­pared for the Diuell and his Angels. Who would gaine the purchase of a short and transient pleasure, [Page 70] at so high a rate, as the heavy price of eternall fire? Besides how shall our tender bodies, which so shrinke at the prick of a pin, or flame of a candle endure those lasting pressures?

Who can dwell (saith the Prophet) with eternall fire, who can abide with euerlasting burnings? Oh, let vs set before our eyes the judgement to come, and whatsoeuer we finde our selues worthy to be condem­ned for,Cessat vindi­cta divina, fi conversio praecurrat hu­mana. by the just Iudge at that day. Let vs first con­demne our selues; for where mans conuersion begins, there Gods displeasure maketh his period. Excellent is that aduise of S. Gregory, weigh (saith he) and consi­der the errors of thy life while thy time serues; Trem­ble at that strict judgement to come while thou hast health,Culpam tuam (dum vacat) pēsa, & distri­ctionem futu­ri iudicii (dum vales) exhor­resce, ne tunc amaram sen tentiam audi as, cum nullis fletibus eva­da [...]. least thou heare that bitter sentence (Goe yee cursed) goe forth against thee when it is too late. Did man knowe what time he should leaue the world, hee might proportion his time, some to pleasure, & some to repentance. But hee that hath promised pardon to the penitent, hath not assured the sinner of an houres life. Since therefore we can neither preuent, nor fore­see death, let vs alwaies expect it, and prouide for it. Let vs dye to our sinnes here, that wee may liue to Christ hereafter, and let vs suffer with Christ in this world, that we may reioyce and raigne with him in the world to come. Recusat esse in corpore, qui non vult odium sustinere cum capite. When we depart this life, we goe to an eternity, to an eternity I say, which shall neuer end, to an eternity quae facit omne bonum infinitè melius, et omne malum, infinité molestius, which ma­keth euery good action infinitely better, and euery e­vill [Page 71] action infinitely worse. Oh the vnhappinesse and everlasting woe of those men, who preferre the small and trifling things of this life, before the eternall weight of glory hereafter: who to enioy the short comfort of a miserable life here, are content to loose the presence of God and society of Angells hereafter.

A PRAYER.

O Mercifull God thou that art the eternall truth, the true charity, and long eternity, so illuminate the blindnesse of our vnderstandings that the serious consi­deration of our short and transitory miseries which wee run through in this life, may driue vs to a more feeling apprehension of those eternall paines which abide vs in the world to come Settle our hearts vpon the true ioy, teach vs so to possesse these transient things, that we loose not the enduring substance, so to lament our sinnes, that we may escape the punishment, so to proceed in the way, that we fayle not of our iournies end. Amen, Amen.

FINIS.

These faults are to be corrected in some Copies.

Pag. 9. line 2. read breathlesse. p. 12 l. 1. r perspicuous. p. 34. l 6 r: run. p. 52. l. 6. r. vndertakings.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.