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than dutiful and virtuous children; no advantage more folid to any nation or community, than a fucceffion of virtuous members.
AS we have been fomewhat diffufe in the profecution of our subject; namely, the Danger and Folly of Practical Atheism: it may not be improper to collect our matter by a brief recapitulation. We hope therefore that enough has been faid to convince any one; FIRST, that there are infinite numbers fo unhappy, as to be wholly incurious and indifferent about the truth or falsehood of the religion they profefs.-SECONDLY, that their indolence will not prevent their being eternally miserable: and that unless they diligently seek the Lord, they may expect to feel the weight of his juft refentment and displeasure.-THIRDLY, that fo many would not have fallen into this dreadful mistake, had their parents taken a proper care of their education.-FOURTHY, that the heathens were very industrious to cherish every virtue in their children; and that therefore more is required from the Chriftian; because he has greater advantages, far better leffons of inftruction, and more glorious views; namely, the light of the facred fcriptures, and the joys of heaven. And finally, we fhewed how few seriously confider these things, and the ill confequences that attended fuch a neglect; concluding with fome arguments in order to perfuade every one to make a reformation at home. It now remains, by way of application, that we represent to you the anguish and remorse which the Practical Atheist muft experience in a violent fit of fickness; or, if he lives long enough, in the forrows and infirmities of old age. And, on the contrary, the joy the virtuous man poffeffes in the latter ftages of his life; or, when he finds death making his gentle approaches.
Human nature is fubject to fo many accidents and misfortunes, that it has been very justly infifted upon, that no man was ever compleatly happy in this life. But furely the reflections which will perforce obtrude upon a wicked man, when forely oppreffed, and conscious that his own ill conduct has brought his misfortunes upon him, will make the weight of them more intolerable. Image to yourselves a man weakened by intemperance, reduced almoft to the last extremity, one who feels the violent burning of a distempered blood, who imagines himself upon the brink of the grave, and going to experience the wrath of a God, whofe laws he has violated and whofe authority he has contemned. At such a time as this, confcience will be heard, and his crimes will then appear in their true light. Every thing then about him will turn to his difquiet; he will perhaps obferve his friends look with unconcern for his sufferings: he is conscious how undeferving he has been, and therefore is not the last to discover what a secret joy dawns in every face, proceeding from the hope that they are foon to be freed from a wretch whofe ill conduct has involved them in many troubles. How uneafy must such his temporal condition make him? Every thing that can happen appears in the worst light to him at one view; his relations and neighbours defpifing his memory, and rejoicing at his death; his children, whofe education it is most probable has been suited to their father's morals, sharing his fortunes as it were the spoil of fome enemy, and rioting even over his grave; forasmuch as wicked and licentious minds have very few touches of humanity. Natural affection too will perhaps point out to him, that his falfe indulgence, his pernicious counfels, and more efpecially his bad example, has procured the ruin, the eternal ruin of those, whose welfare ought to have been his chief concern. We find the rich man even in hell, according to the parable, fmote with remorfe of confcience for the fatal effects of this evil, and intreating Abraham to prevent his brethren from falling into the fame dread
than dutiful and virtuous c
nation or community, thar
AS we have been fome ject; namely, the Dang not be improper to colle hope therefore that enou FIRST, that there are ir incurious and indifferen they profess.-SECOND their being eternally n the Lord, they may e ment and displeasure.fallen into this dread care of their educati induftrious to chetherefore more is greater advantager. rious views; nat joys of heaven. der these thing neglect; conc every one to
of applicati which the
But fay, should the wicked, the flothful, the careless finner live to grow in years; what child reveres him? With how much contempt is he treated even by his wicked companions? Who covets his friendship? Who does not despise his company? A foolish old man is certainly a moft contemptible creature; but a wicked one is the shame of mankind.-How ill fuits all manner of intemperance with age? Such behaviour will stifle all kindness in friends, charity in neighbours, and duty in children: he falls into the grave; and, it is to be feared into eternal torment too, unpitied and defpi- . sed. The greatest happiness that could befal such a man, would be to perish like the brutes, and have his very name buried in oblivion. How different is the fate of the wife and virtuous man? His children regard him as their dearest benefactor, their trueft friend they are ready to affist him with all the chearfulness imaginable, and try every expedient in their power to prolong his life and render it comfortable and, if it may be, pleafant. His neighbours court his acquaintance; rejoice in the profperity of his family, and are ready to testify upon all occafions their approbation of his conduct. Virtue adds such an inexpreffible sweetness to old age, that no state of life, in the opinion of the wife and the virtuous ought fo much to be envied :-But to proceed; when that life, which he has fo happily prolonged by his temperance and sobriety, is so far weakened, as to warn him of his approaching diffolution: how calmly does he wait the Almighty's pleasure? His foul being fecure in the gracious promises of the Gospel, the nearer she approaches the borders of death, is the more eager for immortality, and feels the greater longings after happiness :—At the hour of death he refigns this tranfitory world with delight; and his foul, full of the aweful idea of God's justice, with the strongest affurances of his inexpreffible mercy and goodness finks calmly into eternal bliss.
As nothing illuftrates truth better than example, we shall lay before you a little anecdote of the late pious DOCTOR DONNE, a perfon VOL. III.
of great parts and learning, who being upon his death-bed, and taking his folemn leave of his attendants, thus addressed them— "Oh my friends! Behold in me the end of this world and all its vanities! Love my memory! Be kind to one another, govern your wills and affections by the will and word of your Creator.-Whenyour time fhall come you will remember my laft words!-You "will feel their force !-either with comfort or remorfe." Then feizing the hand of him that fat next him-"Ah! friend, ah! "brother, continued he,-I repent of all my life, but that part of " it I spent in communion with my God, and in doing good.—My fpirits fink within me.-Farewell!-Pray for me!-Pray earnest"ly!-Pray for yourselves!-Pray without ceafing !-Watch every "action of your life !-Be happy, as I hope to be, through Jefus "Chrift my Redeemer !-my Judge!-my God!-ever great !—— "ever terrible!-but ever merciful and juft."
To conclude; let us all not only agree in the truth of these things but seriously resolve to make a diligent enquiry after everlasting happiness, and pray inceffantly the Almighty to give fuccefs to our endeavours. Let us fhew that we believe by our works; and as a very little confideration will affure us, THERE IS A SUPREME BEING, let us act as thofe, who fear his difpleasure, dread his wrath, and trust only in his mercy.
"Go in thy native innocence! rely
"On what thou haft of Virtue; fummon all
"For God tow'rds thee hath done his part, do thine.