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There are many whose life is but one continued dream, where in they judge aright of nothing, neither God, heaven, hell, or the world. So that their awakening cannot be but terrible. But be
wifc. 4. To prepare timeously for death and judgement, Matth.
'Tis certain that naturally we are quite out of case, for that great change : and alas ! we are naturally unwilling to think of it, or provide for it. But neceffity has no law.. We must die ; and we must either be provided for death, or we are ruined : and if we be not timely provided, our candle. may be put out ere our work be done.
(1.) Get habitual preparation for death, in a gracious ftate, Rom. viii. 1. Be sure to get out of the state of nature into the state of grace. And then come death when it will, it. will but transport you into the state of glory. And there are two things here to be secured.
[1.] Get your title to heaven fixed. None will get thither but those wbo have a right to it, Matth. xxv. 34 2 Cor, v. do To cthers the door will be cast on their face. Bul, ye may sayos how may we get a title to heaven? Anf. Marry the hcir, and hear ven shall be your dowery. The everlasting covenant is offered to you in the gospel, God to be your God in Christ, and, Christ
yours in all his offices. Therefore make a solemn deli: berate transaction with God this night, embracing Cbrift in the covenant, and consenting to it, with an eye to death and eternity.
[2.] Get a fitness for heaven wrought in you, Col. i. 12, For ye cannot be meet for it, till your nature be changed. How may we get that fitness ? 'may ye say. Ang. Believe and embrace Jesus Christ, for his Spirit of fanctification, 1 Cor. i. 30. There is a fulness of the Spirit in him to be communicated, and faith must eye Christ for his fanctifying Spirit. Put off the old man, and put on the new man : be new creatures, and let old things pass away, and all things become new. In vain do men pretend to faith without this, 2 Cor. v. 17.; and in vain will men look for heaven without ii, John iii. 3.
This is habitual preparation, which whoso have, if they fhould be struck dead in a monient; or inmediately seized with delirioufness, and die raving, yet they are safe ; for there is no condemnation to them which are in Chrif Jesus, Rom. viii. 1.
(2.) Get actual preparation for death, in a gracious frame for dying, that ye may die comfortably.
[1.] Make speed with your generation-work. . Whatever piece of work is put in your hand, for God's honour, dif
pateh it with all expedition, Mat. xxiv. 46. for if ye delay it ye may lose the opportunity for ever.
[2.) Be habitually tender in your life, Acts xxiv. 16. And beware of any standing controversy betwixt God and you ; for if there be any luch, it will readily stare you in a dying hour.
[3.] "Be wcaned from the world, and hold' a loose gripe of all you have in it, that it may drop like Joseph's mantie.
(4.) Keep waking and watchful, Luke xii. 36. Be much in the thoughts of death, and the life to come, that ye be not surprised *
[5.] Laply, To prepare for more public and general trials and calamities. This is a piece of wisdom to be learned froin fuch a difpenfation. For lefser strokes are usually the fore runners of greater ones.
Sodom and Gomorrah were tried with a leffer stroke, ere they were destroyed by fire from heaven, Gen. xiv. 10. And our Lord told the Jews, that unless : they repented, they should perish, Luke xiii. 5. which threatening was accomplished in the destruction of Jerusalem. The day may yet come, wherein men shall praise the dead, that are already dead; and they may miss this stroke, who are reserved for a worse, and shall meet with it ere all be done. Io a time when the cup of God's anger is going through a land, they that drink first usually fare best. How are we to prepare ? may ye fay. Ans. Keep your garments clean from the fins and snares of the day, and place where ye live, and take up your lodging in the fure and unalterable covenant of
grace, and then no evil shall befall you.
* See these directions amplified and illustrated in the Fourfold State, ftate 4. head 2. title, Directions how to prepare for death.
Two Forms of personal Covenanting by the Author.
[As Mr Boston has in his writings accurately explained the nature, an
warmly inculcated the duty and necessity of personal covenanting, or explicit entering into, or renewing covenant with God, by taking hold of God's covenant of grace; ic will not be improper to fubjoin the two following specimens of that folemn transaction in his own practice; the first, diced Aug. 14. 1699, a little before his ordination to the ministry; the other, dated Dec. 2. 1729, about two years and five months before his death. Both are printed from the original copies.]
Mr THOMAS BOSTON, preacher of the gospel of Chrift, being
by nature an apultate from God, an enemy to the great jotoVOL. II.
var, and so an heir of hell and wrath, in myêlf veteriyaloft and undone, because of my original and actual fins, and misery thereby ; and being, in fome measure, made feasible of this my loft and un• done itate, and sensible of my need, my abfolute need of a Saviour, without whom I must perish eternally; and believing that the Lord Jefus Chriit, the eternal Son of the eternal God, is not only able to iave me by virtue of his death and sufferings, but willing also to save ne (though moit vile and ugly, and one who has given hiin many repulses) boch from my sins, and from the load of wrath due to the for them, upon condition that I believe, come to lint for salvation, and cordially receive him in all his offices; consenting to the terms of the covenant: therefore as I have at several opportunities before given an express and filema consent to the terms of the covenant, and have entered into a personal covenant with Chriit; so now, being called to undertake the great and weighty work of the ministry of ine gospel, for which I am altogether insufficient, I do by this de: clare, that I tiand to and own all my former engagements, whether facramental, or any other way whaticever : ani new agaia do Rs. Ist w my covenant with God, and hereby at this present time do folony CVENANT and ENGAGE to be the Lord's, and make a fo. 120. iesignation and upgiving of myself, my soul, body, fpiritual and temporal corceras, unto the Lord Jesus Christ, without any refervation whaisoever ; and do hereby give my voluntary consent to the terms of the covenant laid down in the holy fcriptures, the word of truth; and with my heart and souls take and RECEIVE Christ in all his offices, as my PROPHET to teach me, resolving and engaging in his Itrength to follow, that is, to endeavour to follow his inttructions: I TAKE bim as my PRIEST, to be saved by his death and me. sits alone; and renouncing my own righteousness as filthy rags and menitruous clouis, i am content to be clothed with his righteousnefs acne, and live entirely upon fice grace; likewise I TAKE him for Hy Avvocate and INTERCESSOr with the Father: and finally, I TAKE him as my King, to reign in me and to rule over me, re1.ouncing all o: her lords, whether fin or felf, and in particular my pre: cominant idol; and, in the strength of the Lord, do resolve and hereby engage, to cleave to Christ as my Sovereign Lord and King, jo death and in life, in prosperity and in adversity, even for ever, and iu lirive and wreitle in his ttrength againit all known fin ; protesting, tisat whatever tin may be lying bid in my heart out of my view, I wilown it and abhor it, and thal!, in the Lord's Arengih, endeavour The mortification of it,' when the Lord thail be pleased to let me fee it. And this folemn covenant I make as in the prelence of the everliving, heart-searching God, and lubicribe it with my hand, in my cilan ver, at Dunie, about one o'clock in the afternoon, the fourteenth day of Auguli, One thquland 6x iuudied and winery-nine years.
A fecond personal Covenant. O LORD, the God and Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, I confefs
from , wholly corrupted, and laid under the curse, in Adam, through the breach of the covenant of works; and have ruined myself more and more by my innumerable actual transgressions, whereby my whole life appears in mine eyes this day a heap of vanity, fin, and foolishnefs. I am fully convinced, and do from my heart acknowledge, that I am utterly unable to help myself, in whole or in part, out of this gulf of fin and misery, into which I am plunged ; and that it is beyond the reach of the whole creation to help me out of it; fo that I must inevitably perish for ever, if thine own strong hand do not make help to me. But forasmuch as there is a covenant of grace, for life and salvation to lost finners, established between TheE and thine own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as second Adam ; wherein, upon condition of bis fulfilling all righteousness, which is now performed, in his having been born perfectly holy, lived altogether sighteouily, and made perfect fatisfaction to justice by his death and fufierings, thou hait promised that thou wilt be their God, and they Hall be thy people, to the making of them holy and happy for ever: and that this covenant is, in Christ the head thereof, offered and exhibited to me in thy gospel, and thou callest me inio the fellowship thereof, in him: Therefore (altering to my former acceptings and taking hold of it, declared whether by word or writ before thee, without wilful mistaking of it, or known guile), upon
the warrant of, and in obedience to, thy command and call, I in myself a poor perifhing finner, and worthy to perish, do now again TAKE HOLD of that COVENANT,
for lise and falvation to me; believing on the name of Christ crucified, the head thereof, offered and exhibited to me, as the great High Priest, who, by the sacrifice of himself, hath made atonement, paid the ranfom, and brought in everlasting righteousness for poor
finners. I credit his word of grace to me, and according, ly Trust on him, that he with his righteousness will be mine, and that, in and through him, God will be my God, and I shall be one of his people, to the making of me holy and happy for ever. God, I do by thy grace acquiesce in that covenant, as all my
falvation, and all my desire. With my whole heart and soul, the Son in. carnate is my only Priest, my Surety, my Interceffor, and my Redeemer; and, in him, the Father my FATHER, the Holy Ghost my SANCTIFIER ; God in CHRIST my God. I resign myself, soul and body, to him, to be saved by his blood alone ; renouncing all confidence in mine own righteousness, doings and sufferings. With my whole heart and soul, he is my HEAD and HUSBAND : and I am his only, wholly, and for ever; to live by him, to him, and for him. I take him for my a one PROPHET, Orack, and Guide ; give up myself wholly to hiin, to be taught, guided, and directed, in all things, by his word and Spirit ; and renounce mine own wil. dom, and the wisdom of this world. He is, with my heart's conteni, my alone King and Lord. And I refigo myself wholly, foul
VAF, and so an heir of hell and wrath, in mykelf veteriya loft and undone, because of my original and actual fins, and misery thereby ; and being, in some meafure, made sensible of this my loit and un. done itate, and sensible of my need, my abfolute need of a Savjeur, without whom I mut perish eternally; and believing that the Lord Jesus Chriit, the eternal Son of the eternal God, is not only able to iave me by virtue of his death and fufferings, but willing also to save me (though molt vile and ugly, and one who has given hi:n many repusses) boch from my sins, and from the load of wrath due to the for them, upon condition that I believe, come to trim for salvation, and cordially rcogive him in all his offices; confenting to the terms of the covenant: therefore as I have at leveral opportunities before given an exprels and folemo consent to the terms of the covenant, and have entered into a personal covenant with Chri:t; fo now, being called to undertake the great and weighty work of the miniftry of ine gospel, for which I am altogether insuficient, I do by chis des clare, that I tiand to and own all my former engagements, whether facramental, or any other way whaticever : ani now agaia do REIst w my covenant with God, and hereby at this present time do folozny COVENANT and ENGAGE to be the Lord's, and MAKE a fó. lend resignation and upgiving of myfelf, my soul, body, fpiritual and temporal concerns, unto the Lord Jesus Christ, without any refervation whatsoever; and do hereby give my voluntary consent to the terms of the covenant laid down in the holy fcriptures, the word of truth; and with my heart and soul I TAKE and RECEIVE Christ in all his offices, as my P'ROPHet to teach me, resolving and engaging in his Itrength to follow, that is, to endeavour to follow his inttructions: I TAKE bim as my Priest, to be saved by his death and me rits alone; and renouncing iny own righteousness as filthy rags and menitruous clouis, i am content to be clothed with his righteousness dicne, and live entirely upon fice grace; likewise I TAKE him for my Avvocate and INTERCESSOR with the Father: and finally, I TAKE him as my King, to reign in me and to rule over me, re1.ouncing all o her lords, whether fin or felf, and in particular my pre. cominant idol; and, in the strength of the Lord, do resolve and Jereby engage, to cleave to Christ as my Sovereign Lord and King, in death and in life, in prosperity and in adversity, even for ever, and i lirive and wrcitle m his itrength againit all known fin; protesting, that whatever fin may be lying hid in my heart out of my view, I cilown it and abhor it, and shall, in the Lord's frengih, endeavour The mortification of it, when the Lord thall be pleased to let me fee it. And this folemn covenant I make as in the presence of the everliving, heart-fearching God, and lubícribe it with my hand, in my chamwer, at Dunie, about one o'clock in the afternoon, the fourteenth day of Auguit, One thquianu 6x launat