Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

24 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. will do with tfiem, they must have some probability and hope, be- fore they can be sincerely devoted here to please him. And, I. Ifa man be but uncertain what he should make the end of his life, or what he should live for, how can he pitch upon an uncertain end? And if he waver so as to have no end, hecan use no means ; and if end and means be all laid by, the man liveth not as a man but as a brute : and what a torment must it be to a considering mind tobe uncertain what to intendand do in all the tenor and actions of his life ! Like a'man going out at his door, not knowing whither or what to do, or which way to go ; either he will stand still, or move as brutes do, by present sense, or as a wind- mill, or weathercock, as he is moved. 2. But if he pitch upon a wrong end, it may yet be worse than none ; for he will but do hurt, or make work for repentance and all the actions of his life mast be formally wrong, how goodsoever materially, if the end of them be wrong. II. And ifI fetch them not from this end, and believe not in God as a rewarder ofhis servants, in a better life, what motive's shall I have, which, in our present difficulties, will be sufficient to cáuse me to live a holy, yea, or a truly honest life ? All piety and honesty, indeed, is good, and goodness is desirable for itself; but the goodness of a means is its aptitude for the end ; and we have here abundance of impediments, competitors, diversions, and temp- tations, and difficulties ofmany sorts ; and all these must be over- come by him that will live in piety or honesty ; and our natures, we find, are diseased, and greatly indisposed to unquestionable du- ties; and will they ever discharge them, and conquer all these dif- ficulties and temptations, if the necessary motive be not believed? Duty to God and man is accidentally hard andcostly to the flesh, though amiable in itself. It may cost us our estates, our liberties, our lives. The world is not so happy as commonly to know good men from bad, or to encourage piety and virtue, or to forbear op- posing them. And who will let go his present welfare, without some hope ofbetter as a reward ? Men use not to serve God for nought ; 'nor that think it will be their loss to serve him. A life ofsin will not be avoided upon lower ends and motives : nay, those lower ends, when alone, will be a constant sin them- selves. A preferring vanity to glory, the creature to God, and a setting our heart on that which will never make us happy : and when lust and appetite incline men, strongly and constantly, to their several objects, what shall sufficiently restrain them, except the greater and more durable delights or motives fetched frompre- ponderating things ? Lust and appetite distinguish not between lawful and unlawful. We may see in the brutish politics of Ben-