ON OUR LAST END
Consider first, my soul, why thou camest hither – what is thy business in this mortal life – for what end has God made thee – upon what errand has he sent thee hither. This should have been the subject of thy meditation from thy first coming to the use of reason: and hast thou ever yet seriously thought of it? Thou canst not here plead ignorance, for one of the first things thou wast taught was, that thou wast made for God, and that the business for which thou camest into the world was to know him, love him, and serve him here, and so to come to enjoy him hereafter in a happy eternity. O how noble, how glorious, how blessed is this end for which thou wast made! O how good is thy God, who has made thee for himself, and for heaven; and even from all eternity has designed this happiness for thee!
Consider 2ndly, that, properly speaking, thou hast but one thing to do in this mortal life; and that is no other than to answer this end for which thou wast made, by dedicating thyself, in a good earnest, to the love and service of thy Maker. This is that ‘one thing necessary,’ Luke x 42. If thou apply thyself seriously to this great business, all is well; if thou neglect this, all will be lost, whatever success thou mayest meet with in any thing else. O! ‘what will it avail a man to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul;’ and with his soul lose his God and a happy eternity? O let all other business, then, be subordinate to this; let all that no way conduces to this be despised as vain and unprofitable; let all that is opposite to this be avoided, rejected, and abhorred, as hurtful and pernicious. O how true is it, ‘vanity of vanities, and all is vanity,’ besides the loving God, and serving him alone. Kempis.
Consider 3rdly, the great blindness and misery of worldlings who live in a continual neglect and forgetfulness of this their only business; whose pursuits are after mere vanities; who weary themselves like children, in running after butterflies; in catching at bubbles and empty shadows, such as vain honours, false riches, and deceitful pleasures that last but one moment; and for these they forfeit God and eternity. And has not this, O my soul, been hitherto thy own case? O be confounded at the thought of thy having been so strangely senseless and so very wretched. Detest the errors of thy past life; and now at least resolve to mind thy true and only business, and to turn to thy God with all thy heart.
Conclude, since God is both thy first beginning and thy last end – since thou art made by him and for him, and all thy powers, senses, and faculties are designed to bring thee to him – to employ them all henceforward in serving and glorifying him: thus only shalt thou find true comfort here, and heaven hereafter.