« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
which leath makes oneneth him a week buried out living it his countenanchiome, that i hufe appointed for their glailest
ripening for a grave: and death gives the fatal stroke, without asking . any body's age. . Glory not in your strength, it will quickly be gone : the time will soon be, when you shall not be able to turn yourselves on a bed ; and you must be carried by your grieving friends to your long-home. And what signifies your healthful conftitution? Death does not always enter in soonest where it begins soonest to knock at the door; but makes as great dispatch with lonie in a few hours, as with others in many years. Value not yourselves on your beauty, i which shall consume in the grave, Pfal. xlix, 14, Remember the change death makes on the fairest face, Job xiv. 20.“ Thou changest his countenance, and sendeth him away." Death makes the greatest beauty fo loathsome, that it must be buried out of sight. Could a looking-glass be used in the house appointed for all living ; it would be a terror to these, who now look oftner into their glasses than into their Bibles. And what though the body be gorgeously arrayed? The finest clothes are but badges of our sin and shame ; and, in a little time will, be exchanged for a winding.Theet; when the body will become a feast to the worms.
3dly, It may be a mighty check upon fenfuality and fleshly lusts, 1 Pet. ii. 11.“ I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from “fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” It is hard to cause wet wood take fire ; and when the fire doth take hold of it, it is foon extinguished. Sensuality makes men most unfit for divine communi. cations, and is an effectual-means to quench the Spirit. Intemperance in eating and drinking, carries on the ruin of foul and body at once ; and haftens death, while it makes the man most, unmeet for it. Therefore, “ take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be "overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and so that day come “ upon you unawares,” Luke xxi. 34. But O, how often is the soul. struck through with a dart, in gratifying the senses! At these doors destruction enters in. Therefore Job inade a covenant with his eyes, chap. xxxi. 1.. “ The mouth of a strange woman is a deep pit ; he " that is abhorred of the Lord, shall fall therein,” Prov. xxii. 14. "Let him that standeth, take heed left he fall.” Beware of lasciviousness; study modesty in your apparel, words and actions. The ravens of the valley of death will at length pick out the wanton eye:
The obscene filthy tongue will at length be quiet, in the land of - silence ! and grim death embracing the body in its cold arms, will
effectually allay the heat of all Aeshly lusts. " 'Lastly; In a word, it may check our earthly mindedness; and at once knock down the luft of the flesh, the luft of the eyes, and the ." pride of life.” Ah! if we must die, why are we thus? Why.fo 'fond of temporal things; so anxious to get them, so eager in the embraces of them, so mightily touched with the loss of them? Let me, upon a view of the house appointed for all living, bespeak the world. ling in the words of Solomon, Prov. xxiii. 5. ^ Wilt thou set thine "eyes upon that which is not? For riches.certainly make themselves
take heed iting and drum. But Oj bles!
. “ wings; they flee away, as an eagle towards heaven.” Riches and all worldly things are but a fair nothing ; they are that which is not. They are not what they seem to be : they are all but gilded vanities, that deceive the eye. Comparatively they are not : there is infinitely niore of nothingness and not being, than of being and reality, in the best of them. What is the world, and all that is in it, but a fasoion, or fair fhow, such as men make on a stage, a palling how? 1 Cor.vii. 31. Royal pomp is but a gaudy show, or appearance, in God's account, Acts xxv. 23. The best name they get, is, good things; but, observe it, they are only the wicked man's good things, Luke xvi. 25.“ Thon “ in thy life-time receivedst thy good things,” says Abraham, in the parable, to the rich man in hell. And well may the men of the world call these things their goods: for there is no other good in them, about them, nor attendiog them. Now wilt thou set thine eyes upon empty fhows and fancies? Wilt thou cause thinè eyes to fly on them, as the word is? Shall men's hearts fly out at their eyes upon them, as a ravenous bird on its prey? If they do, let them know, that, at length these mall fly as fast away from them, as ever their eyes Hew upon them: like a flock of fair-feathered birds, that settle on a fool's ground; the which, when he runs to catch them as his own, do immediately take wing, fly away, and, sitting down on his neighbour's ground, elude his expectation, Luke xii. 20. “ Thou fool, this night thy soul “ Thall be required of thee: then whose shall these things be?” The you do not make wings to them, as many do; they make themselves wings, and fly away; not as a tame house-bird, which may be catched again; nor as an hawk, that will now where the is by her bells, and be called again with the lure : but as an eagle, which quickly flies out of fight, and carinot be recalled. Forbear thou to behold these things, O martal! there is ho reason, thou shouldft set thine eyes upon them. This world is a great inn, in the road to eternity, to which thou art travelling. Thou art attended by these things, as servants belonging to the inn, where thou lodgest, they wait upon thee, while thou art there ; and when thou goeit away, they will convoy thee to the door. But they are not thine, they will not go away with thee; but return to wait on other strangers, as they did on thee.... · Fifthly, It may ferve as a spring of Christian resolution, to cleave to Christ, adhere to his truths, and continue in his ways; whatever he may suffer for fo doing. It would much allay the fear of man, that bringeth a snare. « Who art chou, that thou shouldit be afraid of a ", man that 'thall die?” Ifa.li. 12. Look on persecutors as pieces of brittle clay, that thall be daffied to pieces : for then shall ye despise them as foes, that are mortal: whose terrors to others in the land of the living, shall quickly die with themselves. The serious consideration of the foortness of our time, and the certainty of death, will teach ws, that all the advantage we can make by our apostacy, in time of trial, is not worth the while ; it is not worth going out of the way to get it; and what we refuse to forego for Chriit's fake, may quickly be taken from us by death. But, we can never lose it so honourably, as for the cause of Christ and his golpel: for, what glory is it, that ye give up what ye have in the world, when God takes it away from you by death, whether you will or not? This consideration may teach us to undervalue life itself, and chuse to forego it, rather than to sin. The worst that men can do, is to take away that life, which we cannot long keep, tho' all the world should conspire to help us to retain the Spirit. And if we refuse to offer it up to God, when he calls for it in defence of his honour, he can take it from us another away ; as it fared with him, who could not burn for Christ, but was, afterwards burnt by an accidental fire in his house.
Lastly, It may serve for a fpur, to incite us to prepare for death. Consider, (1.) Your eternal state will be according to the state in which you die: death will open the doors of heaven, of hell to you. As the tree falls, so it shall ly thro' eternity. If the infant be dead. born, the whole world. will not raise it to life again: and if one die out of Christ, in an unregenerate state, there is no more hope of him for ever. (2.) Seriously consider, what it is to go into another world; a world of spirits, wherewith we are not acquainted. How frightful is converse with spirits to poor mortals in this life! and, how dreadful is the case, when men are hurried away into another world, not knowing but devils may be their companions for ever! let us then give all diligence to make, and advance, our acquaintance with the Lord of that world. (3.) It is but a short time ye have to prepare for death, therefore, now or never ; seeing the time assigned for preparation will soon be over, Ecclef. ix. 10. “ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to “ de, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor of knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.” How can we be idle, having so great a work to do, and so little time to do it in? But if the time be thort, the work of preparation for death, though hard work, will not last long. The shadows of the evening make the labourer work chearfully; knowing the time to be at hand, when he shall be called in from his labour. (4.) Much of our short time is over already; and the youngest of us all cannot assure himself, that there is as much of his time to come, as is past. Our life in the world is but a short preface to long eternity; and much of the tale is told. Oh! Thall we not double our diligence, when so much of our time is spent, and so little of our great work is done? (5.) The prefint time is flying away: and we cannot bring back time past, it, hath taken an eternal farewel of us: there is no kindling the fire again that is burnt to ashes. The time to come is not ours : and we have rio assurance of a share in it, when it comes. We have nothing we can call ours, but the present moment; and that is flying away: how soon our time may be at an end we know not. Die we must, but who can tell us, when? If death kept one set time for all, we were in no hazard of a surprise: but daily observation shews us, there is no such thing. Now the flying shadow of our life allows no time for loitering.
that efore, now or Ecclef. ix. For there is no
and the wicked; and ye will see the fame thing in that other text, Mal. iii. 18. “ Then shall ye return, and discern between she righ“ teous and the wicked " Wherefore, if ye' be not righteous, ye are wicked. If ye have not an imputed righteousness, and an implanted righteousness, or holiness; it ye be yet in your natural flate unregenerated, not united to Christ by faith : howsoever moral, and blameless in the eyes of men, your conversation may be; ye are the wicked, who fhall be driven away in their wickedness, it death find you in that stace. Now, .
FIRST, As to the meaning of this phrafe driven away; there are three things in it: the wicked shall be taken away suddenly, violently, and irresistibly.
Firji, Unrenewed men shall be taken away suddenly at death. Not that all wicked men die suddenly; nor that they are all wicked who die fo, God forbid! But, (1.) Deach commonly comes upon them unexpected, aud so surpriseth them; as the deluge came (urprisingly on the old world, tho? they were forewarned of it long before it came: as travail cometh on a woman with child, with surprising fuddenness; although looked for and expected, 1 Theff. v. 3. Deach seizeth chemi, as a creditor doih his debtor, to bale him to prison, Pfal. lv. 15. And that when they are not aware. Death comes in, as a thief, at the window, and finds them full of busy thoughts about this life, which that very day peris. (2.) Death always seizeth them unprepared for it: the old house falls down about their ears, before they have another provided When death casts them to the door, they have not where to lay their heads; unless it be on a bed of fire and brimestone. The foul and body are as it were hugging one another in mutual embraces: when deach comes like a whirlwind, and lepartes them. (3.) Death hurries them away in a moment to destruction, and makes a most dilmal'change: the man, for the most part, never knows where he is, till in hell he lift up his eyes, Luke xvi. 23. The floods of wrath suddenly overwhelin his soul; and ere he is aware, he is plunged in the bottomless pie.
Secondly, The unrenewed man is taken away out of the world violently Driving is a violent action: he is chafed out of the world, Job xviii. 18. Fain would he stay if he could: buc death drags bim a way like a malefactor to the execution. He fought no other portion, than the profits and pleasures of this world; he hath no other; he really defires no other: how can he then go away out of it, if he were not driven ? .
Qu«ft “ But may nota wicked man be willing to die? Ans. He may indeed be willing to die; but (observe) it is only in one of three cases. (1.) In a fit of passion, by reason of some trouble that he is impatient to be rid of. Thus many persons, when their palfion has got the better of their reason, and wher, on that account, they are most unfic to die, will be ready to cry, O to be gone! but should their desire be granted, and death come at their call, they
would quickly Mew they were not in earneft; and that if they go, they must be driven away against their wills. (2) When they are brim-full of despair, they nay be willing to die. Thus Saul mur. dered himself; and Spira wished to be in hell, that he might know the allermost of what he believed he was to suffer. In this manner men may seek after death, while it flies froin them. But fearful is “ the violence these do undergo, whom the terrors of God du thus drive. (3.) When they are dreaming of happiness after death. : , Foolith virgins, under the power of delusion, as to their state, may be willing to die, having no fear of lying down in forrow. How many are there, who can give no scripture ground for their hope, i who yet have no bands in their death! Many are driven to daske nels Deeping; they go off like lambs, who would rore like lions, did they but know what place they are going to: though the cha. riot, in which they are, drive furiously to the depths of hell; yet they fear not, because they are fast alleep.
Lastly, The unregenerate man is taken away irresistibly. He must go, though sore against his will. Death will take no refusal, nor admit of any delay; tho' the man ba's not lived half bis days, according to his own computation. If he will not bow, it will break him. If he will not come forth, it will pull the house down about his ears; for there he must not stay. Although the phyficiin help, friends groan, the wife and children cry, and the man.binself use bis utmost efforts to retain the Spirit, his soul is required of him; yield he mult, and go where he shall never more lee light. 3
SECONDLY; Let us consider, whence they are Ariven, and 2 whither.' Wheq the wicked die, (1.) They are drivn out of this
world, where they sinned; into the other world, where they'must: be judged, and receive their particular sentences, Heb. ix. “ It is " appointed unto men once io die, but after this the judgment." They shall no more return to their beloved eatth.' Tho' their hearts are: wedded to their earthly enjoyments, they must leave thein; they can carry nothing hence, How forrowful must their departure 'bė; when they have nothing in viev, so good as chac which they leave behind them! (2.) They ale driven out of the society of the saints on earth; into the soci/ty of the damned in hell, Luke xvi 22.6. The rich man also died and was buried." ver. 23. “ And in hell he lifi:up his eyes." What a multitude of the devil's goats do now 'take place among Christ's Sheep! but at death they shall be led forth with the worker of iniquity, Plal.cxxv. 5. There is a mixed multitude in this world, but no mixture in !
the other; each' party is there set by themselves. Though hele hypocrites grow here as tares among me wheat, death will root cal them up, and they shall be bound bundles for the fire.--co 13.) They are driven out of time into eternity. While time lafts
with them, chere is hope; but when tine goes, all hope goes with 2011. Precious time is now layitaly speat: it lies so heavy upon the