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on eternity, and ye will see, affliction here is but for a moment. The truth is, our tim is so very short, that it will not allow either our joys or griefs, to come to perfection. Wherefore, let them that:
weep," be as tho' they weeped not; and they that rejoice, as tho' they rejoiced not,”? &c. 1 Cor. vii 29, 30, 31 (5.)". Death will
put all men on a level,” The king and the beggar maft dwell in one house, when they come to their journey's end; cho' their entertainment by the way be very different " The small and the great “ are there,” Job iii. 19. We are in this world as on a stage: it is no great matter, whether a man act the part of a prince or a peasant; for when they have acted their parts, they must both get behind the curtain, and appear no more. Lastly, If thôu be not in Chrift, whatever thy afflictions now be, trubles, a thoufand times worse, are Ghiding thee in aroth'r world. Death will turn thy crosses into pure unmixed curses: and then how gladly wouldst thou return to thy former afilicted state, and purchase it at any rate ; were there any possibility of such a' returnIf thou be in Christ, thou mayst well bear thy cross. Death will put an end to all thy troubles. If a man on a journey be not well accomodate, where he lodgeth only for a night, he will not trouble himself much about the matter ; because he is not to Itay there: it is not his home Ye are on the road to eternity; let it not disquiet you, that you meer with some hardships in the inn of this world Fret not, because it is not so well with you as with some others. One man travels with a cane in his hand; his fellow-traveller (perhaps) has but a common stick, or staff: either of them will serve the turn. It is no great matter which of them be yours; both will be laid aside when you come to your journey's end.
Thirdly, it may ferve for a bridie, to curb all manner of lufts, particularly those converfant about the body. A ferious visit made to cold death, and that folitary mansion, the grave, might be of good use to repress them.
ift, It may be of use to cause men remit of their inordinate care for the body; which is to many the bane of their souls. Often do these questions,
«; What shall we eat? What fhall we drink? And " wherewithal fhall we be clothed?" leave no room for another of more importance, riz “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord?" The foul is put to the rack, to answer these mean questions, in favour of the body; while its own eternal interests are neglected. But ah! why are men fo busy to repair the ruinous cottage ; leaving the inhabitant to bleed to death of his wounds, unheeded, unregarded! Why so much care for the body, to the neglecting of the concerns of the immortal soul? O! be not fo anxious for what can only serve your bodies ; since, ere long, the clods of cold earth will serve for back and belly too.
2dly, It may abate your pride on account of bodily endowments, which vain man is apt to glory in. Value not yourfelves on the blossomn of youth; for while ye are in your blooming years, ye are but
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 constitution ? Deatla
does not always enter in soonest where it begins foonest to knock at therdoor; but makes as great dispatch with some 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 fairelt face, Job xiv. 20. “ Thou changest his countenance, and sendeth him away." Death makes the greatest beauty lo loathsome, that it must be buried out of sight. Could a looking-glafs 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. Senfuality 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 hastens 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, fhall fall therein," Prov. xxii. 14 “Let him that standeth, take heed left he fall." Beware of lascivioufness ; 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; fo 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, befpeak 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
" 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 beingend reality, in the best of them. What is the world, and all that is in it, but a fasoion, or fair show, such as men make on a stage, à paffing Ahow? 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.“ Thor “ 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 attending them. Now wilt thou set thine eyes upon empty shows 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 shall fly as fast away from them, as ever their eyes flew 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, fitting down on his neighbour's ground, elude his expectation, Luke xii. 20. “ Thou fuol, this night thy soul « shall be required of thee: then whose shall these things be?” Tho' you do not make wings to them, as many do; they make themselves wings, and fly away; not as a tame house-bird, which
be catched again; nor as an hawk, that will show 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 shouldst 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 fervants belonging to the inn, where thou lodgest, they wait upon thee, while thou art there ;' and when thou goeft 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 fnare. ~ Who art chou, that thou shouldīt be afraid of a ", man that'fhall die?" Ifa.li. 12. Look on persecutors as pieces of brittle clay, that thall be daffied to pieces : for then thall 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 considera- . tion 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 Christ'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 fin. 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 spur, 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 deadborn, 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
fider, 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
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
do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor " 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 hort time is over already; and the youngest of us all cannot affure 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! shall we not double our diligence, when so much of our time is spent, and so little of our great work is done? (5.) The present time is flying away: and we cannot bring back time past, it. bath taken an eternal farewel of us: there is no kindling the fire again that is burnt to alhes. The time to come is not ours: and we have no 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
be at an end
„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 obfervation shews us, there is no such thing. Now the flying shadow of our life allows no time for loitering.
and the wicked; and ye will see the same thing in that other text, Mal. iii. 18. “ Then shall ye return, and discern between the righ* teous and the wicked ” Wherefore, if ye' be not righteous, ye are wicked. If ye have not an imputed righieousness, and an im, planted righteousness, or holiness; it ye be yet in your natural fate 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 fall be driven away in their wickedness, it death find you in that state. Now,
FIRST, As to the meaning of this phrase driven away; there are three things in it: the wicked fall be taken away suddenly, violently, and irresistibly.
First, 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) Death commonly comes upon them unexpected, aud so surpriseth chem; as the deluge came forprisingly on the old world, tho' they were forewarned of it long before it came: as travail cometh on a woman with child, with (ur. prising fuddenness; although looked for and expected, 1 Thess
. v. 3. Death feizeth them, as a creditor doth his debtor, to hale 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 murual embraces: when deach comes like a whirlwind, and separtes them. (3.) Death hurries them away in a moment to destruction, and makes a mort dilmal change: the man, for the molt part, never knows where he is, till in hell he lift up his eyes, Luke xvi. 23. The floods of wrath suddenly overwhelm his soul; and ere he is aware, he is plunged in the bottomless pit.
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: but death drags him away 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 desires no other: how can he then go away out of it, if he were nor driven?
Queft" But may not a wicked man be willing to die? Anf.. He may indeed be willing to die; buţ (observe) it is only in one of three cafes. (1.) In a fit of paffion, 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 when, on that account, they are moft unfit to die, will be ready to cry, O te be gone'! but ihould their defire be granted, and death come at their call, they