ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

inalterably fixed upon those better and eternal Treasures, which thou hast prepared for them that love thee. Let the Thoughts and certain Expectation of Death and Judgment be so constantly, so powerfully present to my Soul, that in what Hour foever my Lord fhall come, I may be found ready to meet him,and to goin with him to the Marriage. Even so, Blelled Fefus, Grant me in such manner to pass thro' things Temporal, that I finally lose not the things Eternal ; but that I may use and improve thy Grace here, till Grace at last be Swallowed up in Glory, and I translated to my Master's Foy. All which I beg for tby own Merits fake, my only Mediator and Redeemer : To whom, with the Father and Holy Spirit, be ascribed, as is most due, from Me, and every Creature, all Honour and Glory, Dominion and Power, Thanksgiving and Praise, and bumz ble Adoration, benceforth and for evermore.

Amen.

ز

MED. VI.

Of Death

Hetr. ix. 27.

Title
T is appointed for all Men once to Die, and

after tbat the Judgment : So says the Spirit of God himself; and what is thus appointed, none can reverse, none can escape. That then, which remains for Us, who lie under this Sentence, to do, is only to endeavour, that we may die as becomes Men

and Christians; that is, as Persons who 2 Cor. V. IP. expect to render an Account of the Things done in this Body, and to receive a Recompence accordingly, whether it be Good or Bad. But who may abile that Day? or who shall stand, when the Lord appeareth? Who indeed; when not only the Thing it felf, but the very Apprehensions, and especially the Approaches of it are o dreadful ? For what is more

ter:

terrible to Mortal Man, than Dying? and what more so to sinful Man, than being Judged ? But yet, my Soul, since thefe muft unavoidably come, let us see what Course can be taken, to soften a little, and reconcile us to them: Nay, let us try, if it be not posfible, not only to bear them contentedly, but even to meet them gladly.

II. If Death be considered in it self, it is no more than what all the livirg Creation here below undergo in common with our felves. And what is Dying. It is a Ceasing to Live after the manner we now do ; it is a Removal, or rather, an Escape, from a World of Miffortunes and Miseries; of Sorrow and Disquiet; of Malịce and Deceit; of Noise and Contention; of Pains and Anguilh ; of Crosses and Disappointments; of Vanity and Vexation ; and, which is worst of all, of Temptaţion and Sin. It is doing that once for all, which we have done in part a thousand times already; by Sicknesses and Faintir.gs; by the Decays and Infirmities of Nature; and by the loss oftenderest Relations, who tore away our very Heart with them. In short, the present Life, even to the Prosperous, will be found upon a just Computation, to have made a very unequal Distribution. For even such have a larger proportion of Trouble than of Happiness. But to the generality of Mankind, it is a rough tempestuous Sea ; and Death is the making their Port, or at last retiring into the Shelter of Creek, where Storms can reach and annoy them no more. These are not affected Strains of Philosophy, but weighed and measured Truths ; such as every man is,or may be, sadly convinced of, at his own Expence. The only Deceit arises from our natural Fondness for Living; which God hath wisely infused, and woven into our Souls, that we might sustain our present Can lamities the better. As on the other hand he hath made Faith of a Fucure Sţaţe our Virtue, and ordained the Miseries of the Present Life as an Exercise for that Vir: tue; that both together might be a Balance at least against the Objects of Sense, and draw off our Affections from a Place, which was never intended for our Rest; and to raise our Desires of those Better Things provided for us in another World. And surely, if this Matter were well weigh’d, however timorous Nature may start and boggle at finit, yet it would be no hard matter to come close up to Death; and by the help of familiar Practice, and prudent pious Meditation, to render not only the Thoughts of it, but even the Thing it self very tolerable to us.

III. But if we consider Death in another Çapacity,as leading, and keeping us close Prisoners, to a just and terrible Judgment, thus it hach a Sting indeed, which is the Sense of Guilt, and Sin unpardoned. This is what nothing can relieve, but the Comforts of true Repentance, of a Saviour facrific'd to expiate, and make full Satisfaction for our Offences, a Title to our part in that Expiation, and the Favour of a reconciled God. And these, I hope, are Comforts which belong to Me. For do but hear and abserve (my Soul)what revivingWords the holy Spirit hath spoken to this purpose: If any man I John ii. 1,2.

sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,

Jesus Christ the Righteous, and He is the Propitiation for our Sins. Christ hath dy'd, who is he that condemneth? Yea, Christ is risen again, and feated at the Right-hand of God, a perpetual Interceffor,and a

mighty Saviour to all them that come to Rom. vii.

God by Him. He hath told thee, that what the Infirmity of the Law and the Flesh could not do, Christ

hath done for us ; that he knows and hath Heb. ii. & iv. felt our Weaknesses and will not fail to make large and very gracious Allowances for them ; that Rev.i.s. Jesus hath washed us in his own Blood, Va.i.18. and cha' our Sins be as Scarlet, yet upon

our

1

our true Repentance they shall be white as Snow. Look up then, and see thy Lord coming in the Clouds : Thou must be judged, 'tis true, but thy Redeemer shall be thy Judge. And to whose Decision wouldst thou chuse to stand, but to thy best Friend's, to him who loved thee so dearly, as to die for Thee; to be made Sin and a Curse for Thee, that thou mightest be made the Righteousness of God in Him? This is thy sure Confidence, and Heaven and Earth may pass away, but his Merits and Promises can never fail. And he hath promised, that all who repent and believe, and serve and love him, shall be saved in that Day, and be where He is, to behold his John xvii. Glory. Nay, not to behold only, but to enjoy it; to live, and reign, with the Son of God himself; For such he hath made Sons also,Fleirs of God, Rom. viii. 17. and Joint-heirs with Christ, of an Inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that

1 Pet. i.

4: fadeth not away, reserved for them in the Heavens. And if I know that I Love God,

I John iii, 2. I know that I shall be with him, and be like him, and see him as he is.

IV. Ob glorious Day, which shall bring me to the full and inseparable Enjoyment of my deareft Saviour and most merciful God: when this Veil of Flesh shall be done away, and Spiritual Joy, and Peace, and Knowledge, and Love shall for ever abound! Blessed be thy Name, O God, who haft opened an Entrance into such Bliss for poor returning Sinners ! Bleffed be thy Bounty, who hast ordained such an infinite Recompence for our imperfect and unworthy Labours! And if thou hast decreed withal, that I must pass thro’the Regions of Darkness and Death, to come at those Seats of Light and Glory ; shall I grudge this Passage? When I lave born the Heat and Burchen of the Day, shall I mourn because Even is come, and fhrink back, when I am called to receive my Wages?

Some

Some Difficulties I know there are: But thou, O Lord, wilt strengthen my Faith, and not suffer me to faint under the Terrors and Struggles of my last Tryals, Give me Grace, I pray thee, to consider, that this is the Method by which thy own Son was made perfect ; that it is no more, nay it is much less, than he suffered voluntarily, and for my fake : that by suffering Death he hath overcome it, and rendred the Conflict more easy to them that come after. Grant me to rejoice, at least to support my self, with the nearer Prospect of an Eternal Reft and Reward.

V. And do thou, O my Soul, labour continually to strengthen thy ownFrailties and Fears,with holy Meditations, with the repeated Exercises of Faith, and Repentance, of Trust and Love, and Heavenly-mindedness. Bid adieu to this vain World, and shake hands with it cheerfully: As for all that is uneasy here, thank God for a Deliverance from it; And for all whom thou hast reason to love and be concerned for, remember that thou leavest them under the Conduct ofthe same good Providence, of which thy self haft had so large Experience. Consider that God is All Relations, and more than All to those that want them; and if they continue to seek and serve him diligently, he will never forfake them, but be their God, and their Guide unto Death. Bid all my Friends weep, not for me, but for theme selves; who are still in a State of Danger and Temptation,of Vanity and Misery; from which they that die in the Lord are for ever freed. Tell them, that we shall see one another again shortly. And, as I am going now to those dear and good Souls, who have got the start of me in this Journey; fo They, and I, and all God's Children shall have a glorious, a joyful Meeting, at the Resurrection of the Juft. We shall all go together into a Place, whence Tears and Mourning are for ever banish'd; where the Vision of God, the Ser

« 前へ次へ »