תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

to power, honour, intellectual endowments, Serm. and other distinguishing priviledges, which X. are esteemed among

them

very considerable; but at last death puts all upon a level, their breath goeth out, they return to their earth, and none has power over the Spirit to retain. it, neither is there any discharge in that war. And as thus it appears in fact thatall men die, so they who believe a governing providence, must attribute this event to unchangeable appointment. For the good pleasure of God mankind were created, by. the same good pleasure they subfist upon the earth, which was given them to dwell in, not all at once (for that end it would not be sufficient) but in succession, and it is evidently as much the course and law of nature that we should die, as be born. This immutable decree of heaven concerning the humane race, is fully declared to us in fcripture, where we meet with only two exceptions to it in the case of Enoch and Elias, both attributed to a divine miraculous interpofition. And St. Paut reveals this mystery, that they who shall be alive upon the earth at Christ's second coming, shall not indeed die, but undergo a change equivalent to that, which shall be effected in others by death and the resurVoL,

R

rection

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

SERM. rection; för flesh and blood, or the present X... animal constitution of our nature, cannot insi

herit the kingdom of God, neither can corruption inherit incorruption; but for the rest of mankind we are expressly told it is appointed for them all once to die.

Secondly, death is the end of all men in this sense, that it finally and for ever terminates their state in this world, translating them into a quite different, and entirely new stage of being : It puts an end to their labours and enjoyments, to their various relations in life, and in the very day of death their thoughts perish, their desires, their hopes, their fears, their sorrows, their love and hatred, as Solomon says elsewhere in this book, their projects for good or evil to themselves or others; thefe shall all cease and, which is of all the most important con« fideration, their state of discipline shall cease, and where: death leaves them, judgment shall find them. The life of man is a curious, and wonderful piece of the divine. workmanship, it contains a beautifu: variety of powers and affections, of bufiness and enjoyment'; there are united in it two beings of essentially different kinds, a particular fystem of matter, consisting of a numberless

multitude

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

multitude of parts admirably put together, Serm."
and disposed with the clear evidence of a-. X.
mazing wisdom, so as to serve their several
useful purpofes; and a spiritual fubstance,
the

regent of the body, indued with powers
of a very high nature, the spring of thought
and various operation, self conscious and ca-
pable of pleasure and pain in a great variety.
Between these two, however different, there
is so intimate a relation (we know nothing
parallel to it) as to constitute one person, or
one living intelligent agent, fuch - is their
mutual dependence, that the mind perceives
for the whole body, cares for all its mem-
bers, and directs all their motions; and,
on the other hand, the corporeal organs
convey to the mind the knowledge of ex-
ternal objects, and are the fit instruments
of its active powers. By this union the
human life is related to, and interested in,
the affairs both of the intellectual and
material world: It is capable of rational
and moral, and also of sensitive happiness ;
and it is capable of the contrary sufferings.
But there is a subordination of its parts and
of their affections, exercises, pleasures and
pains; those which are purely mental, are

of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

R 2

SERM.of a vastly higher nature and consideration X.

to the main ends of our being, than those of the body, and the former shall endore, when the others are quite perished. The principal design of providence in this whole constitution, is, that the soul should be put into the natural body for a time, short, when compared with the whole of its duration, under discipline, that acting a good part in this first stage, improving its own intellectual and moral powers, maintaining its superiority over the animal nature, and practising virtue, in opposition to infirmities and temptations, it might be prepared for another state, a state of perfection and happiness. What an important change then doth death make? It finishes all the advantages and disadvantages of our present condition. The light of the living is withdrawn, and we are removed into the land of forgetfulness. No more pleasure is conveyed by the eyes, or any other, organs of sensation, no more satisfaction arises from the conveniencies and ornaments of life, from friendships, relations, or social communication with any of mankind in this world; no more opportunity of fighting, what the scripture calls the good fight, of working out our salvation, and'

of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

of seeking glory, honour, and immortality, SERM.
by a patient continuance in well-doing it for X.
there is no labour, nor wisdom, nor device,
nor knowledge in the grave. .

It must therefore be our wisdom, and
greatly for our advantage, to enter into an
affecting confideration of this important fub.
ject, that we may act the part becoming us
with respect to it, and make the necessary
preparation for our inevitable fate. This is
one reason by which Solomon enforces his
advice, to choose going to the house of
mourning, or habituating our minds to a
serious and deliberate reflection on mortality,
for, says he, the living will lay it to his
beart; which expression imports something
more than barely considering it. The fame
object, it is certain, may appear to the mind
in very different lights; the understanding
may enquire into it, even accurately, may
"examine its nature, its various properties and
relations, yet with the utmost coldness and
indifference; it is the affections, and a

particular application to ourselves, that determine the importance of things, excite emotion, and have an influence on the temper and practice. How calmly and unconcernedly do men think and speak of objects and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

R 3

events

« הקודםהמשך »