« הקודםהמשך »
Peace is precious, yet it may be bought too dear : 'wherefore we mult rather want it, than purchase it, at the expence of truth or holiness. But other ways it cannot be over dear bought; and it will always be precious in the eyes of the sons of peace.
II. And now, sinners, what all I say to you? I have given you some view of the privileges of these in the tiate of grace: ye have seen them afar off. But alas! they are not yours, because ye are not in Christ's. The sinfulness of an unregenerate state is yours; and the misery of it is yours also: but, ye have neither part nor lot this matter. The guilt of all your fins lies upon you; ye have no" part in the righteousness of Christ. There is no peace to you, no peace with God, no true peace of conscience; for ye have no saving interest in the great Peace-maker. Ye are none of God's family: the adoption we fpoke of belongs not to you. Ye have no part in the Spirit of sanctification; and, in one word, ye have no inheritance among them that are sanctified. All I can say to you in this matter, is, that the case is not desperate, they may yet be yours, Rev. iii. 20. “Behold, I land at the door and knock: if any man “ hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and " will sup with him, and he with me.” Heaven is proposing an union with earth Mill, the potter is making fuit to his own clay, and the gates of the city of refuge are not yet closed. O! that we could compel you to come in.
S T A T E IV.,
consummate Happiness, or. Misery.".
_H E A D I
JOB XXX. 23. For I know that thou wilt bring me to Death, and to
the House appointed for all Living.
T Come now to discourse of man's eternal state, into which he enters
by death. Of this entrance, Job takes a solemn serious view, in the words of the text; which contain a general truth, and a particular application of it. The general truth is supposed ; namely, that all men must, by death, remove out of this world : they must die. But, whither must they, go? They must go to the house appointed for all living : to the grave, that darksome, gloomy, solitary house, in the land of forgetfulness. Wherefoever the body is laid up, till the resurrection ; thither, as to a dwelling-houfe, death brings us home. While we are in the body, we are but in a lodging-house : in an inn,
on our way home-ward. When we come to our grave, we come to , our home, our long-home, Ecclef. xii. 5. All living must be inhabi
tants of this house, good and bad, old and young. Man's life is a stream, running into death's devouring deeps. They, who now live in palaces, must quit them, and go home to this house; and they, who have not where to lay their heads, shall thus have a house at length. It is appointed for all. by him, whose counsel shall stand. This appointment cannot be shifted; it is a law, which mortals cannot tranfgress. Job's application of this general truth to himself, is expressed in these words: I know that thou wilt bring me to death, &c. He knew, that he behoved to meet with death; that his soul and body behoved to part; that, God, who had set the tryst, would certainly fee it kept. Sometimes job was inviting death to come to him, and carry him home to his houle ; yea, he was in hazard of running to it
by him it is a lapy truth
be. before the time, Job vii. 15. “My soul chooseth strangling and death, « rather than my life.” But here he considers God would bring him to it; yea, bring him back to it, as the word imports. Whereby he seems to intimate, that we have no life in this world, but as runaways from death, which stretcheth out its cold arms, to receive us from the womb; but though we do then narrowly escape its clutches, we cannot escape long; we will be brought back again to it Job knew this, he had laid his account with it, and was looking for it.. Death is an inexorable, irresistible messenger; who cannot be diverted from executing his orders, by the force of the mighty, the bribes of the rich, nor the intreaties of the poor. It doth not reverence the hoary head, nor pity the harmless babe. The bold and daring cannot outbrave it: nor can the faint-hearted obtain a discharge in this war. Thirdly, The human body consists of perishing principles, Gen. jj, 19. “ Dust thou art, and unto duft ihalt thou return." The strongest are but brittle earthen vessels, easily broken in this vers. The soul is but meanly housed, while in this mortal body, which is not a house of stone, but a house of clay; the mud walls cannot but inoulder away, especially seeing the foundation is not on a rack, but in the duft; they are crushed before the moth, though this insect be tender, that the.gentle touch of a finger will dispatch it, Job iv, 19. These principles are like gun-powder; a very small spark, lighting on them, will set them on fire, and blow up the house. The stone of a railin, or a hair in milk, have choaked men, and laid the house of clay in the dust. If we consider the frame and structure of our bodies, how fearfully and wonderfully we are made; and on how regular and exact a motion of the fluids, and balance of humours, our life depends; and that death has as many doors to enter in by, as the body hath pores; and if we compare the soul and body together, we may juftly reckon, there is somewhat more astonishing in our life, than in our death; and that it is more frange, to see dust walking up and down on the dust, tban' lying down in it. Though the lamp of our life be not violently blown out; yet the flame must go out at length, for want of oil. And what are those distempers and diseases, we are liable to, but death's harbingers, that come to prepare its way? They meet us, as soon as we sec our foot on earth; to tell us at our entry, that we do but come into the world to go out again. How beit, Tome are fnarched a way in a moment, without being warned by sickness or disease. Fourthly, We have sinful fculs, and therefore have dying bodies: death fol. lows lin, as the shadow follows the body. The wicked must die, by virtue of the threatning of the covenant of works, Gen. ii. 17. 6. In the day that thou eat'elt thereof, thou shalt firely die.”. And the godly muft die too; that, as death entered by fin, fin mày go out by death, Christ has taken away the sting of death, as to them
DOCTRINE, All must die..
Although this doctrine be confirmed by the experience of all former generations, ever since Abel entered into the house appointed. for all living: and though the living know that they shall die ; yet is is needful to discourse of the certainty of death, that it may be impregled on the mind, and duly considered.
Wherefore consider first. There is an unalterable fiatute of death, under which men are corcluded. “ It is appointed unto " men once to die," Heb. ix. 27. It is laid up for them, as parents lay up for their children: they may look for it, and cannot miss, it ; fecing God has designed and reserved it for them. There is no peradventure in it; we must needs die, 2 Sam. xiv. 14. Tbough fome men will not hear of death, yet every man muft fee death, Pial. ixxxix. 48. Death is a champion all must grapple with : we must enter the lills with it, and it will have the mattery, Ecclef, viii. 8. " There is no man that hach power over the spirit, to retain the « spirit, neither hach he power in the day of wrath,” They in. deed who are found alive at Christ's coming, Shall all be changed, i Cor. xv. 51. But that change will be equivalent to death, will answer the purposes of it. All other persons, muit go, the common road, the way of all flesh. Secondly, Let us consult daily obser, vation. Every man feeth that wife men die, likewise the fool and brutish perfon, Pfal. xlix. 10. There is room enough, on this earth, for us; notwithstanding of the multitudes that were upon it before us; they are gone to make room for us; as we must depar to leave room for others. It is long since death began to transport men into another world, and vast Anoals and multitudes are gone chicher ala. ready: yeć the trade is going on still; death is carrying off new inhabitants, daily, to the house appointed for all living. Who could ever hear the grave say, It is enough? Long has it been getting, but still it afketh. This world is like a great fair or market, where fome are coming in, ochers going out: while the allembly that is in ic is “ confused, and the more pare know not wherefore they are " come togetber;" or like a town' situate on the road, to a great
ciry, thro' which some travellers are paft, some are poffing, wbile 3 others are only coming in, Ecclef.iv. “One generation palleih away, " and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.”
albeit he has not as yet removed death itself. Wherefore, though . it faften on them, as the viner did on Paul's hand, it shall do them
no harm: but because the leprosy of fin is in the walls of the house, it must be broken douin, and all the materials thereof carried forth. Laftly, Man's life in this world, according to the scripture account of it, is but a few degrees removed from death. The scripture reprelents it as a vain and einpty thing, Shooting in its continuance, and wift in its passing away.
First, Man's life is a vain and empty thing, while it is: it vanish. eth away: aud lo! it is not, Jab viii. 6. My day's are vainty: If ye
fuf: Suspect afflicted Job of partiality in this maiter, hear the wife and prosperous Solomon's character of ebe days of his life, Eccles. viii. 15. All things have I seen in the days of my vanity, i. e. my vain days, Mofes, who was a very active man, compares our days to a peep, Pfal. xc. 5 They are as a Seep, which is not noticed, till it be ended. The resemblance is pat: few men have rigbt apprehensions of life, until death awaken them; then we begin to know we were living. We spend our years as a tale that is told, ver. 9. When an idle tale is a-telling, it may affect a little; but when it is ended, it is forgot: and so is man forgotten, when the fable of his life is ended. It is as a dream, or vision of the night, in which there is nothing solid : when one awakes, all evaaisheth, Job xx. 8. " He shall fly away lf as a dream, and hall not be found; yea he shall be chased away " as a vision of the night.” It is but a vain low or image, Pfal. XxxIx. 6. " Surely every man walketh in a vain show," Man in this world, is but, as it were, a walking statue : his life is but an image of life; there is so much of death in it.
If we look on our life, in the several periods of it, we will find it'a heap of vanities. Childhood and youth are vanity, Ecclef. xi. 18. We come into the world, the most helpless of all animals : young birds and bealts can do something for themselves, but infant man is altogether unable to help himself. Our childhood is spent in pitiful trilling pleasures, which become the scorn of our own after, thoughts. Youth is a flower that soon witherech; a blossom chat quickly falls off; it is a space of time in which we are rash, foolith, and inconsiderate, plealing ourselves with a variety of vanities, and swimming, as it were, through a flood of them But ere we are aware, it is paft, and we are in middle age, encompassed with a thick cloud of Carcs, through which we must grope; and finding ourselves beset with pricking thorns of difficulties; through them we must force our way, to accomplifh the projects and contrivances of our riper thoughts, Aod the more we solace ourselves in any earthly enjoyment we attain to, the more bitterness do we find in parting with it. Then comes old age, atcended with its own train of infirmities, labour and forrow, Pfal. xc. 1o and sets us down next : door to the grave. In a word, All fleso is grafs, Isa. xl. 6. Every stage, or period in life, is vanity. Man at his beft ftate (middle age, when the heat of youth is spent, and the sorrows old age have not . get overtaken him) is altogether vanity, Pfal. xxxix. 5. Death carries off some in che bud of childhood, others in the blesom of youth, and others when they are come to their fruit: few are left standing, till, like ripe corn, they forsake the ground: all die one time or other,
Secondly, Man's life is a short thing: it is not only a vanity but 4 soort-lived vanity: Consider, First, How the life of man is recko oned in the scripture. It was indeed sometimes reckoned by hun. dreds of years: but no man ever arrived at a thousand, which yec Ee