תמונות בעמוד

And therefore, to pretend to be perfectly easy under any great calamity of life, must be the effect either of hypocrisy or stupidity. However, tho' it be not in our power to make an affliction no affliction; yet it is certainly in our power to take off the edge, and lessen the weight of it, by a fu'JS and steddy view of those divine joys that are r>re• pared for us in another state, which shall ihortly begin, and never end: We may fay and think with St. Paul, " I reckon that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that (hall be revealed." Rom. viii, 18. And thus faying and thinking, we may bear the he::vie't load that can be laid upon us, with contentedsiess, at least, if not with chearfulness. A Third instance of our living like those that have their hope in another life, is, if we always take the account of a future state into our schemes and reasonings about the concerns of this world i and form our judgments about the worth or emptiness of things here, according as they are, or are not; of use, in relation to what is to come after.

He who soiourns in a foriegn country, refers what he fees and hears abroad, to the state of things at home; with that view he makes all his reflexions and enquiries; and by that measure he judges of every thing which befalls himself, or others, in his travels. This pattern should be our guide, in our present state of pilgrimage; whereia we often misinterpret the events of providence, and make a wrong use of them, by attending to the maxims of this life only; and so thinking of the world which we are now in, and of the affairs of it, as if both that, and they, and we had no


manner of relation to another: Whereas in truth, what we fee is in order only to what we do not fee; and both these states, therefore, must be joined and considered together, if we intend to reflects wifely and justly on present appearances; for as "no man knoweth love, or hatred i" so neither can he discern good or evil, purely "by what is before him," Eccles. ix. I.

We perhaps, when we fee vice remarkably prosperous, or virtue in deep distress; when a man, who is, and does good to mankind, happens to be cut off in the vigour of his strength, and in the midst of his innocent enjoyments; whilst " the wicked grow old, yea are mighty in power, and come to their grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in, in his season:" Job xx. 7. Job v. 26. We, I soy in such cafes, are ready to cry out of an unequal management and to blame the divine administration; whereas, if -v.e considered, that there is another state after this, wherein all these seeming irregularities may be set right; and that, in the mean time they are of use to distinguish the sound from the false believer, to exercise the faith of good men, and, by that means, entitle them to a greater reward; This one consideration would make all our murmurs ceasi?, and all those fancied difficulties vanish.

Many other instances, like these, there are, wherein, I fay, we shall never be able to give ourselves a fatisfactory account of the divine conduct, as it appears to us at present, without drawing our arguments and reflections from a future state, and forming such a scheme of things, as slull at once take in both time and eternity. We may, in the Fourth place, be said to live like those that place iheir hope in another World; when we have, iri a great measure, conquered our dread of death, and our Unreasonable love of lise, and are even prepared, and willing to be dissolved, and to be with 'Christ, as soon as ever he thinks sit to call us* Till we have wrought ourselves up into this degree Of Christian indifference, we are in bondage; we tan.not so well be said to have our hope, as our star in another life, while we are mighty loth and unwilling to part with this, for the lake of it* Not that it is in the power of human nature without extraoidinary degrees of divine grace, to look death in the face, unconcerned; or td throw off lise with the fame ease as one doth a

heights of virtue; attained but by sew, and matter of strict duty to none. However, it is possible For all .of us to lessen our natural sears of this kind, by religious considerations; by a sinrt belief of, and a frequent meditation upon those joys that shall be revealed; to raise ourselves up into a cohtempt of present satisfactions, and into a resolution of submitting Ourselves, if not joyfully, yet meekly and calmly, to the sentence of death, whenever it shall please God to inffict it Upon us. This, I fay, is a very practicable degree of Christian magnanimity and courage', and it is both the duty and the interest of every good Christian to attain it. Which we shall be th« better enabled to do, if, in the

Ftjth and Lift place. We make a proper use of such Opportunities as these, and of all other



-seasons of serious reflexion, which are afforded usl, un order to tix in our minds a lively and vigorous fense of the things of another world. They 'ftre under the difadvantage of being distant; *nd, ,2thc*efore, operate but faintly upon us. To remedy this inconveniency, we must frequendy -'tevolve within ourselves their certainty and greac importance 5 so as to bring them near, and make them familiar to m: till they become a constant ^tiftd ready principle of action, which we can have recourse to Upon all occasions. ;If we really live under the hope of future hap■.^pitiess, we {hall be apt to taste it by way of anticii'pdtion and forethought; an image of it will meet 'our minds often, and stay for some time there, as all'pleasing expectations do; and that in proportion to the pleasure we take in them. I appeal -'.to you, is it' be not! so in your temporal affair9< 3'Hath any of you a great interest at stake in a fardistant part of the world? hath he ventured & - good share of his fortune thither? and may reasonably hope fora vast and exceeding return? Wis thoughts will be often employed on this subject; and, the nearer the time of his expectations apprOacheth, the more he will think of it; for, •where his treasure is, there will his heart also moli certainly be, Luke xii. 34. Now, our spirirual interests, and the great concernments of a future state would, doubtless, recur as often to ouf minds, and affectthemas deeply, if we were but as much in earnest in our pursuit of them : and therefore, we may take it for granted, that wd are not so disposed as we ought to be towards them, Vol.. II.. C if if we can forget them for any long time, or reflect on them with indifference and coldness.

That this may not be the cafe, it will, 1 fay, be necessary for us to take set times of meditating on what is future, and of making it by that means, as it were present to us; It must be our solemn business and endeavour, at sit seasons, to turn the stream of our thoughts from earthly, towards divine objects; to retire from the hurry and noise of this world, in order to entertain ourselves with the prospect of another.

This is the proper use we are particularly to make of the present sad solemnity; and thus, therefore, I have endeavoured to employ it. Nor will it be unsuitable to that design, if I close these reflections with some account of the person deceased, who really lived like one that had his hope in another life; a life which he hath now entered upon, having exchanged hope for sight, desire for enjoyment.'

I know, such accounts are looked upon as a tribute, due to the memory of those only who have moved in a high sphere, and have out-shone the rest of the world by their rank, as well as their virtues. However, the characters of men placed in lower stations of life, tho' less usually insisted upon, are yet more useful; as being imitable by greater numbers, and not so liable to be suspected of flattery or design. Several of this auditory were, perhaps, entire strangers to the person, whose death we now lament; and the greatest part of you, who were not, had, for that reason, so just an esteem of him, that, it will not be unwelcome to you, I presume, to be put in mind of


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