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moreover discovers some dissimulation. Would you have any believe you, when they call the Lord your only hope, and speak of Christ as all in all, and of the joy that is in his presence, and yet would endure the hardest life, rather than die and enter into his presence? What self-contradiction is this, to talk so hardly of the world and the flesh, to groan and complain of sin and suffering; and yet fear no day more than that, which we expect should bring our final freedom! What hypocrisy is this, to profess to strive and fight for heaven, which we are loth to come to ! and spend one hour after another in prayer, for that which we would not have! Hereby we wrong the Lord and his promises, and disgrace his ways in the eyes of the world. As if we would persuade them to question, whether God be true to bis word or not? whether there be any such glory as the scripture mentious? When they see those so loth to leave their hold of present things, who have professed to live by faitli, and have boasted their hopes in another world, and spoken disgracefully of all things below in comparison of things above; how doth this confirm the world in their unbelief and sensuality? “ Sure,” say they, “if these professors did expect so much glory, and make so light of the world as they seem, they would not themselves be so loth to change.” O how are we ever able to repair the wrong which we do to God and souls by this scandal? And what an honour to God, what a strengthening to believers, what a con. viction to unbelievers, would it be, if Christians in this did answer their profession, and cheerfully welcome the news of rest!-It also evidently shows that we have spent much time to little purpose. Have we not had all our life-time to prepare to die? So many years to make ready for one hour, and are we so unready and unwilling yet! What have we done? Why have we lived? Had we any greater matters to niind? Would we have wished for more frequent warnings ? How oft hath death entered the habitations of our neighbours ! How oft hath it knocked
at our own doors! How many distempers have vexed our bodies, that we have been forced to receive the sentence of death! And are we unready and unwilling after all this? O careless dead-hearted sinners ! unworthy neglecters of God's warnings! faithless betrayers of our own souls !
§ 21. Consider, not to die, is never to be happy.To escape death, is to miss of blessedness; except God should translate us, as Enoch and Elijah, which he never did before or since. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. If you would not die, and go to heaven, what would you have more than an epicure, or a beast? Why do we pray, and fast, and mourn? Why do we suffer the contempt of the world? Why are we Christians, and not pagans and infidels, if we do not desire a life to come? Wouldest thou lose thy faith and labour, Christian? all thy duties and sufferings, all the end of thy life, and all the blood of Christ, and be contented with the portion of a worldling or a brute? Rather say as one did on his death-bed, when he was asked whether he was willing to die or not, “ Let him be loth to die, who is Joth to be with Christ.” - Is God willing by death to glorify us, and we are unwilling to die, that we may be glorified? Methinks, If a prince were willing to make you his heir, you would scarce be unwilling to accept it; the refusing such a kindness would discover ingratitude and unworthiness. As God hath resolved against them, who make excuses when they should come to Christ, “None of those men, who were bidden, shall taste of my supper;" so it is just with him to resolve against us, who frame excuses when we should come to glory.--The Lord Jesus was willing to come from heaven to earth for us; and shall we be unwilling to remove from earth to heaven, for ourselves and him? He might have said, “ What is it to me if these sinners suffer? If they value their flesh above their spirits, and their lusts above my Father's love; if they will sell their souls for nought; who is it fit should be the loser?
Should I, whom they have wronged ? Must they wilfully transgress my law, and I undergo their deserved pain? Must I come down from beaven to earth, and clothe myself with human flesh, be spit upon and scorned by man, and fast, and weep, and suffer, and bleed, and die a cursed death; and all this for wretched worms, who had rather hazard their souls, than forbear one forbidden morsel? Do they cast away themselves so slightly, and must I redeem them so dearly?” Thus we see Christ had reason enough to have made him unwilling; and yet did he voluntarily condescend. But we have no reason against our coming to him; except we will reason against our hopes, and plead for the perpetuity of our own calamities: Christ came down to fetch us up; and would we have him to lose his blood and labour, and go again without us? Hath he bought our rest at so dear a rate? Is our inheritance purchased with his blood? And are we, after all this, loth to enter? Ah, sirs! it was Christ, and not we, that had cause to be loth. May the Lord forgive, and heal this foolish ingratitude!
§ 22. Do we not combine with our most cruel foes, in their inost malicious designs, while we are loth to die, and go to heaven? What is the devil's daily bu. siness? Is it not to keep our souls from God? And shall we be content with this? Is it not the one half of hell which we wish to ourselves, while we desire to be absent from heaven? What sport is this to Satan, that his desires and thine, Christian, should so çoncur! that when he sees he cannot get thee to hell, he can 80 long keep thee out of heaven, and make thee the earnest petitioner for it thyself! O gratify not the deyil so much to thy own injury! Do not our daily fears of death, inake our lives a continual tormenti Those lives which might be full of joy, in the daily contemplations of the life to come, and the sweet de lightful thoughts of bliss; how do we fill them up with causeless terror! Thus we consume pur own comforts, and prey upon our truest pleasures. When we might
Tears of death. to thy own in self! 0
lie down, and rise up, and walk abroad, with our hearts full of the joys of God, we continually fill them with perplexing fears. For he that fears dying, must be al ways fearing, because he hath always reason to expect it. And how can that man's life be comfortable, who lives in continual fear of losing his coinforts ? Are not these fearg of death self-created sufferings? As if God had not inflicted enough upon us, but we must inflict more upon ourselves. Is not death bitter enough to the flesh of itself, but we must double and treble its bitterness? The sufferings laid upon us by God, do all lead to happy issues, the progress is from tribulation to patience, from thence to experience, and so to hope, and at last to glory. But the sufferings we make for ourselves, are circular and endless, from sin to suffer: ing, from suffering to sin, and so to suffering again! And not only so, but they multiply in their course; every sin is greater than the former, and so'every suffering also: so that, except we think God hath made us to be our own tormentors, we have small reason' to nourish our fears of death. And are they not useless, unprofitable fears ? As all our care cannot make one hair white or black, nor add one cubit to our stature; 80 neither can our fear prevent our sufferinys, nor delay our death one hour: willing or unwilling, we must away. Many a man's fears have hastened'his end, but no man's ever did avert it. 'Tis true, a cautions fear concerning the danger after death, bath profited many, and is very Useful to the preventing of that danger; but for'a'meinber of Christ, aud an heir of heaven, to'be afraid of entering his own inheritance, is a sinful, useless fear. And do not our fears of dying insnare our souls, and add strength to many temptations ? What made Peter deny his Lord? What makes apostates, in suffering times, forsake the truth? Why doth the green blade of unrooted faith wither before the heat of persecution ?-Fear of imprisonment and poverty may do much, but fear of death will do much njöre. So much fear as we have of death, so much cowardice We usually have in the cause of God. - Beside the multitude of unbelieving contrivances, and discontents at the wise disposal of God, and hard thoughts of most of his providences, which this siu doth make
providence of God, and; and disa
23. Let us further consider, what a competent time most of us have had. Why should not a man, that would die at all, be as willing at thirty or forty, if God see fit, as at seventy or eighty ? Length of time doth not conquer corruption; it never withers or decays through age. Except we receive an addition of grace, as well as time, we naturally grow worse. “O my soul, depart in peace. As thou wouldst not desire an unlimited state in wealth and honour, so desire it not in point of time. If thou wast sensible how little thou deservest an hour of that patience which thou hast enjoyed, thou wouldst think thou hadst had a large part, Is it not divine wisdom that sets the bounds? God will honour himself by various persons, and several ages, and not by one person or age. Seeing thou hast acted thy own part, and finished thy appointed course, come down contentedly, that others may succeed, who must have their turns as well as thyself. Much time hath much duty. Beg therefore for grace to improve it better; but be content with thy share of time. Thou hast also had a competency of the comforts of life. God might have made thy life a burden, till thou hadst been as weary of possessing it, as thou art now afraid of losing it. He might have suffered thee to have consumed thy days in ignorance, without the true knowledge of Christ; but he hath opened thy eyes in the morning of thy days, and acquainted thee hetimes with the business of thy life. Hath thy heavenly Father caused thy lot to fall in Europe, not in Asia, Africa, or America; in England, not in Spain or Italy? Hath he filled up all thy life with mercies, and dost thou now think thy share too small? What a multitude of hours of consolation; of delightful sabbaths, of pleasant studies, of precious companions, of wonderful deliverances, of excellent opportunities, of fruitful labours, of joyful tidings, of sweet experiences, of astonishing