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to power, honour, intellectual endowments, Serm. and other distinguishing priviledges, which X. are esteemed among
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,
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 of parts admirably put together, Serm."
regent of the body, indued with powers
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 seeking glory, honour, and immortality, SERM.
It must therefore be our wisdom, and
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