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real execution of his good purpose upon me, as that actually I do live under the obedience, and under the conditions which are evidences of adoption and spiritual filiation, then, and so long as I see these marks, and live so, I may safely comfort myself in a holy certitude, and a modest infallibility of my adoption. Christ determines himself in that, the purpose of God; because the purpose of God was manifest to him: St, Peter and St. Paul determine themselves in those two ways of knowing the purpose of God, the Word of God before the execution of the decree in the fulness of time. It was prophesied before, said they, and it is performed now; Christ is risen without seeing corruption, • Now this which is so singularly peculiar to him, that his flesh should not see corruption, at his second coming, his coming to judgment, shall be extended to all that are then alive, their flesh shall not see corruption ; because (as the apostle says, and says as a secret, as a mystery, (Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep,) that is, not continue in the state of the dead in the grave) but we shall all be changed*. In an instant we shall have a dissolution, and in the same instant a redintegration, a recompacting of body and soul; and that shall be truly a death, and truly a resurrection, but no sleeping, no corruption. But for us, who die now, and sleep in the state of the dead, we must all pass this posthume death, this death after death, nay this death after burial, this dissolution after dissolution, this death of corrruption and putrefaction, of vermiculation and incineration, of dissolution and dispersion, in, and from the grave. When those bodies which have been the children of royal parents, and the parents of royal children, must say with Job, To corruption, Thou art my father, and to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sisters. Miserable riddle, when the same worm must be my mother, and my sister, and myself. Miserable incest, when I must be married to mine own mother and sister, and be both father and mother, to mine own mother and sister, beget and bear that worm, which is all that miserable penury, when my mouth shall be filled with dust, and the worm shall feed, and feed sweetly upon mese. When the ambitious man shall have no satisfaction if the poorest alive tread upon him, nor the poorest receive any contentment, in being made equal to princes, for they shall be equal but in dust97. One dieth at his full strength, being wholly at ease, and in quiet, and another dies in the bitterness of his soul, and never eats with pleasure ; but they lie down alike in the dust, and the worm covers them . The worm covers them in Job, and in Esay, it covers them, and is spread under them, (the worm is spread under thee, and the worm covers thee). There is the mats and the carpet that lie under; and there is the state and the canopy that hangs over the greatest of the sons of men. Even those bodies that were the temples of the Holy Ghost, come to this dilapidation, to ruin, to rubbish, to dust : even the Israel of the Lord, and Jacob himself had no other specification, no other denomination but that, Vermis Jacob, Thou worm Jacob 39. Truly, the consideration of this posthume death, this death after burial, that after God, with whom are the issues of death, hath delivered me from the death of the womb, by bringing me into the world, and from the manifold deaths of the world, by laying me in the grave, I must die again, in an incineration of this flesh, and in a dispersion of that dust ; that all that monarch that spread over many nations alive, must in his dust lie in a corner of that sheet of lead, and there but so long as the lead will last : and that private and retired man, that thought himself his own for ever, and never came forth, must in his dust of the grave be published, and, (such are the revolutions of graves) be mingled in his dust, with the dust of every highway, and of every dunghill, and swallowed in every puddle and pond; this is the most inglorious and contemptible vilification, the most deadly and peremptory nullification of man, that we can consider. God seems to have carried the declaration of his power to a great height, when he sets the prophet Ezekiel, in the valley of dry bones, and says, Son of man can these bones lide*o? as though it had been impossible; and yet they did ; the Lord laid sinews upon them, and flesh, and breathed into them, and they did live. But in that case there were bones to be seen ; something visible, of which it might be said, Can this, this live ? but in this death of incineration and dispersion of dust, we see nothing that we can call that man's. If we say, Can this dust live? perchance it cannot. It may be the mere dust of the earth which never did live, nor shall; it may be the dust of that man's worms which did live, but shall no more; it may be the dust of another man that concerns not him of whom it is asked.
34 1 Cor. xv. 51.
35 Job xvii. 14.
36 Job xxiv. 20.
This death of incineration and dispersion is to natural reason the most irrecoverable death of all; and yet Domini Domini sunt exitus mortis, Unto God the Lord bolong the issues of death, and by recompacting this dust into the same body, and re-inanimating the same body with the same soul, he shall in a blessed and glorious resurrection, give me such an issue from this death, as shall never pass into any other death, but establish me in a life, that shall last as long as the Lord of life himself. And so have you that that belongs to the first acceptation of these words, (Unto God the Lord belong the issues of death) that though from the womb to the grave, and in the grave itself, we pass from death to death, yet, as Daniel speaks, The Lord our God is able to deliver us, and he will deliver us. And so we pass to our second accommodation of these words (Unto God the Lord belong the issues of death) that it belongs to God, and not to man, to pass a judgment upon us at our death, or to conclude a dereliction on God's part, upon the manner thereof.
Those indications which physicians receive, and those presagitions which they give for death or recovery in the patient, they receive, and they give, out of the grounds and rules of their art : but we have no such rule or art to ground a presagition of spiritual death, and damnation upon any such indication as we see in any dying man: we see often enough to be sorry, but not to despair; for the mercies of God work momentanely, in minutes; and many times insensibly to by-standers, or any other than the party departing, and we may be deceived both ways: we use to comfort ourselves in the death of a friend, if it be testified that he went away like a lamb, that is, but with any reluctation ; but God knows, that may have been accompanied with a dangerous damp and stupefaction, and insensibility of his present state. Our blessed Saviour admitted colluctations with death, and a sadness even in his soul to death, and an agony even to a bloody sweat in his body, and expostulations with God, and exclama
tions upon the cross. He was a devout man, who upon his death-bed, or death-turf (for he was a hermit) said, Septuaginta annis Domino servivisti, et mori times *? Hast thou served a good Master threescore and ten years, and now art thou loth to go into his presence? yet Hilarion was loth. He was a devout man (a hermit^2) that said that day that he died, Cogitate hodie coepisse servire Domino, et hodie finiturum, Consider this to be the first day's service that ever thou didst thy Master, to glorify him in a Christianly and constant death ; and, if thy first day be thy last day too, how soon dost thou come to receive thy wages; yet Barlaam could have been content to have stayed longer for it; make no ill conclusion upon any man's lothness to die. And then, upon violent deaths inflicted, as upon malefactors, Christ himself hath forbidden us by his own death to make any ill conclusion; for his own death had those impressions in it; he was reputed, he was executed as a malefactor, and no doubt many of them who concurred to his death, did believe him to be so. Of sudden deaths there are scarce examples, to be found in the Scriptures, upon good men ; for death in battle cannot be called sudden death: but God governs not by examples, but by rules ; and therefore make no ill conclusions upon sudden death ; nor upon distempers neither, though perchance accompanied with some words of diffidence and distrust in the mercies of God. The tree lies as it falls ; it is true; but yet it is not the last stroke that fells the tree ; nor the last word, nor last gasp that qualifies the soul. Still pray we for a peaceable life, against violent deaths, and for time of repentance against sudden deaths, and for sober and modest assurance against distempered and diffident deaths, but never make ill conclusion upon persons overtaken with such deaths. Domini, Domini sunt exitus mortis, To God the Lord belong the issues of death, and he received Samson, who went out of this world in such a manner (consider it actively, consider it passively; in his own death, and in those whom he slew with himself) as was subject to interpretation hard enough; yet the Holy Ghost hath moved St. Paul to celebrate Samson, in his great catalogue “3, and so doth all the church. Our critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life: I thank him, that prays for me when my bell tolls; but I thank him much more, that catechises me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how to live, fac hoc et vides, there is my security; the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, Do this and thou shalt live. But though I do it yet I shall die too, die a bodily, a natural death ; but God never mentions, never seems to consider that death, the bodily, the natural death. God doth not say, Live well, and thou shalt die well; well, that is an easy, a quiet death ; but live well here, and thou shalt live well for ever. As the first part of a sentence pieces well with the last, and never respects, never hearkens after the parenthesis that comes between, so doth a good life here, flow into an eternal life, without any consideration what manner of death we die. But whether the gate of my prison be opened with an oiled key (by a gentle and preparing sickness) or the gate be hewed down, by a violent death, or the gate be burnt down by a raging and frantic fever ; a gate into heaven I shall have ; for, from the Lord is the course of my life, and with God the Lord are the issues of death; and farther we carry not this second acceptation of the words, as this issue of death is liberatio in morte, God's care that the soul be safe, what agony soever the body suffer in the hour of death; but pass to our third and last part; as this issue of death is liberatio per mortem, a deliverance by the death of another, by the death of Christ.
43 Heb. xi.
Sufferentiam Job audiistis et vidistis finem Domini, says St. James v. 11. You have heard of the patience of Job, says he ; all this while you have done that: for in every man, calamitous, miserable man, a Job speaks. Now see the end of the Lord, saith that apostle, which is not that end which the Lord proposed to himself (salvation to us) nor the end which he proposes to us (conformity to him) but, See the end of the Lord, says he, the end that the Lord himself came to, death, and a painful, and a shameful death. But why did he die ? and why die so? Quia Domini Domini sunt exitus mortis (as St. Augustine interpreting this text, answers that question “) because to this God our Lord belonged these issues of death ; Quid apertius ** De Civit. Dei 1. 17; c. xviii.