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physician or any friend; he hits an ulcer, lets it out, and saves his life : the enemy thought he was destroyed, but he was fecure. Thus death, which was the contrivance of the devil to bring man into his state, into his condemnation ; by this means, death lets our souls out of our body, that is our diffolution ; and our souls benefit and advantage by it : for the death of the righteous, is a passage to life; it is a passage, it is not a going out of being, it doth enter us into lifer; it doth not take away life wholly, for it is a departure unto God; it is the shaking off a burden ; it is loosing of the bonds ; it is the accomplishing of all desires. So that what to the mariner, that has been tossed up and down at sea, is their desired port; such is death to us, that are wearied and tired out, with the incumbrances of our mortal life. Now as those that have finished their voyage, and made an end of travelling, are at reft, and hearts-ease ; whereas those that are at Tea, or in a journey, have still their work to do: So when we are come to our heavenly inn, we have no more trouble ; none of that trouble which they had, who have the hazardous journey of this life! to pass through. Therefore the death of the righteous, it doth them the greatest kindness ; the death of the righteous is precious, for it is adorned with the crown of righteousness; with the admirable comeliness and beauty of virtue, so more sparkling than any precious stone.
2. But to the wicked it is quite otherwise, in respect of their state and sense ; for how dreadful and terrible is death to them that are unprepared ; to
them that have no faith, nor no ground or
solid pectation, no foundation of hope? How do they tremble, as one expresses it, in great straits, which way foever he looks. On the one hand, fin rises up and accuses ; on the other hand, the righteousness of God, for revenge of impenitency in wickednefs, that terrifics. Look downward, there is nothing but the open mouth of that vast chaos, the bottomless pit, that gapes upon them ; upward, God, an angry judge ; within, a tormenting, burning, accusing, condemning conscience ; abroad the world a-fire about their ears.
The scripture reprefents this state by weeping and gnashing of teeth, by whatsoever is confounding, astonishing and most terrible, a lake burning with fire and brimstone. But little cause in comparison have these good men to fear the worst, that the wicked world can do : for fear not them who can kill the body, and when they have done that, can do more, Mat. X. 28. But as St. Bernard says, a man that is in reconciliation with God; let all the world break upon him, put him into a neceflity to part with his God, or to part with his foul, invent all varieties, all sorts of exquisite tortures ; when they so do, they do but prepare a crown for the martyr. But then the wonder is, why men, where this knowledge is, are not suitably affected ; since death may be quite, altered, and prove an advantage, and the gate of life; the horror of death may be abated according to the gospel direction, when they come to gospel terms.
Here is the account, it is happy to die well ; therefore the worst of men defire it, even such as
- Balaam who is so branded in holy scripture. But E there is fomething of pains-taking in a holy life I therefore those decline it, to whom profit, pleasure e and the guise of the world, are a temptation. But
this is that which I will fay, with which I will
conclude. A man's death depends upon his life : 3. he is like to die, as he did live. Eternity holds a
proportion to the state that a man dies in ; but to perish once, is for ever, he is loft irrecoverably.
The Worth of RELIGION, and suf
fering for it.
PHIL. 2.: 7,8. But what things were gain to me, those I counted lofs
for Chrift. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have fuffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Chrift...'
SHALL at this time give you an account of these words, and shew you, That the knowledge
of Christ is an excellent knowledge ; and this I will make appear three ways.
1. In its fufficiency, and the operation that it hath tspon us.
2. Materially, in respect of itself : and
3. Finally, in its intentions and issue. And if any man enquires into a fourth cause , I anfwer, the formal, and final cause in morals, are always the fame.. : I. The knowledge of Christ is an excellent knowlege in way of efficiency, because of that operation it hath upon us.
For it raiseth mens spirits and makes them truly noble and generous. Looking to Jesus (faith the author to the Hebrews) who despised the same, and endured the cross, Heb. xii. 2. They that look unto Jesus, are too hard for the world, and despise all that it can do against them; they sit down with him that sat down at the right hand of God: whereas on the other hand, the spirits of those that favour not the things of God, are low, mean, and base; there is no high ends, nor gallant designs in their minds at all. It is observed that the noble acts upon raised objects do improve the powers
of the soul, and establish a refined tem per and state, and cherish free and liberal difpofitions; whereas remiss and fluggish acts about low and ordinary objects, do depress, debafe, and imprifon mens powers and faculties. Therefore we are wont to observe, that government is the proof of a man. Mofes, Joshua, the Judges, Saul, David, Elifha and the other prophets, and the apostles, after they were raised up to their places and employment became other persons, than they were before. Another spirit attends upon men in ways of goodness and generous employment, than the ways of selfishness and fin. All contentions of mind, all issuing
forth to act, all layings out of mens selves upon any account whatsoever, which are not motions ward, and reach after God, or at least, are not in conjunction with, or in subordination unto these ; are but to the loss, and tend to the narrowing of their hearts, to the contracting of their fpirits, and debafing of their principles. You find, when God came to take an account of man's apoftacy, he did curse the ferpent. And the Lord God said unto the Jerpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field ; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust jhall thou eat all the days of thy life, Gen. iii. 14. This curse did sink the state of this creature, whereas it was said before, that he was the wifest
the creatures. Now
the learned it cannot be resolved what crea-