Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

ing upon us, much less ascertain to us this greatest of our outward enjoyments. Again, we often fee the highest honours exchanged for the lowest abasements, and contempt; fo the rich man is frequently reduced to poverty, the healthy man laid upon a bed of languishing; and the man who ftood in the first rank of dignity, is foon debased to a low degree; whence we may cry out with the preacher, vanity of vanities, and all is vanity, which does not tend to the care of the immortal foul. For,

Is always

The body itself, to which alone fuch comforts tending to are fuited, is ever tending toward the duft, and corruption. will foon be ftripped of all fenfation of all worldly things, and entirely lose the relifh of those things, that once had been moft agreeable to it. And yet no man is exempt from this debt; we must all go down to the filent grave, and can carry none of thofe things along with us; and all their pleafure and ease, if it should happen to last so long, must then have its end. Whereas

III. On the other-hand, that, which ferves the intereft of our fouls, is moft lafting and is never taken from us, whose state hereafter will be determined by our behaviour in this life; heaven or hell, happiness or mifery, will be our final portion, just as death finds us; as foon as death ftrikes, we either are in torments or go to paradife; either become the companions of devils, or the affociates of holy angels, and fo remain to all eternity; and therefore our greatest care should be to avoid the one and obtain the other.

How the state of the

foul is deter

mined.

We are often determined in the affairs of this life by the hope and fear of things to come; as all our purfuits, and most of our actions, are for the fake of fomething future, and not yet in fight; that is, either to prevent fome evil feared, or to obtain fome good defired; for, in the beginning of life, people apply themselves to become mafters of fome profeffion, or trade, or bufinefs, in hopes of a livelihood, or of ferviceableness, when they arrive at riper years, tho' they are not fure they shall ever live to be mafters of what they labour after, nor certain of fuccefs in the moft prudent steps they can take to accomplish the end of their worldly

expectations,

expectations, of which we have far lefs certainty than of an immortal state; fhall it be faid, that we shall be lefs diligent in the care of our fouls, whofe affairs are not fo uncertain? For, tho' we therein act upon a future profpect, yet divine promise ascertains us of fuccefs in the way of the gofpel of Jefus Chrift. Wherefore, tho' the benefit is future, that is no reason to abate our zeal in profecuting it. I have observed, that reafon does not prevail to flacken man's endeavours for his worldly gain: how unreasonable then must they be, who have the advantage of a better hope in our aims for another life, and neglect the means to attain that happy flate? Again, it can be no excufe for a man to say, that he cannot comply with that felf-denial, mortification, and other chriftian duties, which are acceptable to God through Jefus Chrift, and without which the foul languifheth, is fick, and his faith is dead: for he cannot be ignorant of that plain rule of wifdom, to decline a prefent pleasure for one equal to it of longer continuance; or to submit to a prefent inconvenience, to prevent one more lafting; or to obtain a more lafting good, tho' there fhould be no difference in the things them felves, but only in their duration. Thus a wife man will never refuse to go through a short course of phyfick in an ill habit of body upon a fair profpect of procuring a regular state of health thereby; nor neglect to give a small fum of money in hand, upon fecurity of enjoying a good inheritance in a few years after and hall he neglect to take proper care of his foul, to cleanse it from all impurity, and to prepare it for the enjoyment of that bleffed ftate of eternal happiness, which is promised to all those, who love God and keep his commandments?

Efpecially knowing that the most lafting things below, bear no proportion to eternal happiness. If we measure them with eternity, they are as nothing; and a minute compared with our whole lives is no proportion in comparison of time and eternal duration. Therefore whatever is temporal, is incapable of giving full fatisfaction, because it may be taken from us. So when we are upon an inquiry after happiness, we may discern at first, that earth fays, it is not in me; for, every thing here is perithing, and muft foon have an end. Thus

24

The

Why eternal happines is

defireable.

ing upon us, much less ascertain to us this greatest of our out ward enjoyments. Again, we often fee the highest honour exchanged for the lowest abafements, and contempt; fo th rich man is frequently reduced to poverty, the healthy ma laid upon a bed of languifhing; and the man who ftood i the first rank of dignity, is foon debafed to a low degree whence we may cry out with the preacher, vanity of vanities and all is vanity, which does not tend to the care of the im mortal foul. For,

Is always

The body itself, to which alone fuch comfort tending to are fuited, is ever tending toward the duft, and corruption. will foon be stripped of all fenfation of all worldly things, and entirely lose the relifh of those things, that once had been moft agreeable to it. And yet no man is exempt from this debt; we must all go down to the filent grave, and can carry none of those things along with us; and all their pleafure and cafe, if it should happen to laft fo long, must then have its end. Whereas

III. On the other-hand, that, which ferves the interest of our fouls, is moft lafting and is never taken from us, whose state hereafter will be determined by our behaviour in this life; heaven or hell, happiness or mifery, will be our final portion, jus as death finds us; as foon as death ftrikes, we ther are in torments or go to paradife; eithe come the companions of devils, or the affe holy angels, remain to all eternity fore our greatest care f be to avoid the one other.

How the ftate of the

foul is deter

mined.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

ver live to bu

GIS

>ectati

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

pecially kne

1.

baba

is dead: for he cannot be ignorant
dom, to decline a prefent pleasure
er continuance; or to comics: retent
prevent one more laiting, rotanmore
there should be no difference meshing rem
ly in their duration. Thus are man
through a short course of phyfick
upon a fair profpect of procuring
thereby; nor neglect to give a mai
confecurity of enjoying a good inte
(hall be neglect to take:
om all impurity, and
At bleffed ftate of e
all thofe, who l

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

1t

as fhall fincereke them eternally which is defigned to re, they endeavour to vealed in his word, and Make them capable of eterheaven.

ments of a devout and pious din do generally make for the wickeir lives is this, That it wer to live up to fuch a ftate , as the law of God obligeth them too weak, and their na> strong, for their ever being in more affiftance from God, to live strict converfion is the work of God, and cany a man's felf, and therefore till God f pon them, with an irresistible power c

That it is in

every man's power to

take the ne

ceflary care of his soul.

The continuance of happiness is the most fatisfying character of it; and the eternity of mifery the most bitter ingredient thereof. It is impoffible to be perfectly happy with the prospect of an end before one. This confideration would magnify inferior delights, to think that we should never be deprived of them and light afflictions, with eternity written upon them, could not be borne: what then fhall we think of perfect happiness and complete mifery, both of the highest kind, and both eternal, and in one of which mankind must live for ever? Oh! then let us apply to ourselves the force and evidence of that question, What is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own foul? Or, what will a man give in exchange for his foul? Therefore

Perfuafives

the foul.

IV. As the portion of the body at the last day to the care of must follow the condition of the foul, it is our greatest interest to confider the present state of human nature, and the means by which alone it is poffible for us to be made happy. Man was made holy and upright by God; but, having by his voluntary transgreffion, and wilful disobedience, fallen from him, did presently fink into a corrupt and degenerate, into a miferable and curfed condition, both in refpect to this life and to that life which is to come: fo thus being become a finner, he is not only deprived of the image of God, but is liable to his justice; and as fuch, God cannot take pleasure in him; and that man that dies before he is restored to his favour, must be separated from him, and be for ever miferable. And

As man could not recover himself, nor raise himself out of his own ruin; and as no creature was able to do it, the mercy of God pitied our misery, and his wisdom devised this expedient to reconcile his mercy and justice, viz. that no man fhould on account of original fin be eternally miferable, except through his own fault: and his goodness refolved, that the Son of God should undertake this work, and fatisfy the offended juftice of the Almighty, and repafr the ruined nature of mankind. Thus

From the nature of

the first co

venant.

And of the

God did enter into a new covenant with man, fecond cove by way of remedy for what was paft and could not be undone, which, as may be fully collected

nant.

from

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« VorigeDoorgaan »