folded ; that the judgment will goods and blessings of the presit, the books be opened ; they sent state ; some of which are will then learn from Him, at the natural supports of life, whose presence Sinai quaked, and the things to which many that unnecessary ignorance can- sacrifice their lives. Here parnot apologize for sin ; but that ticularly, because he has called and they (1.) Worldly riches may be refused, has stretched out his comprehended in the phrase, our hand, and they have not regar-life in this world. These are the ded, but have set at nought his darling pursuit of the men of this counsel, and refused his reproof, world. In obtaining those how he now will laugh at their ca- many have sacrificed their ease, lamity and mock when their fear peace, and comfort, if not their cometh. To avoid the amazing lives? terror of this dreadful scene, let (2.) Worldly honor may be them flee to the strong hold of comprehended in the life in this safety ; let them diligently world. search the scriptures, and see if In the hearts of multitudes, these things are not so ; let them honor has been deified, and is cry after knowledge, and lift up it not too much caressed by a their voice for understanding, great part of mankind ? With seeking for her as for silver, and some is not that honor that comsearching for her as for hidden eth from man, their very life? treasures. Then shall they un-Thus it was with Haman : derstand the fear of the Lord, when the king smiled, and adand find the knowledge of God. vanced him to any dignity, he RURICOLA. was exalted beyond expression ;

and how highly did he resent it, Thoughts on John xii. 25, last that Mordecai the Jew would clause.

not rise before him, and do him

honor ? Are there not many, « And he that hateth his life in the feelings of whose hearts are this world shall keep it unto

consentaneous to his ? Now life eternal."

this worldly honor, which is so TWO questions will here be much idolized, is one thing inconsidered, viz.

cluded in the life in this world. 1. What may be understood (3.) By this phrase may also by a person's life in this world ? be signified sensual and sinful

II. What is that hatred of this pleasures. Many, like the beasts life which will be attended with of the field, seem to be governlife eternal ?

ed by their appetites rather than 1. The life in this world may by reason and religion. This include the animal or natural life is a life of sense; and therelife-the union of soul and body. fore sensitive enjoyments may When the soul and body are be comprised in our life in this separated, this union is dissolved, world. and the body that was animated May not all these things be by the soul, is reduced to its first included in a person's life in this principles.

world? Let us now pay so 2. By this life all worldly en attention to the, joyments may be intended the II. And more important quesVOL. VI. NO. 2.



tion viz. What is that hatred of them; i. e. disesteem them, this life which will be attended when compared with spiritual with life eternal ?

blessings. In this sense, by the 1. Negatively, it is not an ab- laws of Christ, we are obliged solute hatred, that is here in- to hate our friends and near retended ; for a real hatred of life, latives ; not absolutely, but comand its comforts, would be con- paratively, Luke xiv. 26. Every trary to right reason and the good man loves his relatives, as laws of God; and altogether in-in duty he is bound; and yet must, consistent with the duties we and will hate them, in a sense, owe ourselves. Our Saviour i. e. love them less than Christ; himself hath set us an example as Leah is said to be hated, beof love of life : when he was in cause Rachel was loved better. danger in one place, he would 3. By hating the things of this depart to another. So he coun- life, is here meant, the esteemselled his disciples, when they ing them insufficient to make were persecuted in one city, to us happy. How many place flee to another. It is said, he their chief happiness in worldly who will love life, and see good enjoyments ? Who will show days, let him refrain his tongue us any worldly good ? is the from evil. Life is a great language of their hearts : but blessing; and to be cut off in such are so far from hating their the midst of days, is threatened lives, in the sense of this pasas the proper punishment of the sage, that they love life and the wicked. llence it appears, that things of it, to that degree, as it is not an absolute hatred of to endanger their eternal life. life that is here intended. Nor, But those who esteem all things is it an absolute hatred of the under the sun insufficient to comforts of this life; because, make them happy, or satisfy these are divine blessings, which their souls, have a kind of hawe ought not to liate and des- tred of life in comparison with pise ; but for which we should those who esteem sublunary give God thanks.

things sufficient to make them Indeed, worldly honor is but happy, or place their affections an emply thing, and not worthy on these things." an immoderate strisc to obtain : 4. To hate this life, so as to Yet it is God who exalts to hon-obtain salvation is, cheerfully or, and men are obligated to im- to part with it, when evidentprove an eminent station to his ly called thereto, for the life of glory. Hence it is easily seen, the soul. He who so hates the that it is not an absolute hatred life of the body, as to venture that, that this phrase imports. for the securing the life of the

2. This hatred is to be under- soul, from a principle of love to stood in a comparative view. We God, shall find both, to unspeakare to hate this life in compari- able advantage, in the world to son with the love and concern with which we should exer- We cannot be Christ's disci. cise for a better. Though ab- ples, unless we love him better solute hatred of life, and the than our own lives-unless we things of it, be unwarrantable, had rather suffer the most cruel yet we may comparatively hate bondage, nay, death itself, than


to desert Christ, and his sacred | brethren is cast down, which actruths.

cused them before our God day This trial takes place in times and night. And they overcame of persecution in the cause of him by the blood of the Lamb, God, and for righteousness'sake. and by the word of their testiWhen men's lives are threaten- mony, and they loved not their ed, if they will not deny Christ, lives unto the death.Such a they should hate life, by willing. hatred of life as has been brieily ly laying it down as a sacrifice pointed out, is accompaniel to the honor of their divine Lord with eternal life : for he who and Master. Thus did many of loves and desires Christ more the primitive Christians they than every thing, and is willing loved not their lives to the death. to give up every thing for him But,

when called to it, shall enjoy 5. This hatred of life includes him against all opposition from a cheerful parting with every earth and hell. Those who thing that comes in competition honor Christ with their lives, or with the service and favor of estates, or any way suffer in his Christ. All worldly things and cause, from attachment to him, enjoyments which are incompat- he will honor with a crown of ible with the favorand enjoyment righteousness. It is impossible of Christ, are so hated by the that Christ should hate or fortrue Christian, that they appear sake those, who thus hate life for as nothing. Those who are the his sake. His own unfailing true followers of the Lamb, when promise is, Be thou faithful unto their graces are in due exercise, death, and I will give thee a are willing, according to divine crown of life. Every one who requirement, to part with every hath forsaken houses, or breththing that stands in competition ren, or sisters, or father, or mowith the honor and service of ther, or wife, or children, or their dear Lord, being willing to lands, for my name's sake, shall spend and be spent for the glory receive a hundred fold, and shall of God and the interest of Christ's inherit everlusting life. cause and kingdom. Such a I will close with a few reflechatred the great apostle had, and tions. glorified Christ by it, Acts xx. 1. To overrate this life, and 24. But none of these things the things of it, is very prejudimove me, neither count I my cial to the welfare of the soul. life dear unto myself, so that I How many have perished at this might finish my course with joy, door! Says one, many lose their and the ministry which I have re- lives by overloving them. He ceired of the Lord Jesus, to testi- who is so much in love with the fy the gospel of the grace of God. life of the body, and the ornaAlso chapter xxi. verse 13. ments and delights of it, as, for Then Paul answered, what mean fear of exposing thein, to deye to weep, and to break my ny Christ, he shall lose it; i. e'. heart ? For I am ready, not to lose a real happiness in the other be bound only, but also to die at world, while he thinks to secure Jerusalem for the name of the an imaginaryone in this. Sin for Lord Jesus. So alco Revelation skin a man may give for his life, s. 11, “For tlcuccucer of our but he who gives his soul, his

God, his heaven for it, buys is the great design of Christ's life too dear, and is guilty of the religion, to wean us from this same folly, as he who sold a birth. world, by setting before us a right for a mess of pottage. better and more enduring sub

2. Hence, it is a dark symp-stance. tom, when persons prefer the In a word, let us make it apconcerns of this life, to those of parent, that we cordially ema future. Do not some persons, brace Christ, and espouse his (if we may judge from appear- cause and interest by faithfully ances) consider that time to be and constantly serving him, and lost, which is not spent in an in suffering for him, if called to attention to worldly matters ? it in divine Providence. And As though we were sent into for our animation and comfort the world, only to serve our bo- we may consider, that if we sufdies, and not God and our souls. fer, we shall reign with him. Let it be for a lamentation ! Oh, tell it not in Gath! that there are so many, even professors of religion, whose seats are A Letter to a Son at Soften empty in the house of God on the Lord's day, and other MY DEAR SON, seasons of worship. Is this to

OU know, that I believe in hate this life in a scripture sense? the Christian Is it not rather an expression of have carefully instructed you in hatred of eternal life?

its doctrines and duties. You A proper regard for heaven- have lately come to an age, to ly and eternal things will abun act for yourself; and in all dantly support us under the tri- earthly things, you are settled to als of this life, and carry us my mind. Your character is above the fears of death; it will untarnished, your circumstances enable us cheerfully to endure easy, and your employment and trials, which, in a short time, connections respectable. Your will issue in eternal life ; and moral character has bcen fair, to pass through the dark valley and I hear with pleasure, that which will introduce us to mar- since you have settled at S, vellous light, and unutterable and you are esteemed honest, huinconceivable joys.

mane, and serious; and that you Are these things so ? Then regularly attend the public and let us not love the world and its private worship of God. I wish enjoyments immoderately. Let I had equal evidence, that you us not so love our animal life, as are acquainted with experimentto indulge our carnal appetites, al religion, and live by faith on and make provision for the flesh, the Son of God. But alas! I to fulfil the lusts thereof.

fear it is otherwise. My concern Let us, instead of looking at for your welfare has not diminthe things which are seen and ished since you left me, and I temporal, look at those which am persuaded, you will allow are unseen and eternal. Let us me to continue my affectionate prefer the favor of God and an admonitions. interest in Christ, to our life in I consider you as peculiarly This world ; remembering that it I exposed to fall into a dangerous


error. Your inoffensive charac- with an enquiry which respectter may become a temptation, ed his eternal welfare. • Good and lead you to neglect Christ, Master, what good thing shall and depend on yourself for eter- I do that I may, inherit eternal nal life. I know very well, that life ?' Christ, in his answer, intiit will be hard, and contrary to mated to him his error, by checkthe pride of your heart, with ing him for calling any one good, your applauded morals, to cast whom he did not acknowledge yourself as a poor, vile, guilty, to be God. He in effect told hell-deserving wretch, upon the him, that there was no mere mere mercy of God in Christ. man on earth, that could be acMy fears for you are the greater, counted good, in the sight of the because I hear, that there are divine law, so that on this ground, several respectable and influen- they might be entitled to inherit tial men, in the town where you eternal life. Why callest thou live, of considerable abilities, me good ? there is none good who avow, and warmly advocate but one, that is God.' But as he the sentiment, that. If men are saw this did not satisfy him, that upright in their dealings with all, he might offer him further conand regular andinoffensive in their viction, he bade him, ' keep the outward morality, they will in- commandments;' and particularherit eternal life, and have no ly mentioned the commands of reason to be anxious concerning the second table. The young the events of another world.My man, like his fathers, the Phariaffection has prompted me to sees, considered these as only of write this letter, with a design external obligation, and replied to guard you against this dan- with a modest simplicity, All gerous error, by candid and these have I kept from my youth scriptural remarks.

up. What lack I yet? Is any I hope it will have no weight thing further required, that I with you, that this has been the may inherit eternal life?' Thus avowed opinion of the heathen it seems, he was fully in sentiphilosophers, and of the Phari-ment with some of your neighsees among the Jews, as it has bors, and may be considered as been also of infidels of the last one of the most amiable supportand present age. I think that ers of this opinion. But when this consideration will incline you read what is further recordyou to be on your guard against ed of him, I think his opinion it, and examine it well, and com- can have but little weight with pare it with the scriptures, before you. But that which especially you think of receiving or ap- alarms my apprehensions for proving it. This false opinion your safety, is this, the sentiwas never expressed in a more ment flatters the pride and indeengaging manner, than by a pendent spirit of the human young ruler of the Jews, to our heart, which you doubtless posSaviour. By his address to Christ, sess in common with the rest of .

to have possessed mankind. I fear this pride will amiable and obliging manners. stand in the room of a thousand He was serious and thoughtful, arguments, to persuade you

that and applied to Christ on no the sentiment is true. I will ofearthly, or trivial subject, but fer you a few considerations,

he seems

« VorigeDoorgaan »