« VorigeDoorgaan »
carry away in his hand. This is well said by Solomon, to express his Abhorrence of those miserable and narrow-minded men, to whom God hath given Plenty, but who have not the heart to use or to do good with it, either to himself or others. In my next discourse we will come to arguments of an Evangelic Nature, opening our hearts to compassion, by carrying us forward to its reward in Heaven“Come ye Blessed of my Father,” &c.
And may we all so learn to open our bowels of compassion in this life, that we receive the above joy. ful sentence in the next!
FIRST PREACHED DECEMBER 29, 1793.
1 THESS. Chap. IV. Ver. 13-18. But I would not have you ignorant, Brethren, concerning them
which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no Hope.-For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again; even so, them also, which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him, &c.
my last Sunday's discourse*, from this luminous text, following our Apostle in his beautiful method of argument, through the Vale of the Shadow of Death-in order to allay its Terrors, dis. pel its Gloom, and illuminate our Passage to the brighter regions of another world; I found it neces. sary to address those (for such there are) whose at. tachment is so strong to their Good Things on earth, that they would be content with their portion here below forever; and either doubt the certainty of another world, or have not a full assurance, through Faith in the Gospel, of bettering their condition when their great and unavoidable change comes.
Sermon VII, antea.
St. Paul, in various passages, hath in general de. clared, “ that the Good Things of this world, are not event worthy to be compared with that eternal weight of Glory and Happiness, which God hath prepared in another world, for those that love Him, and long for the appearance of their Redeemer and Judge at the last day.” But this declaration is made to be. lievers; to those, who through the Faith of Jesus, have exalted their views to another world, and have Weighed in the balance the Good Things of this life, which are perishable, and the Joys of another, which are eternal!
The Good and Evil Things of this life, its fleeting Joys and unavoidable Miseries, compared with each other, and weighed in the scales of Reason, Experience, Wisdom and Philosophy, could not be interwoven with the arguments of St. Paul, which are evangelical; tending to shew “ That supposing all the happiness our present mortal condition can bear; could be enjoyed, pure and without alloy; to the end of our short span; yet it is not the Happiness of immortal Beings, made in the Image of God, and capable of enjoying, through the atonement of a Redeemer, more than the Primeval Bliss of Paradise, and created to aspire after the happiness of Angels, by everlasting Approaches towards the Joy of God himself!
?. I might have enlarged upon this subject, namely, the hopes of a Resurrection of the Body from the Grave, and the anticipation of a re-union of the Soul and Body after death in a future more glorious and immortal State, from the writings of the wise men and
philosophers, even of the nations, who knew not the True God; and who made only random guesses concerning a world to come, awfully impressed with the certainty of their leaving this world, and something within them auguring an Hereafter, startling and convulsing their whole frame at the dreary thought of Annihilation and Non-entity! This is apparent from the Works and Remains of the Sages and Philosophers of all the oriental nations. The Greeks and Romans had the same notions, and with Heraclitus augured as follows:-“ My Soul seems to vaticinate and presage its approaching dismission from its
pre. sent prison; and looking out, as it were, through the cracks and cranies of this Body, to remember its native regions, from whence descending, it was clothed upon with grosser materials, fitting its mundane state.” Such were the notions of Pythagoras, such those of Plato, whose philosophy is only an emanation from the Pythagorean School, where it is known he. studied; and also enriched himself with the senti. ments and philosophy of the Sages of Egypt, the Magi of Persia, and the Indian Cymnosophists.
As to the Greeks and Romans, Tully alone, (who, had all the learning of all the Philosophers and Poets, and Wise men of both nations) shall speak their sentiments and prasages of another world, where the Soul is to be re-united to its former Body, and which includes their belief of a Resurrection of the Body, after death!
His Cato Major (sive Liber de Senectute) is a treasure of Learning, written in the Dialogue manner, and has given him an opportunity of introduc
ing the sentiments of most of the Great Men of Greek and Roman name. Among these are to be found Hesiod, Homer, Sophocles, Simonides, Stesichorus, Isocritus, and those whom he calls, Pbilosophorum Principes, the Princes or Chiefs of Philo. sophers; namely–Pythagoras, Democritus, Plato, Xenocrates, Zeno, Cleanthes, Diogenes the Stoic, &c.—Men whose Usefulness, Old Age, he says, might check, but could not destroy, (non coegit in suis stue diis obmutescere Senectus;) and the like is to be un. derstood of those whose names follow; which I have taken nearly as Cicero introduces them to illustrate his subject, without strict regard to Chronological Order; viz._" Titus Pomponius Atticus, Laelius & Scipio, Caius Salinator, Spurius Albinus, Cato senior, Qintus Maximus, Leontinus Gorgias, Ennius, T. Flamininus, Q. Maximus, L. Paulus, the Fabriccii, Currii, Coruncanii; App. Claudius, Lysima. chus, Themistocles, Aristides, Oedipus Coloneus, Sex. Aelius, P. Crassus, Cyrus in Xenophon, L. Metellus, Nestor, Sophocles, Laertes; to whom he adds some of the great men who delighted in Agriculture, and after their conquests and triumphs, retired to devote their Old Age to the exercises of a country life; as Marcus Curius,Lucius QUINTIUSCINCINNATUS, Marcus Valerius Corvus, &c. of all whom, and sundry others, Cicero gives the Notabilia of their life and character; to which some reference will be had in a note to be hereunto annexed. But what Xenophon has put into the mouth of Cyrus Major, in an address to his children near the hour of his death; and the conclusion of the divine Cicero himself, to this book on