Page images
[ocr errors]

It is most true indeed, that Death will shortly take all away, or rather, take us away from all that we enjoy in this world. And then what's become of all in the World, which we so much admired and doted on? Yea, what's become of that pleasure and delight which we have taken in Riches, or in any thing else that the World afforded us, and what good have we done our selves by feasting on them? If the Rich must die as well as the poor, and so much the sooner ordinarily, the richer they are, their Riches tempting and assisting them many ways to shorten their own Lives; and if nothing of all which we have had will remain to us when we are dead, no not so much as a pleasing Sense of our past Enjojments; then let this teach us.

First, not to weary our felves in seeking and scraping up Ricbes, as if we should never die, but live here for ever to enjoy them. How foolish a thing is it to make so much ado about a thing that is of so short continuance, and of no longer uje to us than Riches will be? We must all die within a few Years, what then should we do with Goods laid up for many years? This Night our Souls may be called away out of our Bodies, and then whose shall these things be which we have been all our Life time providing? Yea, fo bufy are we in providing for we know not wkom, that we our felves cannot get time to live; we are onely providing for Life, «ill it be at an end, and all our Provision is to no purpofe. Shall we live again after Death, or not? If not, 'tis certain we can enjoy nothing of all that we have so long labour'd for: If we shall, yet the Life we must then live, will be such, as will have no need, neither can make any use of all the Stores we have laid in.

ing: Seed time, aequiding Bags pour Selves The King

If we shall live no more,one wou'd think we shou'd be concern'd to make this short Life as pleasant and sweet to us as we can, seeing we cannot lengthen it as we would, and not imbitter it, and render it worse than death to us iby anxioas cares, and toilfom drudgings. And if we shall live again, certainly we are very Fools, if we concern not our felves as much for that future as for this prefent Life; especially seeing that will be everlasting, and this but for a moment; and yet this but the Seed time, aed that the Harvest. Why are we not then providing Bags which wax not old ? Why are we not laying up for our selves Treasures in Heaven? Why are we not seeking first the Kingdom of God, and his Righteousness? This, if we did, and made it, as we ought, the principal care and business of this present Life, we might labour with ease, and rejoice in our Labours for the Things of this World, and whilst our Hands are at their necessary and bonest Work, we might fet our Hearts at reft; not doubting, but all these Things we labour for, And our Heavenly Father knows that we ft and in need of, shall be added unto us, in such a measure, as is most expedient for uś. A very little is enough for a very short Life; and a seasona able preparation for that other Life, which will need none of these things will make that little very comfortable.

Secondly, Let us wisely busband thar stock of Wealth, which God hath bestow'd upon us, whe-, ther it be more or less, in this Life; fo as that if it be possible we may reap some benefit by it in the Life to come. We must quickly die, how richi foever we be; and tho' when we live again, these Things we now have, shall be no more, any way serviceable to us; yet the use we now


we might for

bour for, doubting,

inake of them will. We shall refle&t upon it with joy and comfort, and receive an ample Reward for it. Let us now make our felves Friends of this unrighteous or deceitful Mammon, that when we fail, and can live no longer in this transitory World, they may receive us into everlasting Habitations. Feed the Hungry, cloath the Naked, relieve the Poor ; let all we have be fcasonably laid out, and disposed of wisely in works of necessity, piety and charity; and hereby we shall hoard up abundance, and our Wealth will so encrease upon us, that death itself cannot consume ir, but we shall continue rich to all eternity. Is nor this a better way of improving our Wealth to our own advantage, than to feed and cram our

Bodies to Death with it, and by satisfying our · Lusts, to prepare fuel for Hell-fire with it, or to lay it up for the rust or the moth to eat, or for Thieves to steal, or a prodigal Son to waste, and destroy himself with it ?

Thirdly, Let us therefore so forecast and order all our affairs in time, that Death, how soon foever it comes, may not be able ro rob us of any thing, or so much as to affright us. That tho we must of necessity leave all our wealth behind us, yet we can lose nothing by dying. Tho' we have Wealth, let us be sure not to lovenLet us be sure to love God, our own Souls, and our Neighbours, our Religion, and our Country ; and let every one of these have a full share of whatever we have ; and then we are sure, that all we have is safe. Let us therefore make baste, and thus dispose of all our riches, and be sure to banish them quite from our Hearts before Deatb furprize us. How terrible else will Death appear to us, and what mischief will it do us, when it will carry


we must of nec ale nothing by dytuvat Let us

away all, and yet cannot come by it without breaking our Hearts to get it. O Death, how bitter is the remembrance of thre to a Man, that liveth at rejt in his possessions, unto the man that hath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things? ECclus. xli. 7. Our Chests, our Tables, our rich Apparel, stately House, and brave and glistering Furniture and whatever we mot dearly loved we must see no more ; our tender and delicate Bodies must be fed upon by Worms, and our famished Sculs go to make the Devils merry, if they can be fo with their torments. Is it not our wisdom to prevent all this now we may by a right disposing of all our Wealth, as God directs us ? Let us then empty our Hearts of thein, how full soever be our Chests or our Purses : Yea, let us make haft to empty these too, and put all our Treasure into safe kands : for shortly we must die, whatever arts and shifts we now use to keep off Death, or to get rid of The troublesome thoughts of it. We have no way to secure ourselves from being hurt by it, but by dying to our Wealth beforehand, and making Piety and Charity, and the necessities of Nature, and of our Relations, our Executors of all.

2. Let the Poor man also consider that he must die. Death pitieth the Poor no more than it fear. eth the richi As it cannot be bribed by the one, fo neither can it be intreated by the other. The Beggars mournful tone and lamentable note, the showing of his rags or his cores, can here move no more to forbearance, than they could do the rich and proud churi to compassion. Let the Poor consider this well, and make a right use of it.

First, Let us, if we be Poor in this Worlds goods, labour to be rich in Grace and Goodness. This, and this alone can arm either the rich or poor against



halt wants are

of it

the sting of Death. The sting of Death is fin, i Cor. xv. Let nor Sin have dominion over us, let it not reign in our Bodies, so that we obey it in the Lusts thereof; and Death brings nothing along with it, wherewith it can burt us. Let us therefore make hast thus to disarm Death, by repenting of all our Sins, and doing good as long as we Live; and live we never so poorly now, we shall be sure after Death to live gloriously for ever.

Secondly, if we be poor and lame, fore or sickly, let us comfort ourselves with this, that we shall not be long so, for we must soortly die ; and therefore none of the evils which we now endure, can last any long time. Let us not, whatever else we want, want patience coo; and the rather because we are sure we shall but a very little while stand in need of it, and yet wit hout it this little while will seem very long to us. This advantage we have of the rich, that Death, how foon foever it comes, can deprive us of nothing but a miserable Life, and that's a thing no man can be very fond of. As Death puts an end to all the rich Mans 7oys ; so doth it also put an end to all the poor Mans Troubles and Sorrows, and can it be thought a killing thing to part with these? O Death, acceptable is thy Sentence unto the needy, and unto him whore strength faileth, that is now in the last Age, and is vexed with all things. Ecclus. xli. 2. O how sweetly may a pious poor Man, whose only care it has been to serve God, and whose only comfort to trust in bin, depart out of this tiresome Life, to receive his reward in Life Everlasting ? He never tasted any thing in this World, wherein he could find any great sweetness or pleasure ; he hath no worldly delight or luft clinging to him, and holding him faft ; so that he needs Aruggle


« PreviousContinue »