Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

bard to get away out of this world. He hath
ever been affranger to all the rich Mans Foys, and
hath found little else but ill usage, and a very
course entertainment in this Life, and therefore
what a joyful hour must that be to him, wherein
Death comes to call him home to his Fathers
House, there to feast himself with Angels, and to
wear in the Kingdom of God a glorious Crown of
Righteousness ? Let all that are poortake heed how
they lose this great advantage,' by living wicked-
ly, by repining at their poor condition, by en-
vying the rich and prosperous Sinner, or by impa-
tiently longing to be in his place.

Lastly, kt us all, whatever our present condi.
cion in this World be, remember that we are in
a condition wherein we cannot be long. And
therefore let it be our great care, that our beba-
viour be always such, so long as we live here,
that our condition may not be worse, but better
for our dying. Let us use all diligence, to or-
der all things so, that whensoever we shall die,
we may die comfortably well satisfied with Life, and
not afraid of Death; having a well grounded
bope, that we shall not die eternally.

2. A Second thing which we may observe in the Death of these two Persons is this. It so came to pass, it being thus ordered by the Divine Providence, that Lazarus the Beggar died first, and the Rich Man afterward, having some time, it is not faid how long, survived the other.

Indeed it cannot seem ftrange at all, That a poor diseased Beggar, that wanted all the comforts of Life, having neither Salves for his Sores, nor wholesom Food for his nourishment, nor Cloaths

to keep him warm, should die before a rich Gentleman that had all things needful to Life in great abundance; and how little foever he fet by 0thers, would be sure to make much of himself and want nothing that he thought Good for him. However, it doth not always thus come to pass; Nay, very often we see it otherwise. Many a poor Man, that hath nothing at all of his own to Live on, but is fed all his days at other Men's doors, yet liveth to a very great Age; and as many rich Men, who fare sumptuously every day as long as they live, die in their youth, and just in the height of all their glory. There are but few, whose poverty occasioneth their early dying; for one such, there is an hundred whose abundance and plenty kills them. Few in any Age can be observed to die of hunger and makedness; but many in all Ages may be found dying of Luxury and Intemperance.The poor Man indeed wants the many belps and means of preserving Life and Wealth, which the rich Man hah; but the rich Gentleman, how good and wife foever he would be thought, often wants as much, both wisdom and grace, to use those means to his own gaod. Tho the poor Man be in more Wanr than the rich, yet stands he for the mot part less in need of what he wants; he can live without them, and it may be lives the longer because he wants them. If he be pious as well as poor, he never wants Gods blessing, and the blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no forrow with it. Prov. 10. 22. The poor Man's poverty by God's blessing is made his Physick; and those Sores, which fed and inflamed by the rich Mans intemperance, would quickly have become intollerably painful to his tenderness and de

poor Man

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

licacy and mortal too to his pampered Body, are not
only endured with much patience by the
of a more hardned Temper, but serve to prolong
Life, and to prevent greater pains by casting
forth the remains of his former Sweat and Indu.

If any one shall ask then, why God should deal thus severely with a good and pious Man, that loves and serves him, as to let him live all his days in a calamitous condition, and after that inflict upon him the punishment of Sin, which is Death ; letting the rich Glutton all this while, that careth neither for God nor Man, shine in gorgeous apparel, and fare fumptuously every day, and live and laugh to see the poor Man die at his Gate, and be made, it may be, meat for his Dogs for want of a few of those Crumbs which they fed upon ? This question will, I hope, be fully answered in this Discourse anon. Now I shall only say, itought nor to seem strange, That God should exercise any of those who love him, and whom he boves, with divers afflictions; which are to all such fatherly chastisements; and as we are taught largely (Heb. 12.) demonstrations of his love and their vertue at once. He knows the temper of all his Children, and keeps every one of them under that kind of Discipline which is most proper for him, and will best fit him for the eternal inheritance, which he hath provided for him. The grace which he hath bestowed upon them, he thus magnifies in the eye of the World, and lets it see how excellent a thing that is, whereby weak Men are able to defie and conquer it, whether it flatter them or frown upon them. Hereby he prepares them for eternal Glory, and every degree of patience and submissiveness in suffer

E 3


ing, assures them, through his mercy and gracious promise ; of a proportionable augmentation of their future bleiledness; and when Death comes, tho' it be a consequent of Sin, yet is it no punishment to them, to whom it can do no more hurt, than to put a desired end to all their Sips and Troubles at once, and to translate them into that blessed State, which they have always longed for, and for which God hath been by their efflictions fitting them. Death is the lot of all Mankind, good and bad, since the fall of Adam,and nade by the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, unto all good men, a short and no very uneasy passage into a Life, infinitely better than the most comfortable Life that can be lived in this world. And therefore in this, that the Beggar died before the Rich Man, we may learn thus much.

1. That the more calamitous ic pleaseth God to make the Life of good Men in this World, so much the shorter heis often pleased to make it also. He baftens their death, left their Life hould grow tedious, and the long continuance of their efflictions should tire out their patience, - He will not suffer them to live without affliction, because he fees it good for them to be affli&ted; and he puts a speedy end to their Afictions by Death, because he will not have them tempted above ebat which they are able to bear, but will with the temptation make them a way to escape, tho it be by Death It is a mercy and great favour to make a calamitous Life short also; and an inestimable favour it is, thar this light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory

2. That shortness of Life is no argument to prove one less beloved of God, than another is


who survives him, and lives in plenty after he is dead in poverty. God very often haftens good Men out of the World, to prevent their being corrupted by it, whilft he suffers many, who every day do more than enough to kill themselves, to live long and healthfully in it. It is well known to all, that Intemperance, and especially in Eating and Drinking is a cause of many foul, painful and dangerous Diseases, and is naturally apt to shorten Mens Lives. And yet it pleaseth God by his over-ruling Providence very often,so to order it, that intemperate Men live longer, and in bet. ter Health, than they who most strictly observe the Rules of temperance and sobriety. And this unthinking Men are ready enough to plead for themselves, and to encourage themselves by it to hold on in their debaucheries; little considering, what will be the end of all at last, or why God suffers them to go on so long in their Sin, and defends their life against themselves, and all their endeavours to destroy it. None that knows whar God is, can doube of it, but that he is much better pleased with them that love and serve him, than with them that dishonour him by disobeying him, and that he delights more in doing them good, than in seeing them miserable. When therefore he calleth bastily away by Death them that love him, leaving them behind that love him not; all that can be concluded hence is this, that to die foon is no hurt to the good man, and to live longer doth the wicked man no good. It is good for the good man to die fooner, cho the wicked man might in Justice be taken away before bim; and whenever he dies his Death will do him no good, and so much the leß, the longer he is suffered to live. God is more forward

Ę 4


« PreviousContinue »