Page images
PDF
EPUB

in fhewing his goodness towards them that ferve him, than his severity to them that dishonour him, The poor man that served him faithfully, he in love and mercy releaseth the sooner from his afflittions, and conveys him to joy. And the rich man who served not God but his own Belly, he would nor Thew himself in so much hafte to punish eternally. He rather chose to exercise yer more goodnes and long-suffering towards him, that he might find no colour of excuse for his Sin, or for charging God with severity ; who had given him time enough to repent in, and by the poor Mans death a fufficient warning, that it was high time for him to repent.

O! that we would all of us consider this, and especially they who are apt to consider nothing, but how to spend their time most vainly, in leading a riotous and voluptuous Life, and even daily abusing themtelves by excessand intemperance of all sorts. What can they hope for, when a few more of their jovial days are gone? Can they eat and drink themselves young again? Will Death be play'd away, or laugh'd out of

w w .memes young, San countenance, as now they play away the thoughts of dying, and laugh at them who mind them of it? They vainly hope, that their present strong and healthful confitution will always bear the load they lay upon it, and stand it out like Walls of Brass against all the Batteries of their luxury and intemperance: they consider not that their Sin doth weaken them, so long as they find themselves strong enough to commit it. If we could but get so much time from linning, as to think of any thing else, one would think we could hardly miss of some such profitable thoughts as ahele, viz.

1. That

w

Certain uld always darb, have

[ocr errors]

1. That no constitution of Body, how naturally trong soever it be, could posibly hold out against all that violence which is daily done unto : it; did not the same mighty Power which made it, constantly support and uphold it; and how long he will continue to do so, no man knows. We that are continually warring against both bis Commands, and our own Life and Health, have little cause to hope he should always defend us against ourselves. Certain it is, that the mud walls of these earthly Tabernacles our Bodies, will in a short time be dissolved; and if our own lufts pull them not down very speedily, it is only because He that inade them, is pleased, for what end he knows to repair them daily for us.

2. That they who are most confident of their strength, that are mighty to pour in strong drink and to execute all the Commands of all theirLufts with much vigour and alacrity; and say to themfelves, they shall never be moved- Come ye, I will fetch Wine, and we will 'fill our selves with strong Drink, and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. Ifai. lvi. 12. Even these daring men do sometimes find the strongest Constitution broken in a moment, when they least think of it; yea, so suddenly, as to give them no time to think of it ; and one single a&t of intemperance, like the last stroke of an axe, brings down the stout Qak, which would hardly so much as shake, by the many blows had been before given ir. Strang Men,who have held our bravely (as they account it) against their own madness for many years, and found no sensible decay in themselves, have by one days folly belaid in the dust,

[ocr errors]

3. That

[ocr errors]

3. That every efcape we have had from the violent assaults of our own Lusts, should make us more cautious for the time to come; and very jealous that they design us' no good. Every Surfeit or Fever that our intemperance brings upon us, should warn us to stand upon our Guard, and to take heed of another, left it kill us. The burnt Child dreads the Fire, and he that hath made a narrow escape from the effect of his Sin and Folly, is worse than a Child if he be too daring again. If I have risen again after a fall through drunkenness from my Horse, I am more a brute than be, if I venture on another. By this fall I came to the ground, or it may be into a pit, lay astonish'd for a while, or however but little burt; yet I got up, came to my felf, and am well again ; but by the next Fall I may go down to Hell, and feel the torment of it for ever. As ofren as I have escaped out of any Evil orDanger my intemperance had brought me into, so often hath God warned me to leave my Sin, and told me, that his goodness and longSuffering should lead me to repentance, that I may be saved.

4. That if such escapes be no warnings to us, but we will hold on in our intemperate course of Life; tho' we live, and live in Health, and outlive many temperate and sober Persons, yet we live to very ill purpose, and it had been better for us, chat we had died many years ago. By making use of our strength to Sin the more boldly, we make a long Life a long time of fitting ourselves for eternal milery ; and by the bardness of our impenitent Hearts, treasure up unto ourselves wrath'against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Rom. II.

Let us all, rich and poor, fick or well, remember this; That who dies first it is not much material, but who dies best ; and that he is sure to do that lives beft; and he lives best, that lives not after the flesh, fulfilling the Lufts thereof, for be shall die eternally; but he that by the Spirit mortifies the deeds of the body, for be shall live for ever. Rom. viii. Die we all must, and after Death will be the judgment. Hebr. 3. That's it we should labour to be prepared for, and that's to be the business of this present Life. Let us therefore cease, either to plead foolishly against, whilst we think we are pleading for ourselves; saying, many temperate Persons are fickly all their lives and die very young ; and we who are intemperate have lived to old age and in bealth: or secondly to censure and judge rajh ly of those whom God is pleased early to remove out of this World by Death, and in the mean time to continue in an afflicted condition, as if they were wicked Persons; and such for whom God had no kindness : Ori Lastly, to abuse God's patience and long-suffering towards ourselves, and to tempt God, as if we had a mind to try, whether the strength of our natural temper or conftitution, or his patience will hold out the longer. ;

Both these Persons died, as we must all very shortly do. And the poor Man died before the rich Man; yet know not we, which of us, be we poor, or be we rich, shall die first. Happy, however was the poor man, being a pious man too, that he died to soon. No doubt of it but he had St Paul's wish, who desired to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better, for every good man to live here.' Pbil.

Toa poor man, a what is there in Life that is desirable If he be contented to live as long as it pleasech God, it

is

is all that can be expected from him. , And to a pious Man what can be terrible in Death? He knows that Death cannot hinder him from being with his blessed Saviour in everlasting joy: If a pious poor Man be in want both of Wealth and Health in this World, he knows that he shall have all that he stands in need of after Death ; and therefore Death is welcom to him, seeing it comes only to call him from want and need, to plenty and fulnes. Blessed are they that hunger now, for they shall be filled

3. We are now come to the third thing observable in the death of these two Persons: Of dead Lazarus it is said, That he was carried by the Angels into Abraham's bofom. Of the rich Man no more is here said, but that he was buried, or carried (it is not faid by whom) to his Grave. Whither he went after that we shall fee in the next verfe. Now here is something very Remarkable in this Pallage.

Our blessed Saviour telling us whither it was that the Beggar was carried when he died, speaketh of his Soul only, for it was that only which the Angels carried into Abraban's Bofom : and he takes no notice at all of his Body, to tell us what became of that. But speaking of the rich Man, he tells us nothing at all here of his Soul, but speaks of his Body only, for it was the Body only that was buried, whatever became in the mean time of his Soul. And yet, tho his Words can only signifie one part of the Man, he so speaks of that one part, as if it were the whole Man. For tho' the Soul only of the Beggar was carried into Abraham's Bofom, yet he faith, the Beggar was.carried thither, and tho' it was the Body only of the rich Man that was buried, yet he faith the rich

Man

« PreviousContinue »