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'Tis God's Will, and not our own, we fhould defire to be done, according to the Prayer our Saviour has taught us. What prepofterous Perverseness is it to pray the Will of God may be done, and yet not refign to His Orders, when He calls us out of the World! Like Refractory Slaves we ftruggle and hang back, difrelish the Summons, and must be dragg'd to our Mafter: For 'tis Neceffity, not Choice, that brings us before Him: And yet we expect the Honour of the Place, tho? we come never fo unwillingly Thither. To what purpose do we pray that God would hasten His Kingdom, if this World has feiz'd our Fancy? If we had rather live within the Devil's Jurifdiction, than reign with Christ?
And that the Mercy of fuch a Call, and the Gracioufnefs of Providence, may be further difcover'd, I'll relate you a remarkable Inftance. A Reverend Brother of my Order, worn up with Age and Infirmities, and juft within the fight of Death, pray'd for a Refpite: Upon this, a Young Perfon, of Majeftick Air, and a Stature above mortal Men, appear'd; and in a reprimanding unpleas'd manner told him, Tou are afraid of suffering, and yet loath to retire, what can I do with you? The Reproof of this illuftrious
ftrious Vifion was given him to Report and more for our fakes, than his own: For he was, as it were, upon the Last Inch, and stepping into Eternity. And to go further than a fingle Relation, how often has it been reveal'd to me (the Least and Loweft of God's Servants) to give publick and frequent warning, not to lament and grow inconfolable, at the parting with our Chriftian Friends, fince we are affur'd they are not loft, but sent off; they are only embark'd for the fame Voyage, a little before us. Thus we fhou'd wish to rejoin them, but not mourn their Abfence: By Exceffes of this kind we run into plain Inconsistency, and lye expos'd to the Heathen's Reproof. We fay our Brethren are gone to God, and dye only in one Place to live in a Better: And yet we regret their leaving us, as if they were perfectly undone, or dropt into nothing. Is not this an Argument of a Slender Faith? Does not our Practice differve our Preaching? Don't we talk one thing and think another? This is the way to fink the Credit of our Religion, and make Infidels conclude our fine Sentences are but Pretence, and our Hopes only Vifionary and Romantick. To put up high Claims, and manage as if we renounc'd
them; to be brave in Difcourfe, and little in Action, fignifies nothing: We fhou'd remember how much the Apoftle disapproves this Behaviour; I would not, fays he, have you ignorant, Brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye forrow not, even as others which have no Hope. For if we believe that Jefus dy'd and rofe again, even fo them also which fleep in Jefus, will God bring with him. Has not our Saviour affur'd us of His Goodness, John xi. and Omnipotency; I am, fays He, the Refurrection and the Life: He that believes in Me, tho' he were dead, yet fhall he live: And whofoever lives and believes in Me, fball never dye. If we believe in Christ, let us take His Word, and rely on His Promife, and go to Him with Alacrity and Pleafure. To dye, in plain Language, is but to grow immortal: And befides, we can't have Both Worlds together: We must quit the one before we can enjoy the other. In fhort, our Diffolution removes us to Eternity, and there's more of Journey than Death, in the Pallage.
Who would not make hafte to a Nobler Condition? Who would not be glad to be transform'd to a Divine Relemblance, and be happy and great, as foon as 'tis poffible? Our Converfation, fays S. Paul, is in Heaven, from whence also we
look for the Lord -Jefus Chrift, Who fball change our vile Body, that it may be fafbion'd like unto His Glorious Body. And our Saviour has promis'd no lefs when He made this Prayer to God the Father for us: Father, I will that they whom Thou hast John xvii. given Me, be with me where I am, that they may behold the Glory which Thou hast given. The. And when a Christian is call'd into a Station of Honour, to the Glories of the Kingdom of Heaven, 'tis not decent to lament and carry Signs of Sorrow along with him: It rather becomes him to reft firmly on the Promises of God, to meet Death with Refolution, and prefs forward to fo great an Advancement. We may learn from the Holy Scripture that Enoch was tranflated because he pleas'd God. To be remov'd from an Infectious World was the Reward of pleafing God. And as the Wisdom of Solomon expreffes it, The Righteous was speedily ta ken away, lest Wickedness fhould alter his Understanding. Thus the devout Soul in the Pfalmift fhews an ardent Defire to be admitted into the Prefence: How amia- Pl.lxxxiv. ble are Thy Tabernacles, O Lord of Hofts! My Soul has a defire and longing to enter into the Courts of the Lord. When the World careffes a Man, flatters his Follies, and feeds his Senfuality, 'tis the lefs wonder
to find him loath to leave it: But for a Chriftian who receives nothing but rough Ufage, why should he be fond of staying where he is hated, and abus'd? Why should he not rather chufe to go to his Redeemer That loves him? And if the World fhould fmile and grow friendly, 'tis dangerous to return the Af fection. Saint John gives a loud warning for fear we fhould be furpriz'd with Pleasure, and entangled in the Animal John ii. Life: Love not the World, neither the things that are in the World; if any Man loves the World, the Love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the World, the Lust of the Flesh, the Luft of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life, is not of the Father, but is of the World; and the World paffeth away, and the Lusts thereof, but he that does the Will of God abideth for ever.
My beloved Brethren, let us live by the Apostle's Exhortation: Let us keep our Inclinations difengaged, fhew our Faith by our Works, exert with Refolution, and refign to the Divine Pleasure. Let us look Death in the Face without Difmay, and think only on the confequent Immortality. Let us not be overfet with Grief for the Lofs of our Friends; and when our own Day comes, let us welcome the Notice, and