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And therefore, to pretend to be perfectly easy un-
He who sojourns in a foriegn country, refers what he fees and hears abroad, to the state of things at home; with that view he makes all his reflexions and enquiries; and by that measure he judges of every thing which befalls himself, or o. thers, in his travels. This pattern should be our guide, in our present state of pilgrimage ; wherein we often misinterpret the events of providence, and make a wrong use of them, by attending to the maxims of this life only ; and fo thinking of the world which we are now in, and of the affairs of it, as if both that, and they, and we had no
manner of relation to another: Whereas in truth, what we see is in order only to what we do not fee; and both these states, therefore, must be joined and considered togecher, if we intend to reflect wisely and justly on present appearances; for as « no man knoweth love, or hatred;" so neither can he discern good or evil, purely “ by what is before him,” Ecclef. ix. 1.
We perhaps, when we see vice remarkably prosperous, or virtue in deep distress; when a man, who is, and does good to mankind, happens to be cut off in the vigour of his strength, and in the midst of his innocent enjoyments; whilft “the wicked grow old, yea are mighty in power, and come to their grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in, in his reason;" Job xx. 7. Job v. 26. We, I say in such cases, are ready to cry out of an unequal management and to blame the divine administration ; whereas, if ve considered, that there is another state after this, wherein all these seeming irregularities may be fet right; and that, in the mean time they are of use to distinguish the found from the falfe believer, to exercise the faith of good men, and, by that means, entitle them to a greater reward; This one consideration would make all our murmurs cease, and all those fancied difficulties vanish.
Many other instances, like these, there are, wherein, I say, we shall never be able to give ourselves a satisfactory account of the divine conduct, as it appears to us at present, without drawing our arguments and reflections from a future state, and forming such a scheme of things, as shall at once take in both time and eternity. We may, in the
Feurth place, be said to live like those that place their hope in another world; when we have, in a great measure, conquered our dread of death, and our unreasonable love of life, and are even prepared, and willing to be diffolved, and to be with Chrift, as soon as ever he thinks fit to call us. Till we have wrought ourselves up into this degree of Chriftian indifference, we are in bondage ; we tannot so well be faid to have our hope, as our fear in another life, while we are mighty loth and unwilling to part with this, for the fake of its
Not that it is in the power of human nature without extraordinary degrees of divine grace, to look death in the face, unconcerned ; or to throw off life with the same ease as one doth a garment, upon going to rest : These are heroic heights of virtue ; attained but by few, and matter of strict duty to none. However, it is possible for all of us to lessen our natural fears of this kind, by religious considérations; by a firmi belief of, and a frequent meditation upon those joys that Thall be revealed ; to raise ourselves up into a contempt of present satisfactions, and into a resolution of fubmitting ourselves, if not joyfully, yet meekly and calmly, to the sentence of death, whenever it hall please God to inflict it upon us. This, I say, is a very practicable degree of Christian magnanimity and courage; and it is both the duty and the interest of every good Christian to attain it. Which we shall be the better enabled to do, if, in the
Fifth and last place, We make a proper use of such opportunities as these, and of all other
- seafons of ferious reflexion, which are afforded
us, in order to fix in our minds a lively and vigsorous sease of the things of another world. They läre under the difadvantage of being distant; and,
herefore, operate but faintly upon us. To remedy this inconveniency, we must frequently
tevolve within ourselves their certainty and great 2 importance ;"fo as to bring them near, and inake them fainitiac to us : till they beconie a conítat and ready principle of action, which we can have recourse to upon all occafions.
If we really live under the hope of future happiness, we thall be ape to taste it by way of anticizipation and forethought; an image of it will meer
our minds oíten, and stay for some time there, 'as all pleasing expectations do; and that in pro
portion to the pleasure we take in them. I appeal - to you, if it be not so in your tenporal affairs. - Hith any of you a great interest at stake in a far.
diftant part of the world ? hath he ventured a : good share of his fortune thither? and may reia
fonably hope for a vast and exceeding recura? - His thoughts will be often employed on this suba
ject; and, the nearer the time of his expectation · approacheth, the more he will think of it; for, where his treasure is, 'there will his heart also most certainly be, Luke xii. 34. Now, our fpiritual interests, and the great concernments of a future
Itate would, doubtless, recur as often to our · minds, and affect them as deeply, if we were but as much in earnest in our pursuit of thein : an I therefore, we may take it for granted, that we are not to disposed as we ought to be cowards them, · VOL. II.
if we can forget them for any long time, or reflect on them with indifference and coldness.
That this may not be the case, it will, I say, be neceffary for us to take set times of meditating on what is future, and of making it by that means, as it were present to us; It must be our folemn business and endeavour, at fit seasons, to turn the stream of our thoughts from earthly, towards divine objects; to retire from the hurry and noise of this world, in order to entertain ourfelves with the prospect of another..
This is the proper use we are particularly to make of the present fad folemnity; and thus, therefore, I have endeavoured to employ it. Nor will it be unsuitable to that desigi), if I close these reflections with some account of the perfon deceased, who really lived like one that had his hope in another life ; a life which he hath now entered upon, having exchanged hope for fight, defire for enjoyment.
I know, such accounts are looked upon as a tribute, due to the memory of those only who have moved in a high sphere, and have out-fhone the rest of the world by their rank, as well as their virtues. However, the characters of men placed in lower statiors of life, tho' less usually insisted upon, are yet more useful; as being imitable by greater numbers, and not so liable to be suspected of flattery or design. Several of this auditory were, perhaps, entire strangers to the person, whofe death we now lament; and the greatest part of you, who were not, had, for that reason, fo juft an esteem of him, that, it will not be unwelcome to you, I presume, to be put in mind of