Page images

strain their Inclinations, deny their Appetites, and even cut off their RightHand, and pluck out their Right-Eye, if they become the Occafions of Sin, and cast them from us: It being infinitely better for us, to enter into Life maim'd and blind, than having two Hands or 1 two Eyes to be caft into Hell-fire.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

2. Since the Holy Scriptures affure us, That there will be a Reftitution of our loft Parts, a Renovation of our corrupted and putrify'd Bodies: That they fhall not lie for ever under the Power of Death, but be reftor'd to the Saints all fair, and beautiful, and glorious: Why should we be unwilling to part with them for a while? Nay, why to escape a temporary Imprisonment or Death, fhould we venture them upon the Precipice of Everlasting Ruin? Our Great Mafter graciously vouchfafes us much wifer Directions; and I humbly beseech the most Bleffed and glorious Author of them, that we may all, from the Highest to the Loweft, be obedient, and hearken to them. My Friends, fays Luk. 12.4, he, be not afraid of them that kill the Bo- s. & Mat. dy, and after that have no more that they 10.28. can do. But I will forewarn you whom


you shall fear: Fear him, who after he hath killed, can deftroy both Soul and Body in Hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him. Nay, if we fuffer Indignities, and Reproaches, Perfecutions and Death for His fake, He pronounceth us happy, and bids us greatly to rejoyce. (7) Mat. 5. Blessed, (r) fays he, are they, which are 10, 11, 12 perfecuted for Righteousness fake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Bleffed are ye, when Men fhall revile you, and perfe cute you, and fall fay all manner of evil against you fally for my fake: Rejoyce, and be exceeding glad, for great is your Reward in Heaven. Why then, (Ï say again) confidering these moft glorious and everlasting Advantages, should any Christian fear a Temporary Imprifonment or Death? Why should he be afraid of a Man that fhall dye? or of the Son of Man, who, however great and powerful now, will, e're long be as Grass; and by a shameless Prostitution of his Confcience to his fecular Emoluments, renounce his standing and Eternal Interest in his Maker, and Redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob? Alas! there is nothing this World can lay upon us, that we need be very careful to avoid: For what, in plain






he Terms, is the lofs of your Estates, though never fo great and plenteous ? ar If you keep them as long as you can, Death will fhortly take them from you; nd and though your Posterity (which is us the utmost you can with) fhould pose. sess them throughout all Generations, art even to the Worlds End; yet then ir will they be confum'd in the Univerfal Conflagration. What are the closest fe and moft naufeous Prisons of this World, if compar'd to those Dungeons of Torment and Defpair, that except on prevaricating, hypocritical, trimming, fay pufillanimous, apoftatizing Spirits in ri the next? What, laftly, is Death, even ld in its most pompous and magnificent Terrours? The facred Oracles affure us, be That to a good Man; one, who thro' of the Grace of God has refin'd and puriat fy'd his Soul from the Fæculencies and Stains of the Animal Nature, and is throughly awaken'd into the Divine Life and Likeness, 'tis but a Sleep. When St. Stephen was fton'd to Death by the Jews, inoμnen, (i) says St. Luke, (i) A&. he fell asleep; and our (k) Lord him- (k) John felf of his Dead Friend Lazarus, ii. ii. Λάζαρα ὁ φίλο ἡμῶν Friend Lazarus fleepeth.




[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


κεκοίμηται, Οτ
Nay, the very


Heathens will tell you as much. G καὶ θάνατα διδυμάονες; and, Eξ ConJanguineus Lethi Sopor: Sleep and Death, (fay they) are Coufin Germans, Brethren and Twins. But what harm (I pray) is there in all this? When a good Man has finish'd his Days Work, and is hap pily arriv'd at the end of the fore Labour and Travel of his Life, the manifold Toils and Drudgeries of a moft vexatious and troublesome World, can it be any Inconvenience, any Disadvantage to him to lay himself down, and to fall afleep? In a word; when a good Man dies, either by a violent or natural Death, he doth not fuffer any Lofs or Detriment, but only makes a Change; and that a most Bleffed, moft Wonderful, and most Glorious Change. A Change, that we fhall then only truly understand, when we fhall have the Notices of Spirits, the Intellects of Angels, and the unconceivable Enlargements of Immortal Beings. He changeth Drofs for Silver, Brafs for Gold, Earth for Heaven; yea, this dirty Planet (as fome call it) for the Stars of God, those immenfe and ftupendous Orbs of Glory, which shine in the uppermost Firmament of Heaven. He changeth a Complication


of Sorrows and Afflictions for a Constellation of Joys and Pleasures; a load of Sin and Mifery for a Weight of Glory; the Company of Vile Worms for the Society of Saints and Angels, and (which is more than all) for the Intuition of his Makers › Beauty, which he shall enjoy till the Restitution of all things, when his Body fhall shake off the Dishonours of the Grave, and be rais'd to the fame state of Immortality and Glory. Then will his Soul joyfully fly down from its blissful Manfions to the Sides of the Grave, and gently wake its fleeping Confort with a Rife up, my Love, my Fair one, and come away. The Body will immediately perceive these ravishing Whispers, 1 and smilingly open its Eyes, and rife, and take Wing, and fly away to the Companies of the Saints, who in the Air fhall ftand in White Robes at the Right-Hand of their Saviour, and melodiously fing Hofannas to the King of Glory. Then will they be abundantly recompens'd for all the Contradictions they have endur'd from Sinners: For the Calumnies and Reproaches, the Injuries and Affronts, the Calamities and Difafters, which they underwent in this World. They will no longer be despis'd and rejected of Men; E


« PreviousContinue »