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how to consider any thing as they ought. For among these I understand not only some in better circumstances, but also, and chiefly, the unhappy dregs of society-outcasts of the people, in men, women and children ; who are too apt to be forgot, until their mischievous importance is displayed in some public calamity of unusual magnitude; then shall you find in them perhaps so many links of contagion for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and the sickness that destroyeth at noon-day” (Ps. xci. 6) one while; another while you shall find them at the head of a desolating torrent in some popular commotion-equally reckless of their own lives and souls, which are all they have to lose, as of the lives and properties of others. For the devil tells them all- men, women and children, “Ye shall not surely die," and the World confirms his assertion.
Thus such a moral phenomenon as the general insensibility to a seasonable apprehension of death is satisfactorily, if not agreeably, accounted for in different ways, but chiefly by the nature of death itself, and sin the cause of death, or the father of lies with his aforesaid impudent denial of mortality,“ Ye shall not surely die.”—And shall we surely die?--As surely as we are born, as surely as we shall live again. If thou have any doubt of it, open thine eyes, and take another view; release thy nose, and take another smell of it. Smell and see wbat it is : for the time must come, when thy dearest friend shall not be able to endure the sight and smell of thee. Thou shalt surely die; and that both in soul and body, if thou be not dead in the first already; although man, according to the more general opinion, consisting of two parts, body and soul, one is held to be mortal and the other not: whereas it appears as before stated, that if there be any difference the immortal soul as they call it in fact dies first.
Therefore, to talk of the perishable body and the immortal soul, is not so wise as it may sound from its wide authority; but rather, an unfair distinction. For under
standing by these two, namely body and soul two different sorts of properties-corporeal and spiritual, as far as they can be distinguished, we may be sure, that neither of the sorts can be more immortal than the other in form, nor less in substance. So Job observes, “ Though after my skin (meaning his outward form) worms destroy this body; yet in my flesh (corporeal substance) shall I see God," (Job xix. 26,)-as on the other hand, “Thine eyes did see my substance yet being imperfect,” (Ps. cxxxix. 15,) says David : and St. Paul expressly declares that “we shall be changed;” (Cor. I. xv. 52;) if it can be necessary to cite his or any other authority for a matter of plain experience. The quality of the form or appearance may be wonderfully raised in a glorified body; the bond of gravitation may be exceedingly relaxed, and newly directed; the property of magnitude may be greatly dilated, that of divisibility-subtilized ; in short, every single property of the material class may be new modelled, having a new form or circumscription, which we coinmonly name The Body: but neither all nor any of these can be removed or destroyed, without a destruction of the identical subject both in body and soul. Can the material property of gravitation, which holds all nature together and has a share in all its motions—though not the highest of its class, be thought more perishable or more recent than the thought by which it is apprehended ? Can the immortality of the spiritual body or class be thought the only original or primitive sort, and that of the material body a mere secondary and derivative produced by its union with the spiritual, as the subject of both may be immortalized at once by its association with divinity ? It were attributing too much to the virtue of a human soul, were this,- it is a possibility that we cannot conceive. Yet we can conceive a state of mortality or continual death; and we can conceive how the soul as well as the body by changing its character and connexions in the same manner may be said to have died in the course of time all over in other respects as well as in those of righteous
ness and sin particularly, which are mentioned by St. Paul, (Rom. vi. 11,) — the identity of both, namely of both body and soul being still preserved,-their essential constituents all entire, the life they compose-inviolate.
What may be meant by the death of the soul then, (for we talk of the death of this also sometimes as well as of the body,) is an extinction of certain characters in the course of that revolution, which may account for such a case as the being dead to sin and alive unto righteousness, (Pet. I. ii. 24; Rom. vi. 2, 11,)-or the more common case of a soul being dead to righteousness and alive to sin*, before intimated. Persons so divided either way may be said to be dead while they live; as St. Paul says of the woman of pleasure, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth," (Tim. I. v. 6,)-or, as it is said elsewhere, “In the midst of life we are in death”-dying, after the order before specified, to God first. And thus we find many who are dead to the fear of God, consequently dead to their own spiritual and eternal interest, dead to the desire of other men's happiness, to their own importance and the importance of others-particularly of the poorer sort, dead to a sense of honour, dead to a sense of shame-of duty and propriety, dead to justice and equity,—to every good principle in short that comes from above, and is the ornament of our nature: while, on the contrary, they shall be sufficiently alive this while to the evil policy—ambition and other prejudices of the world; they shall be alive to lust, sensuality, and other dictates of the flesh,-to malice, pride, falsehood and other suggestions of the devil; to every wicked and disgraceful principle, in short, that can be gleaned from the corrupt earth—from hell lying at the bottom of corruption, or from the evil genius presiding in both.
If we read therefore, “ When the breath of man goeth forth he shall return again to his earth; and then all his thoughts perish,” (Ps. cxlvi. 3,) we must understand, with regard to their form and coherence only. And this may be
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bad enough: to have our every train of ideas interrupted, -every learned labour or useful project put an end to; “for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave,” (Eccl. ix. 10,-no consciousness of our own perceptions even, nor any recollection of our intentions any longer waiting upon the same; but all discharged from each other,—no two accidents of any kind, whether intellectual, spiritual or material – leave alone properties, standing together in their natural or primitive order,—no light, perspicuity, or intelligence—the natural effect of such order,
but all fermentation and chaos, opacity and confusion. Where then may the treasures of wisdom which have been accumulating for ages be deposited ? or what is to become of the spiritual properties either; such as assimilation or growth, with breath, heat, sensation and others on their dispersion ? Nay; what is to become of the material; such as attraction and gravitation, solidity and extension, with the like ? As for the last mentioned, we can follow them with our observation through different forms some way, but not entirely: and so we can some of the vital properties particularly called spirit. “Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern,—then shall the dust return to the earth, as it was; and the spirit unto God who gave it,” (Ib. xii. 6,7,—that is material properties to material, and spiritual properties to spiritual ; or earth to earth, and heaven to heaven-every sort by itself again, as before the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created. (Gen. ii. 4.)
But we do not feel ourselves much enlightened by this comparison ; neither did the Preacher himself appear quite satisfied with it: which makes him ask elsewhere the very question that we should be glad to have resolved, “ Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth ?" (Eccl. iii. 21.) For it is not permitted to man to look so high or so
deep-that is, so far either way into the mystery of the kingdom of Death.
I need not add that there is nothing peculiar in this case, - nothing but what the greatest, the wisest, the bravest among us are to expect as well as the lowest, the weakest and most insignificant. For death gives no quarter: there is no discharge, no privilege nor exemption in
“ There is no man that hath power over the spirit, to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death : and there is no discharge IN THAT WAR; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.” (Eccl. viii. 8.) It may seem a mighty hard case to some, and for which they are bound to hate the grim tyrant—that he makes no distinction in favour of any one; no, not even of his greatest friends, such for example as the mighty conqueror, and the unprincipled wanton that fans his ambition : but death is not accountable to them, however accountable they and others like them, as persecutors and their abettors of every class, may be for some of his extraordinary feats.
§ 4. Seeing therefore that the stroke or accident of death is not to be avoided-no, not by any one; but must be taken somehow by all and every one of us—it seems highly and equally important for all to know how to meet him, or what sort of Defence to set up against an antagonist that is so unavoidable: the Defence now particularly recommended being a just and lively apprehension of the subject agreeable to the Word of God.
“To-day (therefore, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” (Ps. xcv. 8.) If in some unlucky hour you have eminently offended, or been entangled in a wilderness of ordinary failings more than you can distinctly remember or duly repent-still harden not your heart against the conviction that is necessary to a demand, and may be instrumental to the enjoyment of for