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Our Latter End
Danger and Mischief
By IS A AC BARROW, D.D. Late Master of Trinity-College in Cambridge.
Formerly Published by his Grace, JOHN Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury.
The Second Edition.
LONDON, Printed for Brab. Aylmer; And Sold
by ROYSTON MEREDITH, at the Star in St. Paul's Church-Tard. 1712.
most intimate with God :) 'Tis also remarkable for the form and matter thereof, both affording much usefull instruction. In it we have a great Prince, the Governour of a numerous People sequestring his Mind from the management of pub, lick Affairs to private Meditations ; from beholding the present outward appearances, to considering the real nature and secret causes of things; In the midst of all the Splendour and Pomp, of all the stir and tumult about him he observes the frailty of humane condition, he discerns the Providence of God justly ordering all; this he does not onely in way of wise confideration, but of serious devotion, moulding his observations into pious acknowledgments, and earnest Prayers to God; thus while he cafts one eye upon Earth viewing the occurrences there, lifting up the other to Heaven ; there seeing God's all-governing Hand, thence seeking his gracious Favour and Mercy. Thus doth here that great and
good good Man teach us all, (more par. ticularly men of high Estate, and much Business) to find opportunities of withdrawing their thoughts from those things, which commonly amuse them (the Cares, the Glories, the Pleasures of this World) and fixing them upon matters more improvable to devotion; the tranfitoriness of their Condition, and their subjection to God's just Providence ; joining also to these Meditations futable acts of Religion, due acknowledgments to God and humble Prayers. This was his practice among the greatest encumbrances that any Man could have, and it should also be ours. Of those his devotions, addressed to God, the Words are part, which I have chosen for the subject of my meditation and present discourse; concerning the meaning of which I shall first touch fomewhat; then propound that observable in them, which I design to insist upon.
P[... 39. 4.
The Prophet David hath in the 39th Psalm a Prayer very near in words, and of kin ( it seems ) in sense to this here ; Lord, prays he, Make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is, that
know how frail I am: Concerning the drift of which place, as well as of this here, it were obvious to conceive, that both these Prophets do request of God, that he would discover to them the definite terın of their life ( which by his decree he had fixed, or however by his universal prescience he did difcern; concerning which we have these words in Job, Seeing man's days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds, that he cannot pass ) we might, I say, at first hearing be apt to imagine, that their Prayer unto God is, ( for the comfort of their mind burthened with aiflictions, or for their better direction in the management of their remaining time of life ) that God
Job 14. 5.
would reveal unto them the determinate length of their life. But this sense, which the Words seem so naturally to hold forth is by maпу of the Fathers rejected; for that the knowledge of our lives determinate measure is not a fit matter of Prayer to God; that being a secret reserved by God to himself, which to inquire into savours of presumptuous curiosity; the universal validity of which reason I will not debate ; but shall defer so much to their judgment, as to suppose that the numbring of our days ( according to their sense ) doth here onely imply a confused indefinite computation of our days number, or the length of our life ; such as, upon which it may appear, that necessarily our life cannot be long (not according to the accompt mentioned in this Psalm (the same with that of Solon, in Herodotus ) above feventy or eighty Years, especially as to purposes of health, strength, content) will probably by reason of