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ferent signification, do agree in this, that they signify a, this truth, as it hath been laid down, would answer itself. certain nature to be the thing produced. This nature is For it is not dying simply that is the object of this inclinasaid to be divine, (2 Pet. i. 4.) somewhat born of God, astion, but dying conjunctly with being with the Lord, in it is expressed, 1 John v. 4. and in many places more. his blessed joyous presence. Do not therefore divide the And it is an intellectual nature, or the restored rectitude object, and that objection is no objection. You are un. of such a being. Now who can think but what is so pecu- willing to die, and be banished the Divine presence; but liarly from God, a touch and impress from him upon an are you unwilling to die, and enjoy it? or, upon suppointelligent subject, should with design, choice, and com sition you should, are you willing ? This is all that we placency, tend to him, and make the soul do so? especial- make characteristical, and distingnishing. Where there is ly, when it is so purposely designed for remedy of the apos-only an aversion to leave this bodily life and state, upon a tacy, wherein men are revolted and gone off from him ? fear we shall not be admitted into that bless Will he suffer himself to be defeated in a design, upon there is only an accidental obstruction to the more explicit, which he is so industriously intent? Or is it supposable distinct, and discernible exertions of desire this way; which the all-wise God should so mistake himself, as to do such obstruction, if it be removed, the soul would then follow a work upon the spirit of man, on set purpose for an end the course which the divine and holy principle in it doth which it is no way apt to serve: yea, and when he now naturally incline to: but the mortal token is, when there is takes him in hand, a second time? Nor can it be but this no such 'doubt, and yet there is still a prevailing aversion; impression of God upon the soul must have principal re- when men make no question, if they die they shall go to ference to our final state. It is a kind of nature, and God, and yet they are not willing to go. In the former must therefore tend to what is most perfect in its own kind. case, there is a supreme desire of being with God, only But we need not reason, in a matter wherein the word of suspended ; take off that suspension, and that desire runs God so plainly unfolds the scope and the success of this its natural course. In the other case, there is no desire at his own work. By it we are said to be alive to God, all. And the difference is, as between a living man that through Jesus Christ, (Rom. vi. 11.) to turn, and move, would fain go to such a place, but he is held, and therefore and act towards him, as many Scriptures speak. And to- goes not; and one that is not held, but is dead, and cannot wards him as he is most perfectly to be served, and enjoy- stir at all. For the life of the soul towards God is love, ed, in the most perfect state of life.
aversion therefore is (not an absolute, but) respective We are said to be begotten again to a lively hope, death, or quoad hoc, a death towards him; or, as to this (1 Pet. i. 3. where hope is taken objectively, as the follow-thing, viz. being with him. ing words show,) to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, (2.) As for the objection of being more serviceable lo and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. And children, friends, relations, or the glory of God in the when, elsewhere, it hath been said, Every one that doth world, and his church in it; upon which last account this righteousness is born of him, 1 Johoi ii. ult. there is imme-apostle, (Phil, i. 22, 23, 24.) though he express a desire diately subjoined, chap. iii. 1, 2. a description of the future to be dissolved and to be with Christ, yet is in a strait, and blessedness; whereto'tis presently added, ver. 3. And seems also very well pleased to abide in the flesh a longer every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, time: he can himself best judge of our serviceableness. even as he is pure; implying the hope of that blessed The meaning is not that we should be willing to leave the state to be connate, implanted as a vital principle of the body before he would have us, but that we should not be new and divine nature. And all hope, we know, involves unwilling then. And because we know not when his time desire in it; which is here intimated to be so powerful and will be, and it may be presently for aught we know; we prevailing, as to shape and form a man's whole course to should be always willing and desirous, upon that supposian agreeable tenor; which it could not do, if hope were tion. Our desire herein should not be absolute, and perempnot superadded to desire; for no man pursues an end tory, but subordinate, and apt to be determined by his will; whereof he despairs. And what else is living religion, which can determine nothing but what will be most for his but a tendency to blessedness ? a seeking honour, glory, own glory, and for their best good who belong to him. and immortality, by a patient continuance in well doing, But as to this instance of the apostle, we must consider Rom. ii. 7. Nor need we look further than this context, what there was peculiar in the apostle's case, and what is for evidence that this divine impression upon the soul hath common, or ought to be, to all serious Christians. There this reference; for when, ver. 4. the apostle had avowed is no doubt there was this more peculiar to him, (and to the fervour of his desire after that state wherein mortality persons in such a capacity and station as his was,) viz, as should be swallowed up of life, he immediately adds, ver. he was an apostle, he was one that had seen the Lord, 5. Now he that hath wrought us for this self-same thing, which was a qualification for the more special work of that is God, &c. And indeed, after that transforming touch, office; whereupon he was an eye-witness, to testify of his the great business of such a soul, in this world, is but a resurrection; upon which sogreat a stress lay, in asserting dressing itself for the Divine presence, a preparation for the truth of the Christian religion, and propagating it with that state, wherein we are for ever to be with the Lord. the greater assurance in the world. To testify as an aposAnd 'tis not only an incongruity, but an inconsistency; | tle, therefore, could not be done by one of a following age. not only that which is not fit, but not possible, that a man And 'tis very probable when he expresses, to the Philipshould ever design that as his end, which he cares not ever pians, (ver. 25.) his knowledge he should abide and conto attain; or that for his last end, which he doth not sa tinue yet longer with them all, i. e. with the Christian premely desire.
church in the world, (for we cannot suppose he was to 2. If we consider particular principles that belong to this continue at Philippi,) for the furtherance of the common holy divine nature, the more noble and eminent are faith cause of the Christian faith, which was their common joy, and love. The former is the perceptive, visive principle; I (and which would no doubt be increased intensively and the other the motive, and fruitive. And these, though they extensively at once, he had some secret intimation, that have their other manifold references, have yet, both, their | all his work in this kind was not yet over. Nor were final to that state of absence from this body, and presence such monitions and advertisements unfrequent with the with the Lord; the one eyeing, the other coveting it, as apostles, that specially related to the circumstances of that wherein the soul is to take up its final rest. Here their work. And so entirely was he devoted to the some consideration should be had of objections, that some Christian interesi, that wherein he saw he might be so pemay be apt to make use of, to shift off the urgency of this culiarly serviceable to it, he expresses a well-pleasedness truth, and excuse the unsuitable temper' of their spirits to be so, as well as'a confidence that he should; as we all to it.
ought to do, in reference to any such significations of the (1.) That they are unassured about their states God-Divine will concerning us, if they were afforded to us. But ward; and how can they be willing to die, and be absent as to what there is, in this instance, that is common and from the body, or not be afraid of the Lord's presence, imitable to the generality of Christians, it is no other than whom they may, for aught they know, find an angry vin- what we press from the text we have in hand: a desire to dictive Judge when they appear before him?
depart, and be with Christ, as that which is far better for Answer. This, which is the most considerable objection us; submitted to the regulation of the Divine will, as to that the matter admits of, if it were directly pointed against the time of our departure, and accompanied with a cheerful willingness to serve him here to our uttermost in the | ian is their temper! and how reprovable by some more mean time. But we have withal little reason to think we noble-minded pagans, that had better learned the precept can do God greater service, or glorify him more here, than inculcated by some of them, of reverencing themselves! above. There is indeed other service to be done below, Of whom we find one o speaking, with a sort of disdain, which is necessary in its own kind, and must, and shall, be Is this body I ? Another saying, he might be killed and done by some or other. But is our service fit, in point of not hurt; and upbraiding to his friends their ignorance, excellency and value, to be compared with that of glorified when they inquired how he would be buried; as if he spirits in the upper regions? We serve God by doing his could be buried, who, he said, should be gone fas enough will, which is, surely, most perfectly done above. And out of their hands. Another ;d that the tyrant that made our glorifying him, is to acknowledge and adore his glori- him to be beaten to death with iron mallets, might break ous excellencies: not to add the glory to him which he that vessel of his, but himself he could not touch. hath not; but to celebrate and magnify that which he 4. We learn, that when God removes any of our dear hath: whereof certainly the large minds of glorified crea- godly friends and relatives out of the body, though he distures are far more capable. He never needs hands for any please us, he highly pleases them; for 'tis that they desire work he hath to do, but can form instruments as he pleases. rather. And we are sure he pleases himself; for what can And what is our little point of earth, or any service that induce him, or make it possible to 'him, to do any thing can be performed by us here, in comparison of the spacious against his own pleasure? We are too apt to consider oor heavens, and the noble employments of those glorious or own interest and satisfaction apart from theirs and God's, ders of creatures above, which all bear their parts in the in such cases. And hence is that too vulgar and practical great affairs of the vast and widely-extended heavenly error, among very many serious Christians; that when kingdom? We might as well suppose, that because there such as are dear to them are taken away, they reckon their is, in a prince's family, employment below stairs for cooks, thoughts to be principally employed, in considering such and butlers, or such like underlings; that therefore their a thing as afflictive or punitive to them. 'Tis true that service is more considerable than that of great officers, and the affiction of that, as weil as of any other kind, should ministers of state.
put us upon very serious inquiry and search what the sin 3. And for what may be thought, by some, that this is, that may more especiaiy have deserved it. But that seems an unnatural inclination; we must understand what ought upon all occasions to be principally considered, in we say, and what our own nature is, when we talk of what any case, that is principal. As God did not make such a is natural or unnatural to us. Ours is a compounded creature principally to please me, so nor doth he take away nature, that is not simply unnatural, that is contrary to an such a one principally to displease me. God's interest is inferior nature, and agreeable to a superior. The most supreme, their own next, mine comes after both the other. deeply fundamental law, of the intellectual nature in us, Therefore when the stream of thoughts and affections hath was to be most addicted to the supreme good. The apos-run principally, in such a case, upon our own affiliction, tacy of this world from God, and its lapse into carnality, is 'tis time to check it, and begin to consider, with some pleaits most unnatural state. To have an inclination to the sure, how the Lord and that translated soul are now pleased body is natural, but to be more addicted to it than to God, in one another! He hath his end upon his own creature, is most contrary to the sincere dictates of original, pure, and it hath its end and rest in him. and primitive nature.
| 5. We see the admirable power of divine grace, that it There are now, for our use, many things to be inferred. prevails against even the natural love of this bodily life;
1. We see here, from the immediate connexion between not where discontent and weariness of life contribute ; but being absent from the body, and present with the Lord, even where there is a willingness to live too, upon a Faluthere is no place for the intervening sleep of the separate able consideration, as this apostle doth elsewhere espress soul. Can such a presence with the Lord, as is here himself, viz, in the place before noted : and how easily the meant, consist with sleeping ? or is sleeping more desira- | Divine pleasure could reconcile him to life, notwithstandble than the converse with him our present state admits? ing what is said in the text, is sufficiently signified in the But of this, much is said elsewhere.
words immediately following it. And the effect is perma2. Death is not so formidable a thing as we commonly nent, not a sudden transport (wherein many are induced fancy. We are confident and willing rather. There is a to throw away their lives upon much lower motives :) fortitude that can oppose the terrors of death, and over- this appears to be an habitual inclination. At distant times, come. How many have we knowu die triumphing! we find the apostle in the same temper. That is not surely
3. We see that men of spiritual minds have another from the power of nature, that is so much against it, as the notion of that which we call self, or personality, than is stream of nature now runs, z. e. that a man should be will vulgar and common. For who are the we that speak of ing to be plucked in pieces, and severed from himself! being absent from the body, and present with the Lord ? And we see, (ver. 5.) whereto it is expressly ascribed: The body seems excluded that notion, which we know He that hath wrought us to the self-same thing, is God. cannot be absent from itself. How like in sound is this to 6. How black is their character, and how sad their state, Animus cujusque in quisque! or, Tha: the soul is the man! that are more addicted to the body, 'and this bodily life, I would not indeed drive this so high as some Platonists than to the Lord, and that holy blessed life we are to parare wont to do, as if the man were nothing else but a soul, take in with him! Their character is black and horrid, as sometimes using a body. Nor do therefore think the body it is diverse from that which truly belongs to all the people is no more to him, than our clothes to the body, because of God, that ever lived on earth; and so doth distinguish the apostle in this context uses that similitude; for that is them from such, and place them among another sort of men not to be conceived otherwise, than (as is usual in such that belong not to him; such as have their portion in this illustrations) with dissimilitude. A vital union must life, their good things here, and who are to expect nothing be acknowledged; only neither is it agreeable with their hereafter, but wo and wailing. And who would not be self-debasing thoughts, that seem to make the body the affrighted, that finds a mark upon him that severs him from more considerable part of themselves, that measure good the whole' assembly of the just, and the blessed! Their and evil by it, as if what were grateful to the body were state is also therefore sad and dismal, inasmuch as what simply good for them, and that which offends the body they place their highest felicity in (their abode in the body) simply evil; that speak or think of themselves, as if they they know will continue but a little while. Who could were all body, forget that there is belonging to them an ever, by their love of this bodily life, procure it to be per. o čow ă vOpcoros, as well as an / Itw, an inner man, and an petuated ? or by their dread of mortality, make themselves outer ; that the latter may be decaying, when the other is immortal? Have not others, in all former ages, loved ite renewed day by day; (2 Cor. iv. 16.) that the Father of our body and this world as much? and what is become of spirits may often see cause to let our flesh suffer (and, at them? Hath not death still swept the stage from generalast, perish) for the advantage of our spirits, Heb. xii.9, 10. tion to generation ? and taken all away, willing or unSo distinct are their interests and gratifications, and some- . willing? To have all my good bound up in what I cantimes inconsistent. When men make therefore this bodily not keep! and to be in a continual dread of what I cannot brutal self their centre and end, how sordid and unchrisi- avoid ! 'what can be more disconsolate? How grievous b Epict. c Socrat
will it be to be torn out of the body! not to resign the only kill the body; or being unable to suffer some lesser soul, but have it drawn forth as a rusty sword out of the bodily inconveniences, apostatize, and abandon their relisheath; a thing which our utmost unwillingness will make gion, whereby that, and their souls too, become sacrifices to the more painful, but cannot defer! No man hath power the safety and accommodation of an idolized lump of clay! over the spirit to retain the spirit, nor hath he power in And how certainly (if a seasonable repentance do not indeath, Eccles. viii. 8. How uncomfortable, when the tervene) do they, who only thus tempt the souls of other Lord's presence, the common joy of all good souls, is to men, destroy their own! nor can it be doubted at this time me a dread! By the same degrees, by which an abode in of day, and after the experience of so many ages, wherein the body is over-desired, is that presence dreadful and dis-Christianity hath been so visibly and grossly carnalized, affected. And how deplorate is the case, when this body but that it is a religion perverted to the support of the bodily is the best shelter I have from that presence! Would I and animal interest, that hath thus embroiled the ChristTurk in the body and lie hid from the presence of the Lord ? ian world. How plain is it, that they who desire to make How easily and how soon will my fortress be beaten down a fair show in the flesh, to strut in pomp, to glitter in seand laid in the dust! and I be left naked and exposed !cular grandeur and splendour, to live in unrebuked sensual and then how fearful things do ensue! But what now, ease and fulness, are the men that would constrain others doth this fearful case admit of no remedy? It can admit to their carnal observances ! men that serve not our Lord but of this only one, which therefore I would now recom Jesus Christ, but their own bellies. Who can think it is mend and press, the serious effectual endeavour of being, pure love to souls, and zeal for the true ends of the holy, to a just degree, alienated from the body, and of having peaceable religion of our blessed Jesus, that makes them the undue love repressed and wrought down, of this so vexatious and troublesome to all, whom their fleshly bodily life. Mistake not, I go not about to persuade all arm can reach and ruin, and whom their spirit and way promiscuously, out of hand and without more ado, lo de- cannot allure and win? Who that understands religion, . sire death, or absence from the body. The desires of and the true design of it, and the blessed end wherein it reasonable creatures should be reasonable, the product of will shortly terminate, would not be glad to be rescued valuable considerations and rational inducements. The out of this large diffusive unquiet empire of the body, that present case of too many, the Lord knows, admits not they extends itself over all things, mingling its odious impurishould be willing to die; who are they that they should tics, even with what is most sacred! Who would not long desire the day of the Lord ? a day of such gloominess and to be from under this reign of the beast, if he might have a darkness, as it is likely, should it now dawn, to prove to fair way for escape! And where religion is not in the case, them ? No, but let all endeavour to get into that state, what multitudes of terrene creatures, earthly-minded men, and have their affairs in such a posture, that they may be, are stupidly going down to perdition daily, and destroying upon good terms, reconciled to the grave; and that sepa- their souls by mere neglect, while they are driving designs ration from the body may be the matter, with them, of a for the body! Which yet, in the mean time, is at the best but rational and truly Christian choice. And since, as hath a prison to the best of souls. O how could they love God, been said, there are two terms between which the inclina- admire and praise him, were they once out of this body! tion and motion of our souls, in this case, must. lie, from But it is not enough to a subject, wherein love is implantthe one to the other, viz. the body, and the Lord, life in ed and is a part of its nature, to have only the prospect of the body, and with the Lord; let such things be considered what is unlovely, or be told only what is not to be loved. on both hands, as may justly tend to diminish and lessen There must be somewhat to invite and draw, as well as to our inclination and love to the one, and increase it towards repel and drive off. Therefore, the other. So as that, all things being considered, and (2.) Consider also, on the other part, the Lord, and that upon the whole, this may be the reasonable and self-justi- life you are to transact and live with him. Little can now fying result, to be well pleased rather to be absent from be said; you are not ignorant where much is, and your the body, and to be present with the Lord. And,
own thoughts may, upon much conversing with the holy (1.) On the part of the body and this bodily life, con- oracles, suggest yet more. And you have need to use your sider, how costly it is to you! You lay out upon it (the thoughts here, the more largely, where your sense doth not most do) most of your time, thoughts, cares; the greater instruct you, as on the other part it doth. Consider the part, most, or even all, of your estates. All the callings description which you are copiously furnished with, both you can think of in the world, and which all help to main- of him and of the state in which you are to be present tain at no little expense, are wholly for the body; what with him. Recount his glorious excellencies, his immense costly attendants must it have of cooks, bakers, brewers, and all-sufficient fulness, his wisdom, power, holiness, and * mercers, physicians, lawyers, and what not! one only love in absolnte perfection. Consider his high, equal, excepted that refers to the soul. And again, when all is comely, amiable regency over the blessed community above, done, how little serviceable is it! when you would em- that spiritual incorporeal people, the pleased joyful inhabitploy it, sometimes it is sick, sometimes lame, sometimes ants of the celestial regions. And that he rules over them lames the mind and intellect too, that it cannot do its of- and communicates himself universally to them, in a state fice, merely through the distemper of bodily organs; is at of perfect light, purity, peace, love, and pleasure, that is all times dull, sluggish, indisposed; the spirit is willing, also immutable, and never to know end. There is nothing but the flesh weak.
capable of attracting an intellectual nature, which is not Yea moreover how disserviceable! hinders you doing here! good, prompts to the doing much evil. What a world of But on both parts, suffer yourselves to be directed also. mischief is done among men, merely by bodily lusts, and! (1.) Take heed of over-indulging the body, keep it in to serve fleshly appetite; these fill the world with confu- subjection, use it, and serve it not. Primitive nature, and sion, and miseries of all sorts. All catch from others what the Creator's wise and holy pleasure, ordained it to serve. they can, for the service of the body; hence is competi- Lose not yourselves in it, take heed you be not buried tion of interests and designs; no man's portion is enough where you should but dwell, and that you make not your for him to serve the body, (or the mind, as it is depraved mansion your grave. Mansion, do I say? Call it as this by bodily inclinations,) and so the world is torn by its in- apostle doth, and another, (2 Pet. i.) your tabernacle only, habitants, countries wasted and laid desolate; religion it- a tent pitched for you, but for a little while. Every day self made subservient to fleshly interest, and thence is the look upon it, and without fond pity, as destined to rottenoccasion of many a bloody contest, of oppressions, perse- | ness and corruption; and as that which, when it ceases to cutions, and violences; whereby many times it so falls out, 1 be your clothing, must be worms meat. Labour to make that such as are most vigorously engaged in the design of the thoughts easy and familiar to yourselves of leaving it, serving the body, destroy it, tbeir own as well as other think it not an uncouth thing. How doth that part of the men's. And (which is most dreadful) souls are nume- creation, that is inferior to you, abound with like instances ! rously lost and perish in the scuffle, yea, and very oft upon of fruits springing up out of this earth, and growing to the account or pretence of religion, whose only design it ripeness and maturity, with husks, shells, or other integuis to save souls! And how many, to save their bodies, ments, which then fall off; such as never ripen, they and destroy even their own souls! Not having learned that their enfoldings rot together. Esteem it your perfection, instruction of our Saviour's, not to fear them that can ) when your shell will fall off easily, and cleaves not so close,
as to put you to pain when it is to be severed from words are uttered, The excellent knowledge of Christ you.
Jesus my Lord, Phil. iii. 8. This is Christian religion, not Endeavour the holy and heavenly nature may grow more in a system, but as it is a vital principle and habit in the and more mature in you; so death will be the more also soul, inclining us, making us propense, towards our blessan unregretted thing to your thoughts. By all means ed Lord, addicting and subduing us to him, uniting us labour to overcome the fear of it; which that you might with him, whereby we come to know by inward sensations, our Lord also took a body. Forasmuch as the children to feel the transfusions of his spiritual light and influence, are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise and our souls thereby caught, and bound up in the took part of the same, that through death he might destroy bundle of life. So we have Christ formed within, his holy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and de- truth, doctrines, precepts, promises, inwrought into the liver them, who through fear of death were all their lifetime temper of our spirits. And, as it follows in that context, subject to bondage, Heb. ii. 14, 15. Reckon not much Phil. iii. to have him, according to the states wherein he of that fear, which is only the mere regret of sensitive successively was, by correspondent impressions represented nature, purely involuntary; and that can no more obey in us; so as that we come to bear the image of him, cruthe empire of the mind, or be regulated by it, than you can cified and dying, first; then, reviving and rising; and make straight a crooked leg by a mere act of your will, or afterwards, ascending and glorified. To know him, and make your body not feel pain: a fear, from which the per the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his fection of our nature, in our blessed Lord himself, was not sufferings, being made conformable to his death; if, by exempt. But it is one thing to extinguish even that fear, any means, we might attain unto the resurrection of the another to overcome it; the former is impossible to you, dead, ver. 10, 11. the latter necessary. It is overcome, when a superior Let us not be at rest till we find it thus, in some measure, principle governs you and your resolutions and course, as with us. If we feel ourselves, after this manner, internally it did our Lord; he did not, because of it, spare himself and initially conformed to him, this will be both a preparaand decline dying. You may feel perhaps somewhat of tive, and a pledge of our future perfect conformity, both such a fear (a secret shrug) when you are to be let blood, internal, and external. It will fit us to be ever with the or have a wound searched. It governs not in such a less Lord, and assure us we shall and can be no where else; that important case, when, being convinced it is requisite, you he and we shall not to eternity dwell asunder. We shall omit not the thing notwithstanding. Labour herein to be neither fear to be externally conformed to him in his death, hardy, and merciless to this flesh, upon the fore-thoughts to quit and lay down the body as he did; nor despair of of the time when God will allow you to step forth, and go attaining with him the resurrection from the dead, and of out of the body; and say to it, with an obdüred mind, For being present with him in glory. Or, that he shall recover all thy craving, and shrinking, thou shalt be thrown off. for us, out of the dust, our vile abject bodies, (the To owua ris
Labour it may not only not be the matter of your pre- TAFELVÁOrws nuwy,) the body of our humiliation, wherein we vailing fear, but be the matter of your hope. Look towards were humbled, as he was in his, (as it follows in that, Phil. the approaching season, with pleasant cheerful expectation; iii. ver. 21.) and make it like his own glorious body, (cópias aspire (as it belongs to you to do, who have received the pov, conform, and agreeable,) by that power, by which he first-fruits of the Spirit, that blessed Spirit of adoption) and is able even to subdue all things to himself. In the mean groan for the adoption, (the season of your being more time, as this present state admits, converse much with him solemnly owned for sons,) viz. the redemption of the body, I every day; be not strangers to him, often recognise and renew Rom. viii. 23. Which though it ultimately refer to the your engagements to him. Revolve in your thoughts his resurrection, may be allowed to have an incomplete mean- interest in you, and yours in him; and the nearer relation ing, in reference to death too; for I see not' but årodó- there is between him and you, than that between you and Tpwois Toll Owuatos, may admit such a construction, as drodó- this body. Recount with yourselves the permanency and Towais rwv mapaßárowy, Heb. ix. 15. i. e, that redemption of lastingness of that relation; that whereas this body, as DOV the body may mean redemption from it, wherein it is bur- it is a terrestrial body, will not be yours long; he is to be densome, a grievance and penalty, here, as well as there. your God for ever and ever; that though death must shortly The redemption of transgressions doth truly mean libera- separate you from this body, neither life nor death, printion from the penalty of them; from which penal evil of cipalities nor powers, things present nor things to come, and by the body, so materially, at least, it is, we are not shall ever separate you from the love of God, which is in perfectly freed, as our blessedness is not perfect, till mor- Christ Jesus, our Lord. While this body is a body of tality be swallowed up of life, and all the adopted, the death to you, he is your life, your hope, and your exceedmany sons, be all brought to glory together.
ing joy, your better, more laudable, and more excellent How happy in the mean time is your case, when death self, more intimate to you than you can be to yourself, as becomes the matter of your rational, well-grounded hope ! hath been anciently and often said, and for the obtaining You have many hopes, wherein you are liable to disappoint- whose presence, absence from the body is a very small ment; you will then have one sure hope, and that will be matter. worth them all; none can prevent you of this hope. Many A great prince, in an epistle to that philosopher, tells other things you justly hope for, are hindered by ill-minded him: I seem to myself not to be a man, as the saying is, men of their accomplishment; but all the wit and power while I am absent from lamblicus, or while I am not CODof your most spiteful enemies can never hinder you from versant (ov ovvw) with him. That we can better endure our dying. And how are you fenced against all the interven- Lord's absence, is surely a thing itself not to be endured; ing troubles of life! Nihil metuit qui optat mori, You have we should labour, that our acquaintance with him (such as nothing to fear, if you desire to die ; nothing but what, at is fit to be between so great a majesty and such mean least, death will shortly put an end to. Make this your creatures as we) should grow daily. Yea, and endeavour aim, to have life for the matter of your patience, and death to make the thoughts more familiar to ourselves of spiritof your desire.,
ual beings in the general; for we are to serve and converse (2.) On the other part also, labour to be upon good with him in a glorious community of such creatures, An terms with the Lord, secure it that he be yours. Your innumerable company of angels, the general assembly, and way to that is short and expedite, the same by which we the church of the first-born, and the spirits of just men become his, Ezek. xvi. 8. I entered into covenant with made perfect, (Heb. xii. 23.) in a region where an earthly thee, and thou becamest mine. Solemnly and unfeignedly body, remaining such, can have no place. Why do ve accept him, and surrender yourselves; without this who make the thoughts of a spirit, out of a body, so strange to can expect but to hear from him at last, Depart from me, ourselves? We meet with hundreds of spirits in bodies, I know you not? Know of yourselves, demand an ac and moving bodies to and fro in the streets every day, and count, are you sincerely willing to be his ? and to take him are not startled at it. Is a body so much nearer akin to us for yours without limitation or reserves? Matters are then than a spirit, that we must have so inean a thing to come agreed between him and you, and who can break or dis- between, to mediate and reconcile us to it? Why are ve annul the agreement? Who can come between him and afraid of what we are so nearly allied unto? Can we not you? I often think of the high transport wherewith those endure to see or think of a man at liberty (suppose it were
e Julian Ep. ad lamblic.
a friend, or a brother) if we ourselves were in prison? The She knew how to make her estimate of the honour of a more easy you make the apprehension to yourselves of a family, and a pedigree, as things valuable in their kind; disembodied spirit, i. e. free, I mean, of any terrestrial without allowing herself so much vanity, as lo reckon they body, the better we shall relish the thoughts of him who were things of the most excellent kind, and to which nois the head of that glorious society you are to be gathered thing personal could be equal. And well understood, of unto; for the Lord is that Spirit, the eminent, almighty, the personal endowments of the body, and the mind, which and all-governing Spirit, (to be ever beheld too in his glo- were to have the preference. Her life might teach all rified body, as an eternal monument of his under taking those, especially of her own sex, that a life's time in the for us, and an assuring endearment of his relation to us ;) body, is for some other purposes than to indulge, and trim, the better your minds will comply with the preconceived and adorn the body; which is most minded by them, who idea we are to entertain ourselves with, of the constitution, (as that shows) have, in the mean time, most neglected, order, employment, and delights of that vast collection of and, God knows, most depraved and deformed souls. I heavenly associates we shall dwell with for ever. And the hope her example, more fully and publicly represented, more will you still incline to be absent from this body, that will more generally teach: in the mean time, this instance (among them) you may be ever present with the Lord. of our common mortality should teach us all. We see
And if you thus cherish this pleasant inclination, think this state of life in the body is not that we were finally how grateful it will be, when it comes to be satisfied! How made for; yet how few seriously look beyond it! And it natural is that rest that ends in the centre, to which a is amazing to think how little the deaths of others signify, thing is carried by a natural motion ! How pleasantly doth to the making us mind our own. We behave ourselves as the departed soul of that good gentlewoman, whose de- if death were a thing only to be undergone by some few cease we lament, solace itself in the presence of her glo- persons, here and there; and that the most should escape, rious Lord! I shall say little concerning her; you will and as if we took it for granted we should be of the exhave her just memorial more at large ere long. I had in- empted number. How soon are impressions, from such deed the opportunity, by an occasional abode some days occasions, talked, and trifled, and laughed, and jested under the same roof, (several years before she came into away! Shall we now learn more to study and understand that relation wherein she finished her course,) to observe our own natures ? to contemplate ourselves, and our duty her strangely vivid and great wit, and very sober conver-thereupon ? that we are a mortal, immortal sort of creasation. But the turn and bent of her spirit towards Godtures ? that we are sojourners only in a body, which we and heaven more remarkably appeared a considerable time must shortly leave to dust and worms ? that we are creaafter; which when it did, she showed how much more tures united with bodies, but separable from them ? Let she studied the interest of her soul than the body; and each of us think, “ I am one that can live in a body, and how much more shę valued mental and spiritual excel. can live out of a body. While I live in one, that body is lencies than worldly advantages, in the choice of her con-not mine, I dwell not in mine own :" that the body must sort, whom she accepted to be the companion and guide be for the Lord, as he will then be for the body; that we of her life.
Il dwell comfortless and miserable in the body, if we She gave proof herein of the real greatness of her spirit, dwell in it solitary and alone, and have not with us a better and how much she disdained to be guided by their vulgar | inhabitant : that our bodies are to be mansions for a Deity, measures that have not wit, and reason, and religion houses for religion, temples of the Holy Ghost. O the enough to value the accomplishments of the mind, and venerable thoughts we should have of these bodies upon inner man; and to understand that knowledge, holiness, this account! how careful should we be not to debase a heavenly heart, entire devotedness to the Redeemer, a them, not to alienate them! If any man corrupt the temple willingness to spend and be spent in the service of God, of God, him will he destroy, 1 Cor. iii. 16. Will a man are better and more valuable things, than so many hún- rob God ? break and violate his house ? How horrid a dreds or thousands a year. And that no external circum- burglary! Shall we agree to resign these bodies, and this stances can so far dignify a drunkard, an atheist, a pro- bodily life ? Our meeting will have been to good purpose, fane wretch, as that (compared with one that bears such might this be the united sense of this dissolving assembly: character) he should deserve to be simply reckoned the “ Lord, here we surrender and disclaim (otherwise than better man. And that mere sober carnality and ungodli- for and under thee) all right and title to these bodies and ness suffice not to cast the balance; or that have so little lives of ours. We present our bodies holy, acceptable, of these qualifications for the making a true judgment, as living sacrifices, as our reasonable service.” Let us do 10 think that calling dishonourable and a diminution to so, and remember we are hereafter not to live to ourselves, a man, that refers immediately to the soul, and the unseen nor to die, at length, to ourselves, but living and dying to world, and that relates and sets him nearest to God. libe the Lord's.