« ZurückWeiter »
SER M.tempt them to put an End to their Lives
themselves, and sometimes bring them into the Hands of the Executioner. What a strange and unaccountable Proceeding is this! for Men to fin in hopes of Time to repent, and yet withal to commit such Sins, as of course will allow them no Time to repent in! How much better is the Psalmist's Advice? How much furer the Method which he
prescribes ? - What Man is he that lufteth to live, and would fain fee good Days ? Keep thy Tongue from Evil, and thy Lips that they Speak no Guile. Eschew Evil and do good, seek Peace and ensue it. The Eyes of the Lord are open to the Righteous, and his Ears are open to their Prayers. But the Countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil to root out the Remembrance of them from the Earth.
But thirdly, is the general Term or Period of Life fixed by God? This should teach us not to extend our Hopes and Expectations beyond this Term; not to live as if we were immortal, or as if we had some hundreds of · Years before us. For if God has limited our Days to a Century, or a single hundred Years at most; (and which of us here that is capable of reflecting upon what I am saying, can propofę to himself half that Number of Years
to be now remaining?)It would be a Madness SERM.
SERM. Human Life, are in the Borders and Confines XVI.
and in the very Quarters of Death, and have already (as a late excellent Divine expresses it * ) borrowed some Years from the other World.
If these good Uses be made of the Confideration of the Uncertainty and Shortness of Human Life in general ; we shall
In the fourth Place be never troubled or concerned at either the Shortness or Uncertainty of our own in particular.
particular. We shall no more complain that our Life is but a Span, though a Span that compasses innumerable Sorrows. On the contrary we shall consider and apply each of these as a Remedy to the other. For does not the very Shortness of our *Lives abate it's Miseries? And do not its
many Miseries commend its Shortness ? Lord, we “confess thy Decrees are just, and ourselves " the Cause of all our Miseries : We facri“ fice our Youth to Sport and Folly, and
our manly Years to Lust and Pride : We
spend our old Age in Avarice and Craft, “ and begin not to live till we are ready to " die. Then we bewail the Shortness of our
Time, when ourselves have prodigally
or thrown it away.
We lead a loose and SERM.
XVI. " negligent Life, and then complain that “ Death takes us unawares.Our Days
perhaps are too few to grow rich; or to “ satisfie the Ambition of a haughty Spirit : " But to be taught the Love of God, and " the meek and humble Life of Jesus, re~ quires not so much a Number of Years, " as the faithful Endeavours of a pious Mind. « Would we bestow on the Improvements " of our Souls, the Time we vainly trifle
away; our Days would be short enough, « not to seem tedious, yet long enough to “ finish our appointed Task.”
But neither, I say, if the former good Use be made of the Uncertainty of Life in general, Thall we complain of our Ignorance of the particular Time and Manner of our own particular Deaths, as when and how it is we are to die. We shall rather, (provided we are duly prepared for it) rest satisfied and content with the Thoughts, that come it when, or howfoever it will, it will most assuredly prove our Gain. For [to speak a little more in the lofty Strains of the same pious Soul,} “ If it be“ fall us in our Age it will be a Haven of
Repose, and ought to be welcome after so “ long a Voyage. If in our Youth, it will
prevent a thousand Miscarriages, a thousand Dangers of ruining our Souls. If by an ordinary Sickness, it is the Course of Nature; if by an outward Violence it is not without the Permission of Heaven. No
Matter how late the Fruit be gathered, if “ still it go on in growing better; no Mat
ter how foon it fall from the Tree, if not blown down before it is ripe. Therefore, O most just but secret Providence, who governest all things by the Counsel of thy Will; whose powerful Hand can wound and heal, lead down to the Grave and bring back again! Behold to thee we bow our Heads, and freely submit our dearest
Concerns. Strike, as thou pleasest, our oc
Health, our Lives; we cannot be safer than at thy Disposal. Only these few Requests we humbly make, which O may thy Clemency vouchsafe to hear : Cut us
not off in the midst of our Folly, nor suf“ fer us to expire with our Sins unpardoned: “ But make us, Lord, firft ready for thy“ felf, then take us to thy self in thine own