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greater and longer, than they were before. This is a most lively representation of the infirmities of the decrepit age of man; wherein as deep calls unto deep, Psal. xlii. 7. fo one grief, pain, weakness upon another, until all the waves and billows thereof are gone over him.
Velut unda fupervenit undam. And if nature shall be able at any time to gather up herself, and unite all her force, to give a glimmering light through the darkness that oppresseth her; yet it it cannot long continue, but a greater darkness will presently succeed, as it is in the light of a candle, which is almost consumed in its focket; sometime fome light appears, then presently it is darkened again, and some such interchanges may be for a season made, but it will grow darker and darker, until at length it be quite extinguished. And that wonderful redintegration of the sight and teeth of the old minister in Yorkshire (like all those lightenings before death) was but the last and utmost endeavour of perishing nature, Et quasi mox emorituræ lucernæ supremus fulgor. If old Jacob shall be able to strengthen himself, and fit up in his bed, at the news of his son's approach to visit him, Gen. xlviii. 2. yet his weakness must return again, and he must lie down in his bed again, and again, until at length he lie down in the grave.
If art shall be able to contribute any thing to the present allay of any of the miseries of this ftate, yet they will surely and unavoidably return again; if seeing delightful objects, or beloved friends, if hearing of news, or pleasant difcourse, or melodious musick; if the pratling of grandchildren may give any divertisement or refreshment to the mind : if a more suitable air, convenient bathings, unctions, or frictions ; if an easier bed, if favoury meat, Gen. xxvii. 4. or delightful wine, or any thing else, outward, or inward, that art can find put, may give any ease or refreshment to the body, yet the comfort of them will be but for a small season, and the former troubles will certainly return again.
If a young virgin, lying in David's bosom, shall cherish him a while, and administer that heat and comfort to him that cloaths could not do, 1 Kings i. 3. yet it must be but for a time, and David must grow cold, and chill, and comfortless again, and that more and more, until he be taken into the house of all living. And this is the great misery that attends all the miseries of this miserable state, that they are altogether incurable ; and though some refreshment may sometime seem to interpose for a season ; yet they will all most certainly return again, as the clouds after the rain,
In the day when the, keepers of the house mall
tremble, and the strong men mall bow themselves, and the grinders wall cease, because they are few; and those that look out of the windows be darkened.
Aving sufficiently before shewed us, what
the infirmities of the mind are in this condition, he comés now to treat of those of the body; wherein the body is most aptly compared to a building, or an house going daily to decay, and that cannot be repaired. And this fimilitude of the body, whereby it is compared to an house, is most scriptural. David faith, Thy flatutes have been my fongs in the house of my pilgrimage, Psal. cxix. 54. And Paul faith, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, 1 Cor.
Now the decays of this house in old age are many; four of which, viz. those in respect of the keepers of the house, the strong men, the grinders, and the lookers out of the windows, are mentioned in this verse, in the explication of which I shall be the briefer ; becaufe what I understand by them all, in this verse, hath been for the substance of them, formerly treated of by others. And here the current of
interpreters hath run much-what the same way, and left behind them less obfcurity in these words, which are indeed in themselves the plainest that are contained in the whole alle gory;
The keepers of the house ball tremble. I could willingly consent to those, that by this expreffion would have the ribs to be meant, were the predicate as applicable as the subject; the thorax doth most fafely keep, and excellently well defend the principal parts therein contained. And Job speaks of the fence of the bones, as of the finews: Thou hast fenced me. with bones and with finews, Job x. 11. but how they shall be said to tremble, is not to be made appear; forasmuch as experience doth suffi. ciently confirm, that they stand as fixed in old as in young, and more fixed too. And indeed their articulation, both to the sternon, and also (and especially) to the vertebræ of the back, is such, that they admit of very little and obfcure motion, but not at all of this trembling. And therefore we must find out some other parts of the body which are the constituted keepers of the house; and they certainly can be no other than the hands. Now the anatomical hand contains not only the carpus, metacarpus & phalanges digitorum, but the whole superior artus; all those higher parts of the limbs that are divided from the trunk oi the body, and
therefore it is well divided in brachium, cubitum, & extremam manum. And these are they which most properly are stiled the keepers or defenders of the house; and that which makes it the more unquestionable is, because they answer so directly to the strong men, as it follows in the next words. And these hands and arms do several ways keep and defend the house. And there is nothing more frequent in scripture than the expressing of defence by the power of the hands and arms; when Jacob blessed his son Joseph, he spake how he was defended from them that beset him, and faith, His bow abode in strength, the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob, Gen. xlix. 24. And as if there were no other way of expresling preservation, defence, and deliverance, these members are almost always mentioned, and most frequently attributed to God himself; They got not the land into podelion by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them; but thy right-hand, and thine arm, because thou had a favour for them, Pfal. xliv. 3. And if there be any impotency in the hands and arms, a man is no longer able to defend himself ; Job hath a most remarkable expresfion to confirm this truth; if ever he used his defence and help to oppress the fatherless, he wisheth that now he might be left altogether helpless, and that his defenders might be taken from him, or rendered wholly unserviceable to