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thee, yet will I not be offended : though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” This was he that trembled at the voice of a damsel, whose fall and apostasy was as remarkable as his confidence was great; so that he who thinketh he standeth, should take heed lest he fall, Rom. ix. '
• There is no good-natured child, but is vexed to live amongst such as curse and reproach its parents, and if it should happen to be concerned unawares in the offence, or to occasion the death of him from whom it had its being, it will feel an eternal displeasure. Now, it is certain, that whilst we live in this world, we must spend our time amongst those that blaspheme the holy name of God, and abuse the glory of his eternal Godhead. Moreover, vice and corruption are so universal, that we ourselves offend this Father of mercies and compassions; we add sin to sin, and complete the measure of out iniquities.
Let us therefore conclude from hence, believing souls, that death is not to be feared as an evil, or a calamity, but that it is rather desirable as an advantage, and a blessing. For seeing that it is to be longed for, because it frees us from all the mischiefs and sufferings of the world; we are rather to seek it with God's good leave, because it closeth our eyes, and conveys out of our sight all the sins and abominations that are in the world, and because it stops our ears, and hinders us from hearing the impieties and the filthy discourses that infect the air. Since death is to be embraced with joy, because it delivers our bodies from the diseases that torment them, and our minds from the cares and displeasures that vex and afflict them, it deserves to be welcomed with greater expressions of gladness, because it delivers us from all remains of sin, and puts a period to our natural corruption : So that it is to be esteemed, and looked upon, as the death and destruction of the old man, rather than the death of a true believer.
Samson Samson rejoiced in his death, because he knew, that in dying, bis mortal enemies should die also, and be destroyed with him. We have more cause to rejoice at our death, and to give God thanks at that time; since in our dying, or ra. ther in passing from death to life, we may see the destruction of all the dangerous enemies of our salvation, who are more dreadful to us than the Philistines were to Samson. All the most cruel and barbarous men in the world are not so much to be feared, as the lusts of our filthy flesh, that put out the eyes of our understanding, that cause us to be the devil's sport, and to worship many false gods.
· We commonly run out with haste from a place infected with the plague: And should we not make as much speed, by our vows and prayers, to get out of the world, since vice is so infectious and universal all over it, that so many thon, sand souls are therewith miserably spoiled; since the world is a Babylon, where all manner of debauchery, vice, and folly, are mixed together; where injustice and impiegy reign? Have you not greater cause to be transported with joy, when God delivers us from our woeful captivity, than the children of Israel had, when it pleased him to call them out of Baby: lon? Should they not sing to him, as the Israelites, when the Lord brought them back, and restored them to Sion, We were as those that dream: then were our mouths full of laughter, and our tongues with songs of triumph ? :
In short, as the Lord Jesus, when he had restored Lazar rus to life, and taken him out of his grave, had compassion on him, and could not see him any longer wrapped up in his winding-sheet, and tied with a napkin; therefore he commanded, “Loose him, and let him go;" Thus this merciful Lord, who hath made us to be partakers of the first resurrection, and called our souls out of the poisome grave of our lusts, is moved with compassion for us, when he sees these
wretched souls drag about them the relics of sin, and some remains of that corruption in which they were wrapped. Therefore he will cause them to hear his sweet and comfortable voice, “ Loose them, and let them go." Let them go to the eternal mansions, to the city of the living God, to the heavealy Jerusalem, to the glorious companies of angels, and to the church and congregation of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven.
A Prayer and MedITATION for a true Christian, who com
forts himself with this Consideration, That Death shall deliver him from Sin, that reigns so much in the World, and from all Remains of his wretched Corruption.
Most gracious High-priest, holy, innocent, separated
from 'sinners, exalted above all heavens, who art now shining in light and glory, look upon me from thy sanctuary, and have compassion on my wretched state. Thou understandest well the cause of my grief, O Lord, who searchest the heart, and readest my most secret thoughts, that I grieve to see so much injustice and impiety reigning this day in the world ; to see vice and wickedness defacing thy holy church. But that which chiefly increases my pain and aggravates my displeasure is, to find myself guilty, and spotted with the general corruption, and my flesh warring and struggling against the Spirit. The lusts of the flesh not only disturb me, but they get many times the victory, and insult over mine infirmities. Sin appears to me, not only in all its hellish deformity, so that I am thereby ashamed of myself; but I also ackriowledge, to the praise of thy grace, that all that is best in me cannot endure an exact inquisition of thy justice. Alas, my God! how imperfect is my piety! how languishing is my devotion! I worship thee too much for custom, and in a very slighe manner. I often praise thee with my tongue;
and honour thee with my lips, whilst my heart is far from thee. The love that I bear to thee is not pure and fervent; and my charity, instead of being burning, is quite cold, or lukewarm. I have not a sufficient trust upon thy promises, and upon thy fatherly care; my hope is not settled, it doth not fill my soul with heavenly joys and comforts. Thine eyes, O Lord, that see all the secret closets of my heart, and pierce into the depths, are too holy and pure to pass over the sight of evils, and to approve of the ill-favoured features of Satan, yet imprinted in me. Thou discoverest not only my sins, iniquities, and all my evil deeds, but thou also beholdest all the spots and imperfections of my best performances, and of my most glorious acts. My Lord and my God, I am not only grieved to see so much sin in the world, in the church, and in myself, but I am also troubled, that I have not grief enough; that my soul is not sufficiently vexed, as that of righteous Lot; that the zeal of thine house doth not eat me up, as it did the man after thine own heart; that mine eyes are not become a well-spring of tears, as those of the prophet; that I am not heartily concerned for thy church, as thine holy apostle; and that I do not sigh and cry, as thy servants whom thou didst mark with the letter Tau. O wonderful Lord! since it is thy pleasure, wherefore do I not embrace thee with a lively faith, and a sincere repentance? Wherefore do I not strive, by prayers and supplications, to obtain from thee thy most precious blessings, an inward change of myself and spirit, that I may beartily love, fear, and adore thee, as thou deservest? O Lord, I find thou hast not forsaken me, but hast commissioned Death to convey me out of this troublesome and sor. rowful abode, to destroy all my mortal enemies, my sins and lusts, and advance me to the freedom of thy children. I am not disturbed at the approach of so great a benefactor, that rejoiceth my heart, and causeth me to embrace and welcome its arrival as thy messenger, sent to draw me out of this Egypt of cruelty and oppression, out of this Babylon of vice
änd abomination. I am ready, Lord; when wilt thou free me from these chains and fetters of mortality, to ascend up to my God and Saviour, who is ready to embrace me? Dispatch to me some of thy blessed angels, who may carry me up to thy holy mountain, to thine heavenly Jerusalem, to thy glorious paradise, where no impurity can be admitted, no serpent to seduce us, nor temptations to prevail upon us, where I shall never offend thee, not grieve thy holy Spirit, whereby I am sealed to the day of redemption. O my God! I am weary to hear thy holy name so often blasphemed, and to see so much impiety and wickedness reigning every where in the world. Haste my departure hence, and the accomplishment of all the glorious promises of salvation to thy church and people ; when I shall behold thy face continually, love thee with a perfect love, and worship thee without disturbance in the society of the glorified spirits, and holy angels; when I shall sing forth thy praises in heaven, be clothed with the white robes of thy holy martyrs, and with the seraphim attend upon thy magnificent throne. O my God! grant that thy holy zeal, kindled in my soul, may serve me as a fiery chariot, and a sacred flame, to carry and hasten me up to thy celestial palace, where thou hast prepared for me an eternal mansion, and a blessed inheritance: Amen.
CHAP. XXII. · The Tenth Consolation is, the Glory and Happiness of cur Souls
at their Departure cui of the Body. :
TF there were neither punishment nor torment after this .. life to be feared, the wicked and unbelievers, who pros?
per in the world, might justly esteem themselves the happiest of all men. And if there were neither glory nor rewards to be expected after death, the righteous and the faithful, who 10, 3 B