Page images

this stony heart, and cause it to yield penitenttears: but rather give m e, instead of this hard heart, another fashioned after thine own image; an heart that may be inflamed with love and zeal for thee. O my Redeemer, thou hast completed the work of my salvation, by spilling thine own blood to atone for us. Continue that good work in us. Sanctify my soul and body, and make me a new creature. Mortify this wicked flesh, with all its lusts, that the life I shall lead may be in imitation of the holy Jesus. Take possession of me by the direction and government of thy blessed Spirit, that I may detest and shun all appearances of evil, and the garments de.. fled with sin. O let the thoughts of death, thy holy fear, the misery of departing sinners, and the happiness of such as die in thy favour, be entertained continually in my mind, that I may renounce all impiety and worldly lusts, and finish my latter course in sobriety, justice, and religious duties. But chiefly, let charity influence my affections and actions ; for such sacrifices are acceptable to thee. O merciful God, the great business of life is quickly finished; my days are but' short, and I know not how soon thou wilt take me away. Assist me therefore in the performance of what thou require est from me, and accomplish in me thy good work, that at thy coming I may not to be surprised or troubled, being diligently employed in thy service. O my gracious and heavenly Father, vouchsafe unto me all those divine qualifications needful to dispose me for thy eternal communion, and

the society of thy blessed saints, that are gone before me; bat at my departure, my Saviour may receive and welcome my soul with a “Come good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Amen.



The Sixth Remedy against the Fears of Death is, to repose our.

salves upon God's good Providence.

COME persons there are so brutish and stupid, that they

never think upon the great end and design of their creation, and are not able to give a just account wherefore God hath put them into the world; carnal and earthly minds, who imagine that they were created for themselves, as brute beasts, only to eat and drink. Such are mentioned by St. Paul; their god is their belly, and their end is eternal misery. But there are also some wise and virtuous souls, that are continually me. ditating upon the favours they receive from heaven, which they employ to their right and proper use. Such celestial understandings, being enlightened from above, consider very well, that they are not born for themselves, but for their country, for their parents, for their friends, and chiefly to serve God and his church on earth. Therefore they desire to live only to glorify their Creator, and advance his kingdom,

When this good desire is well governed, it is acceptable ta God, as a sweet smelling sacrifice. This was David's earnest desire, in Psa. cxix. “Let my soul live, that I may praise thee.” This holy zeal forced so many bitter tears from king Hezekiah in his sickness, and caused him to intreat most earnestly to live yet longer in the world. This wise and religious prince well foresaw the fearful evils, the grievous confusion, and the abominable idolatry, that was likely to succeed after his death, in the kingdom of Judah. He was therefore very desirous to glorify God on earth, and to accomplish the reformation which he had begun. He desired so have chil. dren, whom he might teach to fear God with all their hearts, and to serve him according to his holy and divine will, that


he might cause piety to continue in his house and royal family. He discovers this holy desire in his divine hymn, which he sung unto God, after his miraculous recovery : “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness, but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of destruction; for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back; for the grave cannot praise thee, (Isa. xxxviii.) Death cannot celebrate thee, they that go down to the pit cannot hope for thy truth: the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day, the father to the children shall make known thy truth. The Lord was ready to save me, therefore will I sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of my life in the house of the Lord.” We find the same earnest desire in St.Paul; for when he looks upon him. self, and upon the miseries that attend him on earth, he lifts up his eyes to see the heavenly bliss that waiteth for him above; he desires to depart out of this earthly tabernacle, and to be with Christ, and acknowledgerh that it would be his great advantage. But when he looks upon the church of Christ, his desire of the salvation and instruction of bis brethren causeth him to prefer their comfort to his own happiness and joy. “ It is (saith he) more expedient for you that I remain in the flesh; and I know for certain, that I shall abide and remain with you for your advantage, and the joy of your faith."

This desire of life, with an intent of glorifying God, is good and holy: but it is no easy task to keep it within just and lawful bounds; for very often it becomes vicious, when it is stirred up by a fond love of our own persons, which makes us loth to die.

For example, when a great prince, animated with an heroical virtue, is engaged in a war for the preservation of his subjects, and for the delivery of many afflicted people from oppression and tyranny; if God blesseth his arms, and causeth his glorious designs to succeed, he will not be pleased, if


Death at that instant offer to cross him, to break in pieces his victorious arm, to put an end to his conquests, and to cast his crown to the ground. He may justly complain in this manner : Must I now leave off such a notable and brave. design? Must I here stop in the midst of such a glorious race? Must Death bury, with my body, the expectations of so many good men ? I am afraid that all my labours will vanish away with my breath. I have just cause to fear that my fall will draw after me the destruction of many poor people that depend upon me. I fear that oppression and tyranny, will resume fresh spirits and a greater boldness, and prove for the future more grievous and insufferable. O cruel and inhuman Death! by taking away my life thou bringest my friends to execution, and the arrows that thou stickest in my heart pierce the souls of many innocent people.

· Likewise he that is promoted to be the king's vicegerent in a province, or to be a governor of a rich country, an important place, may be grieved, because Death snatcheth him away in the midst of his business, especially if it be in trou. blesome times, and if he sees none of a sufficient ability to succeed him. Must I, will such an one say, must I quit so soon this glorious employment ? must I so quickly leave my princely service, and forsake so many poor people, as a flock without a shepherd? Death, how hateful and odious art thou! thou delightest to bring all things into confusion and trouble.

Thus a brave general of a victorious army, who being full of courage manageth a successful war for the honour of his prince, and the advantage of his country, cannot but complain against Death, when he comes to subdue him, before he hath totally subdued and overcome his enemies; especially if the times be so unlappy that none is able to succeed him in that employment, he will be ready to break forth into complaints: Must I leave off so many glorious designs ? Must I forsake


my m ost faithful soldiers, and abandon them to the mercy of their enemies, or to the capricious humour of an unexperienced successor ? O Death ! full of envy! wilt thou pluck out of my hands so soon this conquering sword, and cut off with one blow of thy scythe so many great expectations ? In the same manner he that sits in the most honourable seat of judicature, as a Judge, a President, or a Counsellor, or any other chief magistrate, will doubtless mourn if Death seizeth upon him in the flower of his age; especially if he fears that after him corrupt men will succeed, who may be likened to whitened walls. Must I, will he say, leave so soon this noble o fface, in which I took so much delight ? O inconsiderate Death ! why dost thou not suffer me to wear my purple,un

such time as I shall be weary to bear it? Why dost thou co Permit me to sit here upon this magnificent seat, until Itumble of with old age ?

· brought Death's approa soon quit the my great work, by which am afraid, when

ikewise a faithful minister of the gospel, when he peres the work of the Lord to prosper in his hands, Satan "Ng from heaven by his means as lightning, and Dagon

ght upon his face to the ground, may justly wonder at th’s approaches, and speak after this manner : Must I so

quit the duties of this holy function, in which I took S teatest delight ? Must I break off from this sacred -> by which I advanced so happily the glory of God? I

Faid, when I am gone, ravening wolves will enter into Lord's flock, and a terrible night of ignorance will over

the La shado

our posterity.

[ocr errors]

Tbusa fathe and h is childrer bowels move, ar sig b forlorn w bearted parts :6 .

U sa father of a family, who passionately loves his wife

is children, shall never see Death, but sball feel all his Is move, and his heart tormented with grief. He will D ut such expressions as these : Must I forsake a poor

wife, swimming in tears ? Must I leave my tendered parents, who found my life a comfort, and will find


« PreviousContinue »