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there are two very diftant parts of it, fo there are two as really different ways thereto, viz. the broad way, and the narrow way, Matth. vii. 13, 14. If you take the broad way, it will have a miferable ending; if the narrow, a happy ending. Therefore choose well speedily, and enter on the happy way without delay. And,
1. Choose and enter speedily into the personal way, the Lord Jefus Chrift, John xiv. 6. Unite with him by faith, Eph. ii. 17. He is Lord of the other world, and heir of all things; match with him, and heaven shall be your dowery. The keys of hell and death hang at his girdle; but them that come unto him he will in no wife caft out. Here is the fure bargain for eternity. Enter perfonally into the covenant of grace, by believing on Christ.
2. Choose and enter speedily on the real way, the way of holinefs, Ifa. xxxv. 8. For "without holiness no man shall fee the Lord," Heb. xii. 14. If ye mind the holy city in the other world, ye must be holy in all converfation. If ye hold the way of loofeness and licentioufnefs, profanity, or formality, it will undoubtedly land you in the unclean place in the other world. As ye fow ye will reap.
Secondly, Improve it to a lowering of your esteem of this present world, and weaning your hearts from it, 1 Johnii. 15. A right view of the other world would make this with all its gaudy fhow little in our eyes.
1. Seek not your portion in.it. Leave that to those who have no expectation of the treasure in heaven; make the best of it they can, they will make a forry portion of it, Pfal. xvii. 14, 15. Take ye that advice, if ye be wife, Mat. vi. 33. "Seek ye firft the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things fhall be added unto you." Let the riches, honours, and pleasures of the other world be the great conqueft you are fet for; and the things of a prefent life only a by-hand work.
2. Set not your heart upon it, but ufe it paffingly, 1 Cor. vii. 29,-31. Carry yourselves not as na tives, but as pilgrims and ftrangers in it. What a folly would it be for the traveller, to let his heart go out on the conveniences of the inn,. which he is quickly to leave; on the pleasant places by the way, where he is but paffing?
3. Do not value yourselves upon your poffeffions in it, and your expectations from it. The former are very precarious, which he may foon be deprived of; the latter very uncertain, wherein ye are fair to be disappointed. The world's mountains in expectation, often dwindle into molehills of enjoyment. But value yourselves, according to the poffeffions and expectations from the other world.
Thirdly, Improve it to a Chriftian bearing of your afflictions with patience, Luke xxi. 19. Jam. v. 7. If we observe well, we will fee that many times it is a falling into afflicting circumftances in this world, that makes us look firft after the other world; and the fame is what makes people look to it again, after profperity has made them forget it. And having be lievingly looked into the other world, when we look back again to our afflictions, we will be the more able to bear them patiently. For,
1. We will thereby find them to be comparatively light burdens. That which makes our afflictions fo very heavy, and us fo uneafy under them, is the weighing them in the balance with other things of this world; our forrow and others joy, our poverty and others wealth, our wants and others enjoyments; that is the devil's rack, which he aims to put the afflicted on, that they may be made to murmur, fpurn, rage, and quarrel. But lay them in the balance with the other world's joys and forrows, they will be light as a feather, 2 Cor. iv, 17, 18.
2. We will find them thereby to be fhort alfo, ib. The afflicted are ready to cry out, their trouble never
ends, they can fee no outgate. Why, but because they look not to the other world, a view of which would foon make them fee they are mistaken. Job iii. 17. "There the wicked eeafe from troubling; and there the weary be at reft." What are our afflictions here of the longest continuance, but like the inconveniencies a traveller meets with on the road? If he is going to his father's house, he eafily digests it, knowing that he will be eafy there; if they be carrying him away to prifon, he easily digefts it, feeing that it will be worse with him. In both cafes he bears it, knowing. he is not to stay with them.
3. We will thereby fee ourselves the more nearly allied to the faints in glory in the other world, by companionship in tribulation. Where are they in the other world, that had their good things in this world, and where are they that had their evil things? Luke xvi. 25. If ye look through the upper part of that world, there ye will fee the man of forrows, the man of God's right hand there, and all his happy attendants. perfons that came out of great tribulations, Rev. vii. 14.; the fore tried Abraham, the burdened man Mofes, the afflicted David, the perfecuted Paul, the mournful Heman, &c. If ye look to the lower part of it, there ye will fee those that spent their days in wealth, and in a moment went down to the grave, Job xxi. 13. in a merry jovial life; the dancing Herodias, the rich glutton that fared delicioufly every day, &c. A ferious look of this fort to the other world, would make us embrace our crofs, and fay, Lord, let me not taste of the dainties of the wicked, nor get my heaven here.
Laftly, We will thereby fee ourselves a fitting and fquaring for heaven. Stones to be laid in the temple above must be cut and hewed before they come there Afflictions are God's hewing tools, whereby he fmooths people for that building; and rough and hard ftones we are, that take much hewing. Inftruments
of our afflictions are but the hands he employs for fmoothing the ftones for his building.
Laftly, Improve it to fuitable endeavours to prepare for that other world. If ye prepare not for it, ye do not believe the report of it. And,
1. Labour to be habitually prepared for it. Get out. of your natural state, into the state of grace; live no longer without the bond of the covenant, but perfonally enter into it, by believing on Chrift. Ye must be converted, ye must be born again, and become new
2. Labour to reach actual preparation for the other world, being always ready to go into it at a call. Let your thoughts dwell much upon it; carry yourselves as ftrangers in this world, let there be no ftanding controverfy betwixt God and you; and timely dif patch your generation work, and watch and wait till your change come. Confider what you have heard of the other world, and lay it to heart.
THE GREAT CARE AND CONCERN NOW, THAT Our SOULS BE NOT GATHERED WITH SINNERS IN THE OTHER WORLD, CONSIDERED AND IMPROVED.
The fubftance of fome Sermons preached at Etterick, in the year 1729.
PSALM XXVI. 19.
Gather not my foul with finners.
WHOEVER believes and confiders the doctrine of the other world, muft needs improve it to a horror of the state of the ungodly there, on the one hand, and a defire of the state of the godly on the other. He cannot miss to join the Pfalmift in this text,
faying, Gather not my foul with finners. In which words we have to obferve,
1. Something taken for granted, or supposed, namely, that the fouls of men are to be gathered, each to those of their own fort, which is at death, Gen. xxv. 8. Now there is a promifcuous multitude in this world, good and bad together, like corn and chaff in a barnfloor, or fishes in a net; but they are gathered in the other world, fome into the happy, others into the miferable company, every one to those of their own fort.
2. Something expreffed, namely, a horror of the congregation of finners in the other world. "Lord, (fays he) gather not my foul among their fouls; when I remove hence, let me not take up my lodging among them; let me not drop into their company, ftate and condition in the other world."
3. The connection. This request comes in natively on a reflection the Pfalmist makes on the difpofition of his foul, and his way, in this world. His conscience witneffeth his diflike of affociating with the ungodly, ver. 4, 5. “I have not fat with vain persons, neither will I go in with diffemblers; I have hated the con. gregation of evil doers, and will not fit with the wicked;" his love and liking to the prefence of God and the congregation of the faints, ver. 8. "Lord I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth." So he prays with hope, Gather not my foul with finners: q. d. Lord, I have no liking of the company of ungodly finners here; it is a burden to me in this world; let me not be shut up with them in the other world. My foul loves thy house; let me not be with finners excluded eternally from thy presence.
The text plainly affords the following doctrine, viz. DocT. Now is the time that people fhould be in care and concern, that their fouls be not gathered with finners in the other world.
In difcourfing from this doctrine, we shall,