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with finners in the other world. This due care and concern is very extenfive, and therefore I will branch out this exhortation in feveral particulars. And,
1. Lay the matter of the other world to heart, and be no longer careless about what shall be your lot in it, Rom. xiii. 11, 12. A careless unconcerned life about the other world, will make a frightful awaken. ing at death, Luke xii. 20. If you were to be removed out of a farm or a cot-house, you would look out for another before hand: and fince you are to remove out of this world, look out for a comfortable settlement in the other, and fhew yourselves men, wife men, and not fools.
2. Delay it no longer; for it is no due concern that admits of one day's delay; the reason is ere to-morrow come, your foul may be gathered with finners, and ftaked down with them for eternity, Heb. iii. 15. "To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." No doubt there are many in hell, who once hoped never to come there, and to have fet all to rights before gathering time; but the mifery was, it came ere they were aware, and fwept them away with finners. They have been carried of in childhood, that hoped to be religious youths; and they have died in their youth who hoped to make all right by the time they should enter in age. The little fleep, the little flumber they indulged themselves in, proved their ruin; for their poverty came upon them as one that travelleth, and their want as an armed man.
3. Let your fouls be now gathered unto Christ by faith in the bond of the covenant, Gen. xlix. 10. He is the Captain of falvation, and none come to heaven but at his back, John xiv. 6. as the members of his myftical body, Eph. v. 23. Whofoever are not united to him, and brought perfonally within the bond of his covenant, will be left to be gathered with finners. Therefore confider the covenant offered to you
in the gospel, and fincerely take hold of it, as you would not be fo gathered.
4. Give up with the fociety of finners here, I mean not abfolutely; but make them no more your choice, your familiar companions; for death will gather every one to his own people; and therefore" he that walketh with wife men fhall be wife; but a companion of fools fhall be destroyed," Prov. xiii. 20. The bleffed man is known by the company he chufes, and most delights in, Pfal. i. 1. And he that is not concerned to feparate from the company of finners here, is in no due concern not to be gathered with them in the other world; for it is vain to think to live with finners, and die with faints.
5. Lay by your malignity against professors of religion, against serioufnefs, and godly exercifes. Calmly confider what ye would be at. Are you really not able to endure any appearance of religion, ferioufnefs, and godly exercifes? Then there is nothing for you, but to be gathered with finners in the other world, where you will fee nothing like it for ever. But if you have any the leaft thoughts or hopes of heaven, you are quite unreasonable to think to get there, while you bear fuch a grudge against the very firft draughts of that which is carried to perfection there. I wonder what fort of a heaven they imagine to themselves, that have a heart rifing at holinefs; what kind of men and women they expect to fee there, that are always fure to have a thrust at any ferious perfon here, however they have a vail to caft over the godlefs and profane.
6. Affociate yourselves with the godly; gather together with thofe that you would be gathered with in the other world, Pfal. cxix. 63. "I am a companion of all them that fear thee," fays David, "and of them that keep thy precepts." If you mind to lodge with them at the journey's end, it is reasonable to travel. on the way with them too, and not with those that
are holding a quite contrary route. Let not the faults you efpy about them make you despise their fociety; there are no faultlefs companions to be had in this world; but it must be a dreadful caft of spirit, that makes every body's faults tolerable but theirs. That muft fpring from a deep-rooted enmity. But a lover of the King will reverence his children, though in rags; and God tries your love to him by the faults he has left in his people, 1 John v. 1. Pfal. xvi. 2. 3.
7. Do not make light of withdrawing or absenting from the congregation of the Lord's people in public ordinances. The Sabbath congregations are the thing that in all the earth is likeft to heaven; and therefore they are that which has most of the faints heart, Pfal. xxvi. 8. "Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth." Let the thoughts of the gathering with the one great congregation in the upper houfe, recommend the gathering together with the congregations in the lower. From whatever principles or motives people forfake the congregations of the faints here in public ordinances, they muft either be gathered with them in the other world, or with finners; there will be no feparate heaven for them there.
Laftly, Carefully keep off the way of finners here, and let your whole life be a going forth by the footfteps of the flock, Cant. i. 7. 8. Heb. vi. 12. As is your course now, fo muft your end be. If you go the way of finners, in this world, ye will be gathered with them in the other; if ye go the way of faints, ye will be gathered with them there.
To enforce this exhortation.
(1.) Confider the importance of your gathering in the other world, than which nothing can be greater. You have had the other world defcribed to you in both its parts; and I may obteft you by all the joys and glories of heaven, that you lay this matter to heart; and by the difmalness of the place, the horrors
of the fociety, and the dreadfulness of the ftate of finners in hell, that you be in concern that your fouls be not gathered there with them.
(2.) Make of your other concerns what you will, if you fee not to this in the first place, ye are ruined to all intents and purposes, Matth. xvi. 26. "For what is a man profited, if he fhall gain the whole world, and lose his own foul? or what fhall a man give in exchange for his foul?" Nothing will compenfate this lofs.
(3.) This is the only proper time for that concern, wherein it may be effectual; 2 Cor. vi. 2. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of falvation." If you miss it, in vain will ye cry; for a deaf ear will be given to all your cries, Prov. i. 24. and downwards.
Laftly, The gathering there will be eternal, and unalterable for ever; and therefore it highly concernsyou now, that your fouls be not gathered with finners
Wherefore, upon the whole, let me obtain of you,y. (1.) That you will take fome ferious thoughts of the other world in both parts of it. (2.) That you will inquire what cafe you are in for it. And, (3.) That you will lay down meafares timely, that your fouls be not gathered with finners there. May the Lord perfuade and incline your hearts unto this courfe.
RAISING A GOOD NAME, THE BEST BALANCE FOR
THE GOOD MAN'S DYING-DAY BETTER THAN HIS
The fubftance of feveral Sermons preached at Etterick, in the year 1730.
ECCL. vii. 1.
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death, than the day of one's birth.
TEVER man more livelily represented the vanity of this world and human life, than Solomon did, whofe wisdom and wealth gave him the faireft occafion to discover the best that could be made of it. He represents it in its beft fhapes, as a very heap of va nity and vexation, in the preceding part of this book. And indeed the vanity of human life is undeniable. Man, as to this world, is born crying, lives complaining, and after all, dies difappointed. But is there no remedy, no folid confolation in this cafe? Yes, but it muft be brought from the confideration of the other world, and this life improved for reaching a happy life there. "A good name is better than precious vinte ment, and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
The scope of thefe words is, to point men away from the vanities of this life, and from this life itself, unto fomething that is better and will give reft. Is any man affected with the vanity of human life, and would fain know what is beft for him? Then let him know,
1. A good name is beft, "better than precious ointment," which was a thing highly prized in the eastern countries. A good name is that favoury character among good men which rifeth from a good life,