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membered by us: days of outward darkness, the darkness of outward trouble and affli&ion; and days of inward darkness, the darkness of spiritual distress and dereli&tion; and indeed 'tis of marvellous use to us in our prosperity, to remember these days of darkness; but especially we should remember death and the grave.
We should carry a lively remembrance of these days of darkness daily upon us; and indeed our not remembering these days of darkness, is one great cause why we are so unready for death, and the grave, as we are.
When we are in the midst of our enjoyments, and the streams run pleasantly about us, we are too apt to forget these days of darkness; we are so taken with our earthly comforts, that we are loath to think of death, and eternity, putting. far from us the evil day; as those in their enjoyments did, Amos 6. 3. And therefore wħen these days come, they find us so unready, and our fpiritual concernments so discomposed as usually they do.
But (my beloved) as ever you would have all right and in order in your poor souls against a dying hour comes: let me recommend this to you, as one special help; maintain a deep and frequent rememberance of death and the grave upon your spirits ; remember the days of darkness, ‘and that especially these two ways.
1. Remember them so as to have them much in your meditation: be much and frequent in the contemplation of death and the grave. This the Holy Ghost calls a considering our latter end; and withal, mentions as a business of great importance to us, Deut. 32. 29. To consider, is to revolve a thing in our minds, and to keep it much in our thoughts and meditations.
And thus we should consider our latter end, and remember the days of darkness: this is that the faints of old have been much conversant in; they were much and frequent in the thoughts and meditations of death : as I might instance in the good old Patriarchs Job, David, and others: and 'tis what does marvellously conduce to our preparation for it.
The meditation of death (faith one) is life; it is that which greatly promotes our spiritual life; therefore, walk much among the tombs, and converse much and frequently with the thoughts of a dying hour.
2. Remember them so, as to have them daily in your expectation. In the midst of all your enjoyments, expe& death’s approach daily: this is called a waiting for our change. “ All the days of my “ appointed time, will I wait till my change 6 comes,” Job 14. 14. And we are commanded to wait for the coming of our Lord; as that which lies in the directest tendency to the exactest readi. ness and preparation for his coming, Luke, 12. 36. Expect death every hour (saith one) for 'tis every hour approaching thee: in the morning when thou. rifeít, think with thyself, this may be the last day: in the evening, when thou lieft down, think with thyself, this may be the last night I may ever have in this world. I know not when my Lord will come, whether in the morning, or in the evening, at midnight, or at the cock-crowing: therefore I will be always expecting his coming. Woe and alas for us! we are apt to talk of many years yet to come, as he did, Luke 12. g. whereas we should Live in the expectation of death every moment..
Thus let us consider the days of darkness, it will marvellously conduce to the preparation of the soul for them: the meditation and expectation of death.. will conduce much. (among others) to these four things:
1. It will conduce much to our humbling and felf-debasing: let a man own himself to be a mortal (faith Austin) and pride will, it must down. And:
think frequently of death, (faith another) and thou wilt easily bring down thy proud heart. Hence also, the confideration of death is often in scripture mentioned by the Holy Ghost, as an argument to make us humble; dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return, Gen. 3. 19. as elsewhere.
2. It will conduce much to the weaning of our hearts from this world, and the loosening of them from the things here below: the time is short (faith the apostle) what then? Why it remaineth, that they that have wives, be as though they had none; and those that weep, as though they wept not; and those that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not ; those that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it ; for the fashion of this world passeth away, 1 Cor. 7. 29, 30, 31.
He mentions the shortness of time, as that the meditation and expectation whereof, has the directest tendency in it, to wean and loosen the heart from all things here below. And indeed (as St. Bernard hath it) he easily contemns all things here, who looks upon himself as dying daily.
3. It will conduce much to engaging the heart to heaven, and the things of heaven, to a serious pursuit of a blessed eternity.
So we find, Heb. 11. 13. &c. These all died in the faith (saith the apostle) not having received the promises; but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them; and confessed, that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth ; that is, they were apprehensive they had but a little time to stay here: and what then? They desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: the apprehension they had of their departure hence, quickened them into earnest desires and pursuits after the better country, the heavenly land; and in. deed one great reason why we breath no more, and press no more after heaven, and a bleffed eternity, is, because we so feldom remembes these days of darkness.
4. It will conduce much to the quickening of the heart to duty, and to diligence and faithfulness
therein. Christ himself made use of it for this end: · I must work the works of him that fent me, while
it is day; the night cometh when no man can work, John 9. 4. Peter also, that holy apoftle made use of it to that end : I will not be negligent (faith he), to do so and so in the way of my duty, as knowing that I shall shortly put off this tabernacle, 2 Pet, 1. 12, 13, 14.
The consideration of the near approach of his death quickened him to his work and duty, And