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there are two very diftant parts of it, so 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 miserable 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 Jesus Christ, 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 wise cast out. Here is the fure bargain for eternity. Enter personally into the covenant of grace, by believing on Christ.
2. Choose and enter speedily on the real way, the way of holiness, Ifa.xxxv.8. For “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord,” Heb. xii. 14.
mind the holy city in the other world, ye must be holy in all conversation. If ye hold the way of looseness and licentiousness, profanity, or formality, it will undoubtedly land you in the unclean place in the other world. As ye sow ye will reap.
Secondly, Improve it to a lowering of your esteem of this present world, and weaning your hearts from it, 1 Johnji. 15. A right view of the other world would make this with all its gaudy show 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, 13. Take ye that advice, if ye be wise, Mat. vi. 33. “Seek ye firft the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Let the riches, honours, and pleasures of the other world be the great conquest you are set for; and the things of a present life only a by-band work.
2. Set not your heart upon it, but use it passingly, I'Cor. vii. 29,-31. Carry yourselves not as na. tives, but as pilgrims and strangers 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 possessions in it, and your expectations from it. The former are very precarious, which he may soon 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 yourfelves, according to the poffeflions and expectations from the other world.
Thirdly, Improve it to a Christian bearing of your afflictions with patience, Luke xxi. 19. Jam. v: 7. If we observe well, we will see that many times it is a falling into aflicting circumstances in this world, that makes us look first after the other world ; and the fame is what makes people look to it again, after prosperity 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 the patiently. For,
1. We will thereby find them to be comparatively light burdens. That which makes our afflictions to very heavy, and us so uneasy under them, is the weighing them in the balance with other things of this world; our sorrow 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 af.
on, that they may be made to murmur, spurn, rage, and quarrel. But lay them in the balance with the other world's joys and sorrows, they will be light as a feather, 2 Cor. iv, 17, 18.
2. We will find them thereby to be short also, ib, The afflicted are ready to cry out, their trouble never
ends, they can see no outgate. Why, but because they look not to the other world, a view of which would soon make them see they are mistaken. Job iii. 17. “ There the wicked cease from troubling ; and there the weary be at reft.” What are our amictions 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 easily digests it, knowing that he will be easy there ; if they be carrying him away to prison, he easily digests it, seeing that it will be worse with him. In both cases 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 see the man of sorrows, the man of God's right hand there, and all his happy attendants persons that came out of great tribulations, Rev. vii. 14.; the sore tried Abraham, the burdened man Moses, the afflicted David, the perfecuted Paul, the mournful Heman, &c. If ye look to the lower part of it, there ye will see 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 deliciously every day, &c. A ferious look of this sort to the other world, would make us embrace our cross, and say, Lord, let me not taste of the dainties of the wicked, nor get my heaven here.
Lastly, 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 Ami&tions are God's hewing tools, whereby he smooths people for that building; and rough and hard ftones we are, that take much hewing. Instruments
of our afflictions are but the hands he employs for fmoothing the stones for his building.
Lastly, Improve it to suitable 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 personal. ly enter into it, by believing on Christ. Ye must be converted, ye must be born -again, and become new creatures.
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 standing controversy betwixt God and you; and timely dilpatch your generation work, and watch and wait till your change come. Consider 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
The substance of some Sermons preached at Etterick, in
the year 1729.
PSALM xxvi. 19. Gather not my soul with finners. WHOEVER believes and considers the do&trine of
the other world, must needs improve it to a horror of the state of the ungodly there, on the one hand, and a desire of the state of the godly on the other. He cannot miss to join the Psalmist in this text,
saying, Gather not my soul with finners. In which words we have to observe,
1. Something taken for granted, or supposed, name. ly, that the souls of men are to be gathered, each to those of their own fort, which is at death, Gen. xxv. 8. Now there is a promiscuous 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 miserable
company, every one to those of their own sort. 2. Something expressed, namely, a horror of the congregation of finners in the other world. “Lord, (says he) gather not my soul among their souls; when I remove hence, let me not take up my lodging among them; let me not drop into their company, state and condition in the other world.”
3. The connection. This request comes in natively on a reflection the Pfalmift makes on the difpofition of his soul, and his way, in this world. His conscience witnesseth his dislike of associating with the ungodly, ver. 4, 5. “I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I
go in with dissemblers; I have hated the con• gregation of evil doers, and will not fit with the wicked;" his love and liking to the presence of God and the congregation of the saints, 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 soul loves thy house; let me not be with finners excluded eternally from thy presence. The text plainly affords the following doctrine, vit
. Doct. Now is the time that people should be in care and concern, that their souls be not gathered with fina ners in the other world.
In discoursing from this doctrine, we shall,