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2. It is necessary to your getting safe through an ensnaring world ; therefore fays Chrift to his people, Cant. iv. 8. “ Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon ; look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir, and Hermon, from the lions dens, from the mountains of the leopards," if ye are left alone, ye will fall in the wilderness.
Lastly, Without communion with Christ here, there will be no communion with him in the other world, according to what the Psalmist says, Psal. lxxiii. 24. “ Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." Communion with Christ in grace here, is the foundation of communion with him in glory hereafter.
I close with these few directions.
1. Look for communion with Christ in the way of free grace and unhired love ; that he may come over mountains to you, mountains of guilt and unworthiness, as undeserving such a high privilege.
2. Seek it resolutely in all means of his appointment, going from one mean and ordinance to another till ye find him, as the spouse' did, Cant. iii. 1. and downwards. So may ye perservering succeed, whatever difficulties be in your way.
3. Be diligent observers of providences, and make a due improvement of them as means of communion with him, Psal. xcii. 4. and cvii. ult.
Lastly, Be habitually tender in your walk; keeping off from every thing that may grieve his Spirit, and propoke him to depart; acting in this case as the spoufe did, Cant. iii. 5. "I charge you, O ye daughters of Je. rusalem by the roes, and by the hinds of the fie!d, that ye ftir not ap, nor awake my love, till he please."
OPENED UP, URGED, AND ENFORCED.
The fubftance of several Sermons preached at Etterick in
the year 1730.
LUKE xii. 40.
at an bour when ye think not.
will it avail, if it issue not in preparing for our removal into it? That is certainly the use which all of us are to make of it, which we have in the words of the text. In which we have two things:
1. An alarm to be ready for a removal into the other world; · Be ye therefore ready also. In the parable of the rich man, ver. 16,-21. our Saviour had fhewn the dreadful surprising removal of secure finners into it, when they are not at all ready for it, but dreaming of a long continuance at ease here, which puts preparation for it out of their heads. And thence he proceeds to caution against inordinate care for this uncertain life, and to stir up to be ready, to be on the wing, for the other life, ver. 35.; and to be always ready, as those that are at an uncertainty as to the time of their removal. This is to be ready also, as well as the good. man of the house would be if he knew what hour the thief would come. - 2. The reason why we should be ready, always ready, never unprepared : “ For the Son of man cometh at an hour when we think not." Because we know not when we may be called off more than one knows what time of the night the thief will break in on his house. Now Christ the Son of man comes as a thief, at a time uncertain to us. There is a twofold coming of the Son of man. (1.) At the general judgment. (2.) At death. Both are to remove us into the other world; the word is general, agreeing to both ; and in point of our ma.
king ready they come to one, because whatever readi. ness we can be in for the general judgment, must be made before death, there being no access after that to make ready any more, but as the tree falls it lies. So we shall consider it as his coming at death, to carry us off hence. There are two things here:
ist, The certainty of our removal into the other world," The Son of man cometh ;' he will certain ly come, how long soever he may delay his coming. That is a tryft that cannot be broken.
2dly, The uncertainty of the time of it, as to us, however precisely it is appointed in the divine decree; he has not told us when it shall be, more than the thief tells the good-man when he is to make an attempt on his house. So that if there be any time when we are not ready, he may for any thing we know, as readily come then, as at any time. From the text ariseth this weighty point of do&rine, viz.
Doct. Such is the certainty of our removal into the other world, and the uncertainty of the time of that read moval, that we ought always to be ready for it.
In discoursing from this doctrine, I fall,
II. Consider the certainty of our removal into the a ther world..
III. The uncertainty of the time of it. : . IV. The readiness for that removal.
Lastly, Apply in some practical uses. · I. I SHALL premise some things imported in this doctrine.
1. Great is the weight that depends on our being ready for a removal into the other world. Eternal well or wo depends on it ; for according to the situation we are found in at our removal, so will we be received and lodged there; in the upper part, tlıe region of bliss, or the lower part, the region of horror, to remove no more. And this makes carelessness to prepare for it absolutely unaccountable.
2. We are naturally unfit and unready for that re. moval. Were it a matter indifferent, which part of that world we thould land in, we could at no time be reckoned unfit and unready for it; for they that are not ready for eternal light above, are ready for eternal fire below. But it can never be indifferent to a rational creature, which of these shall be its portion. And therefore they that are not ready to be inhabitants of hea. ven, are not ready for their removal; and such are we all naturally, having no title to it, Eph. ii. 3. 12. and no meetness for it, till we get it anew by grace, Col. i. 12.
3. Now is the time, and here is the place, of getting ready, 2 Cor. vi. 2. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of Salvation.” We are set into this world, to make ready for the other; and time is given us to prepare for eternity. If time be once over, and we be turned out of this world, we have no more access to make ready for the other, Eccl.ix. 10. “ There is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thcu goest. Soit is with us, now or never.
Lastly, We ought always to keep ourselves in readi. ness, that we be not surprised, and taken at a disadvan. tage; hence says our Lord, Luke xxi. 34, 36.“ Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” One may be ready at one time, who is not ready at another as he ought to be; falling earnally secure, after he has beftirred himself to prepare. But at that time when he is least looking for the removal, it may be nearest; and whatever unreadiness it trysts him with, so great will the loss be.
II. We shall consider the certainty of our removal into the other world,
1. It was the other world, and not this, that man was chiefly and in the first place deligned for, as to his settled abode. When God made this world, he made it but as a thorough-fare to the other, a place through which man should pass into the other, Mat. xxv.34. The other world was always the home, this was but the place of the pilgrimage, where at no time man was to stay for good and all, but only to sojourn. For confider,
(1.) This world was ordained to be the place of trial, the other the place of retribution, according to mens works. The trial cannot always laft, otherwife it would be no trial; but the retribution may very well last for ever, and really will do so. Therefore we must necessarily remove out of this world as the place of trial, into the other as the place of retribution, which therefore must be looked on as our fettled abode, Matth. xxv. ult. “And these shall go away into ever. lasting punishment; but the righteous into lifeeternal."
(2.) This world never had in it, that perfection of either happiness or misery, that was designed for man according to his behaviour in it. Even in paradise there was à want, and in the deluge there was an ark. But God will perfect his work of whatever kind. Theré. fore the settled abode is there, not here.
Wherefore it is a fatal mistake ever to look on this world as our home, whether we be saints or finners; that is the use of the other world only.
2. The man Christ is removed into the other world, never to come back to dwell in this; and to that world where he is we must needs go. The happiness secured for his own people, who must be taken to the place where he is, John xiv. 3. and the misery ensured for his enemies, who must be " punished with everlafting destruction from the presence of the Lord," 2 Thefi.i.g. , brought thither and flain before him, Luke xix. 27. make this necessary. Therefore, as sure as Christ hath removed into that world, we must follow.
3. Men must be for ever, but this world will have