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with sinners in the other world. This due care and concern is very extensive, and therefore I will branch out this exhortation in several particulars. And,
I. Lay the matter of the other world to heart, and be no longer careless about what shall be your lot in it, Rom. xiii. II, 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 remoyed out of a farm or a cot-house, you would look out for another before hand: and since you are to remove out of this world, look out for a comfortable settlement in the other, and shew yourselves men, wise 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 soul may be gathered with finners, and ftaked down with thein 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 set all to rights before gathering time; but the misery was, it came ere they were aware, and swept 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 sleep, the little Number 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 souls be now gathered unto Christ by faith in the bond of the covenant, Gen. xlix. 10. He is the Captain of salvation, and none come to heaven but at his back, John xiv. 6. as the members of his mystical body, Eph. V. 23. Whofoever are not united to him, and brought personally within the bond of his covenant, will be left to be gathered with fina ners. Therefore consider the covenant offered to you
in the gospel, and sincerely take hold of it, as you would not be so gathered.,
4. Give up with the society of finners here, I mean not absolutely; 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 wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed,” Prov. xiii. 20. The blefied man is known by the company he chuses, and most delights in, Psal. i. 1. And he that is not concerned to separate 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 fine ners, and die with saints. ,
5. Lay by your malignity against professors of religion, against seriousness, and godly exercises. Calmly consider what ye would be at. Are you really not able to endure any appearance of religion, feri. ousness, and godly exercises? Then there is nothing for you, but to be gathered with finners in the other world, where you will see nothing like it for ever. But if you have any the least thoughts or hopes of heaven, you are quite unreasonable to think to get there, while you bear such a grudge against the very first draughts of that which is carried to perfection there. I wonder what sort of a heaven they imagine to themselves, that have a heart rising at holiness; what kind of men and women they expect to see there, that are always sure to have a thruft at any serious person here, however they have a vail to caft over the godless and profane.
6. Associate yourselves with the godly; gather together with those that you would be gathered with in the other world, Psal. cxix. 63. “ I am a companion of all them that fear thee,” says 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 society; there are no faultless companions to be had in this world; but it must be a dreadful cast of spirit, that makes every body's faults tolerable but theirs. That muf spring 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 likest to heaven; and therefore they are that which has moft of the saints 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 house, recommend the gathering together with the congregations in the lower. From whatever principles or motives people forsake the congregations of the saints here in public ordi. nances, they must either be gathered with them in the other world, or with finners; there will be no separate heaven for them there.
Lastly, Carefully keep off the way of finners here, and let your whole life be a going forth by the footsteps of the flock, Cant. i. 7. 8. Heb. vi. 12. As is your course now, so must your end be. If you go the way of sinners, in this world, ye will be gathered with them in the other; if ye go the way of saints, ye will be gathered with them there.
To enforce this exhortation, .
(1.) Consider the importance of your gathering in the other world, than which nothing can be greater. You have had the other world described 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 society, and the dreadfulness of the state of finners in hell, that you be in concern that your fouts be not gathered there with them.
(2.) Make of your other concerns what you will, if you fee not to this in the firkt 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 soul? or what thall a man give in exchange for his foul?" Nothing will compenfate this loss.
(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 salvation.” If you miss it, in vain will ye cry; for âdeaf 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 concerbsyou now, that your souls be not gathered with finners then.
Wherefore, upon the whole, let me obtain of you, (1.) That you will take fome serious thoughts of the other world in both parts of it. (2.) That you will inquire what case you are in for it. And, (3.) That you will lay down measures timely, that your souls be not gathered with finners there. May the Lord persuade and incline your hearts unto this course.
RAISING A GOOD NAME, THE BEST BALANCE FOR THE PRESENT, FOR THE VANITY AND MISERY OF HUMAN LIFE:
AND TJE GOOD MAN'S DYING-DAY BETTER THAN HIS.
The substance 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. N EVER man more livelily represented the vanity
of this world and buman life, than Solomon did, whose wisdom and wealth gave him the faireft occafion to discover the best that could be made of it. He represents it in its beft shapes, 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 disappointed. Bat is there no reinedy, no solid consolation in this case? Yes, but it must be brought from the confideration of the other world, and this life improved for reaching a happy life thcre. “A good name is better than precious tinte ment, and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
The scope of these words is, to point men away from the vanities of this life, and from this life itself, unto something that is better and will give rest. Is any manaffected with the vanity of human life, and would fain know what is best for him? Then let him know,
1. A good name is best,“ better than precious ointment,” which was a thing highly prized in the eastern countries. A good name is that savoury charactcr among good men which riseth from a good life,