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fifty-three years of confortable help in the service of my God, be now afraid of my reward, and shrink at the sentence of death, and still be desiring to stay here upon pretence of further service? We know not what is best for the church as God doth; the church and the world are not ours but his; not our desires, but his will must measure out its mercies. We are not so merciful as he is. It is not unmeet for us to desire many things which God will not give, nor seeth it meet to grant the particulars of such desires. Nothing ever lay so heavy on my heart, as the sin and misery of mankind, and to think how much the world lieth in folly and wickedness! And for what can I pray so heartily as for the world's recovery? and it is bis will that I should show a holy and universal love by praying, “Let thy name be hallowed, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven :" and yet alas, how unlike is earth to heaven, and what ignorance, sin, confusions, and cruelties, here reign and prosper! And unless there a be wonderful change to be expected, even as by a general miracle, how little hope appeareth that ever these prayers should be granted in the things! It maketh us better to desire that others may be better; but God is the free disposer of of his own gists: and it seemeth to be his will, that the permitted ignorance and confusions of this world should help us the more to value and desire that world of light, love, and order, which he calleth us to prefer and hope for.
And if I am any way useful to the world, it is undeserved mercy that hath made me so, for which I must be thankful; but how long I shall be so, is not my business to determine, but my Lord's. My many sweet and beautiful flowers arise and appear in their beauty and sweetness, but for one summer's time, and they murmur not that they flourish for so short a space. The beasts, and birds, and fishes, which I feed on, do live till I will have them die; and as God will be served and pleased by wonderful variety at once of animals and vegetables, &c., so will he by many successive generations. If one flower fall or die, it sufficeth that others shall, summer after summer, arise from the same root : and is my pears, apples, plums, &c., fall or serve me when they are ripe, it sufficeth that not they, but others, the next year shall do the same; God will have other
tions to succeed us. Let us thank him that we have bad our time : and could we overcome the grand (too little observed) crime of selfishness, and could love others as ourselves, and God, as God, above all the world, it would comfort us at death, that others shall survive us, and the world shall continue, and God will be still God, and be glorified in his works: and love will say, I shall live in my successors, and I shall more than live in the life of the world, and yet most of all in the eternal life and glory of God.
And God, who made us not gods, but poor creatures, as pleased him, doth know best our measures, and he will not try us with too long a life of temptations, lest we should grow too familiar where we should be strangers, and utterly strangers to our home. No wonder if that world was ready for a deluge, by a deluge of sin, in which men lived to six, seven, eight, and nine hundred years of age. Had our great sensualists any hope of so long a life, they would be more like incarnate devils, and there would be no dwelling near them for the holy seed. If angels were among them, they would, like the Sodomites, seek furiously to abuse them.
Nor will God tire us out with too long a life of earthly sufferings. We think short cares, and fears, and sorrows, persecutions, sickness, and crosses to be long, and shall we grudge at the wisdom and love which shorteneth them? Yea, though holy duty itself be excellent and sweet, yet the weakness of the flesh maketh us liable to weariness, and abateth the willingness of the spirit, and our wise and merciful God will not make our warfare, or our race, too long, lest we be wearied and faint, and fall short of the prize. By our weariness, and complaints, and fears, and groans, one would think that we thought this life too long, and yet when we should yield to the call of God, we draw back as if we would have it everlasting.
Sect. 12. Willingly submit, then, O my soul. It is not thou, but this flesh, that must be dissolved; this troublesome, vile, and corruptible flesh. It is but the other half of thy meat and drink, which thy presence kept longer uncorrupted, going after the excremental part. Thou diest not when man (the compositum) dieth, by thy departure. And as thou livest not to thyself, thou diest not to thyself; whether I live or dic, I am the Lord's; he that set up the candle,
knoweth how long he hath use for the light of it. Study thy duty, and work while it is day, and let God choose thy time, and willingly stand to his disposal. The gospel dieth not when I die. The church dieth not. The praises of God die not. The world dieth not, and perhaps it shall grow better, and those prayers shall be answered which seemed lost. Yea, and it may be some of the seed that I have sown, shall spring up to some benefit of the dark unpeaceable world when I am dead. And is not this much of the end of life? And is not that life good which attaineth its end? If my end was to do good and glorify God, if good be done, and God glorified when I am dead, yea, though I were annihilated, is not my end attained ? Feign not thyself to be God, whose interest (that is, the pleasing of his will) is the end of all things, and whose will is the measure of all created good. Feign not thyself to be all the world : God hath not lost his work; the world is not dissolved when I am dissolved. Oh, how strong and unreasonable a disease is this inordinate selfishness ! Is not God's will infinitely better than mine, and fitter to be fulfilled! Choose the fulfilling of his will, and thou shalt always have thy choice. If a man be well that can always have his will, let this always be thy will, that God's will may be done, and thou shalt always have it.
Lord, let thy servant depart in peace; even in thy peace, which passeth understanding, and which Christ, the prince of peace, doth give, and nothing in the world can take away. Oh, give me that peace which besecmcth a soul, which is so near the harbor, even the world of endless peace and love, where perfect union (such as I am capable of) will free me from all the sins and troubles which are caused by the convulsions, divulsions, and confusions of this divided, selfish world. Call home this soul by the encouraging voice of love, that it may joyfully hear, and say, 'It is my Father's voice.'
• Invite it to thee by the heavenly messenger. Attract it by the tokens and the foretastes of love. The messengers that invited me to the feast of grace, compelled me to come in without constraint. Thy effectual call did make me willing, and is not glory better than preparing grace? Shall I not come more willingly to the celestial feast? What was thy grace for, but to make me willing of glory, and
the way to it? Why didst thou dart down thy beams of love, but to make me love thee, and to call me up to the everlasting center? Was not the feast of grace as a sacrament of the feast of glory? Did I not take it in remembrance of my Lord until he come? Did not he that told me, “ All things are ready," tell me also that “he is gone to prepare a place for us?” and it is his will that we shall be with him, and see his glory. They that are given him, and drawn to him by the Father on earth, do come to Christ. Give, now, and draw my departing soul to my glorified Head; and, as I have glorified thee on earth, in the measure that thy grace hath prevailed in me, pardon the sins by which I have offended thee, and glorify me in the beholding and participation of the glory of my Redeemer. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, with fuller life, and light, and love, into this too dead, and dark, and disaffected soul, that it may come with joyful willingness unto thee.
Sect. 13. Willingly depart, O lingering soul! It is from a Sodom, though in it there be righteous Lots, who yet are not without their woful blemishes! Hast thou so oft groaned for the general blindness and wickedness of the world, and art thou loth to leave it for a better? How oft wouldest thou have rejoiced to have seen but the dawning of a day of universal peace and reformation? And wouldest thou not see it where it shineth forth in fullest glory? Would a light at midnight have pleased thee so well? Hast thou prayed and labored for it so hard? And wouldest thou not see the sun ? Will the things of heaven please thee no where but on earth, where they come in the least and weakest influences, and are terminated in gross, terrene, obscure, and unkind recipients ? Away, away, the vindictive flames are ready to consume this sinsul world! Sinners that blindly rage in sin must quickly rage in the effects of sin and of God's justice. The pangs of lust prepared for these pangs! They are treasuring up wrath against this day. Look not, then, behind thee. Away from this unhappy world! Press on unto the mark. (Phil. iii.) “ Looking towards, and hastening to the coming of the day of God.” (2 Pet. iii. 10-12.)
As this world hath used thee, it would use thee still, and it will use others. If thou hast sped well in it, no thanks to it, but unto
God. If thou hast had manifold deliverances, and marvellous preservations, and hast been fed with angel's food, love not this wilderness for it, but God and his angel, which was thy guide, protector, and deliverer.
And hath this troublesome flesh been so comfortable a companion to thee, that thou shouldest be so loth to leave it? Have thy pains, thy weariness, thy languishings, thy labors, thy cares and fears about this body, been pleasing to thee? And art thou loth that they should have an end? Didst thou not find a need of patience to undergo them? And of greater patience than mere nature gave thee? And canst thou hope now for better when nature faileth, and that an aged, consumed, more diseased body, should be a pleasanter habitation to thee than it was heretofore? If from thy youth up it hath been both a tempting and a troublesome thing to thee, surely, though it be less tempting, it will not be less troubling, when it is falling to the dust, and above ground savoreth of the grave! Had things sensible been never so pleasant in thy youth, and hadst thou glutted thyself in health with that sort of delight, in age thou art to say by nature, “I have no pleasure in them.” Doth God in great mercy make pain and feebleness the harbingers of death, and wilt thou not understand their business? Doth he mercifully, beforehand, take away the pleasure of all fleshly things, and worldly vanities, that there may be nothing to relieve a departing soul, (as the shell breaketh when the bird is hatched, and the womb relaxed when the infant must be born,) and yet shall we stay when nothing holdeth us, and still be loth to come away? Wouldest thou dwell with thy beloved body in the grave, where it will rot and stink in loathsome darkness? If not, why should it now, in its painful languor, seem to thee a more pleasant habitation than the glorious presence of thy Lord ? In the grave it will be at rest, and not tormented as now it is, nor wish at night, oh, that it were morning! nor say at morning, when will it be night? And is this a dwelling fit for thy delight? Patience in it, while God will so try thee, is thy duty, but is such patience a better and sweeter life than rest and joy?
Sect. 14. But, alas ! how deaf is flesh to reason. Faith hath the reason which easily may shame all contrary reasoning, but sense