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But to be sure the scene is much altered now, for Adam by his sin made himself mortal, and corrupted his own nature, and propagated a mortal and corrupt nature to his posterity ; and therefore we have no natural right to immortality, nor can we 'refine our souls into such a divine purity as is fit for heaven, by the weakened and co: rupted powers of nature; but what we cannot do, Christ has done for us : he has purchased immortality for us by his death, and quickens and raises us into a new life by his spirit ; but since still we must die, before we are immortal, it is more plain than ever, that this life is only in order to the next, that the great business we have to do in this world, is to prepare ourselves for immortality and glory.
Now if our life in this world be only in order to another life, we ought not to expect our complete happiness here, for we are only in the way to it ; we must finish the work God has given us to do in this world, and expect our reward in the next ; and if our reward cannot be had in this world, we may conclude that there is something much better in the next world than any thing here.
If this liie be our time to work in, we should not consult our ease, and softness, and pleasures here ; for this is a place of labor and diligence, not of rest : we are traveling to heaven, and must have our eye on our journey's cod, and not hunt after pleasures and diversions in the way.
The great end of living in this world, is to be happy in the nexi, and therefore we must wisely improve present things, that they may turn to our future account: must make to ourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when we fail, they may receive us, into everlasting habit:tions. What concerns a better life must take up most of our thoughts and care, and whatever endangers our future happiness, must be rejected with all its charms. It would not be worth the while to live some few
years here, were we not to live for ever ; and therefore it becomes a wise man, who remembers, that he must shortly leave this world to make this present life wholly subservient to his future happiness.
Sect. II. The second notion of death, that it is our
putting off these bodies.
II. LET us now consider death as it is our putting off these bodies ; for this is the proper notion of death, the separation of soul and body, that the botly returns to dust, the soul or spirit unto God, who gave it : when we die, we do not cease to be, nor cease to live, but only cease to live in these earthly bodies ; the vital union between soul and body is dissolved, we are no longer encloistered in a tabernacle of flesh, we no longer feel the impressions of it, neither the pains nor pleasures of the body can affect us, it can charm, it can tempt no longer. This
needs no proof, but very well deserves our most serious meditations.
For, 1. This teaches us the difference and distinction between soul and body, which men, who are sunk into flesh and sense, are so apt to forget ; nay, to loose the very notion and belief of it : all their delights are fleshy, they know no other pleasures, but what their five senses furnish them with ; they cannot raise their thoughts above this body, nor entertain any noble designs, and therefore they imagine, that they are nothing but flesh and blood, a little organized and animated clay ; and it is no great wonder, that men who feel the workings and motions of no higher principle of life in them, out flesh and sense, should imagine that they are nothing but flesh themselves : though methinks when we see the senseless and putrefying remains of a brave man before us, it is hard to conceive, that this is all of him ; that this is the thing which some few hours ago could reason and discourse, was fit to govern a kingdom, or to instruct mankind, could despise flesh and sense, and govern all his bodily appetites and inclinations, was adorned with all divine graces and virtues, was the glory and pride of the age : and is this dead carcase, which we now see, the whole of him ? or was there a more divine inhabitant, which animated this carthly machine, which gave life, and beauty, and motion to it, but is now removed ?
To be sure, those who believe that death does not put an end to their being, but only removes them out of this body, which rots in the grave, while their souls survive, live and act, and may be happy in a sepa te state, should carefully consider this distinction between soul and body, which would teach them a most divine and heavenly wisdom.
For when we consider, that we cousist of soul and body, which are the two distinct parts of man, this will teach us to take care of both : for can any man who believes he has a soul, be concerned only for his body ? A compound creature cannot be happy, unless both parts of hini enjoy their proper pleas
He who enjoys only the pleasures of the body, is never the happier for having a human and reasonable soul ; the soul of a beast would have done as well, and it may be better ; for brute creatures relish bodily pleasures as much, and it may be more, than men do, and reason is very troublesome to those men, who resolve to live like brutes ; for it makes them ashamed and afraid, which in many cases hinders, or at least allays their pleasures : and why should not a man desire the full and entire happiness of a man?' Why should he despise any part of himself, and that, as you shall hear presently, the best part too ? And therefore at least we ought to take as much care of our souls as of our bodies : do we adorn our bodies that we may be fit to be seen, and to converse with men, and may re
ceive those respects which are due to our quality and fortune ; and shall we not adorn our souls too, with those christian graces which make us lovely in the sight of God and men ? The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price ; which St. Peter especially recommends to christian women as a more valuable ornament than the outward adorning of platting the hair, or wearing gold, or putting on of apparrel, 1 Pet. 3. iii. 4. The ornaments of wisdom and prudence, of well governed passions, of goodness and charity, which give a grace and beauty to all our actions, and such a pleasing and charming air to our very countenance, as the most natural beauty, or artificial washes and paints can never imitate.
Are we careful to preserve our bodies from any hurt, from pain and sickness, from burning fevers, or the racking gout or stone, and shall we not be as careful of the ease of the mind too? To quiet and calm those passions which when they grow outrageous, are more intolerable than all natural or artificial tortures ; to moderate those desires, which rage like hunger and thirst ; those fears which convulse the mind with trembling and paralytic motions; those furious tempests of anger, revenge, and envy, whic- ruffle our minds, and fill us with vexation, restlessness and confusion of thoughts; especially those guilty reflections upon ourselves, that worm in the conscience which knaws the soul, and