may be

Things, fees proper to appoint it for any of us; we have abundant Cause to lay down our Heads quietly, without murmuring.

Still, the Defire of Life is natural; and, if tempered with due Submission, always innocent, sometimes highly virtuous ; for it strengthened by Reasons, private or public, of great Moment. And doubtless for such it was, that so much of Hezekiah's Prayer, as the Scripture mentions, was plainly intended to plead for his being spared. God may bring us into Danger, only to give us, what we commonly want, a stronger Sense of our Dependence on him: and this End being obtained, he may

continue us here, to do him the Service, for which he hath thus qualified us. But when it appears a determined Call to us, to arise and depart"; however weak the Flesh may be, let the Spirit be willing", and say, I come, to do thy Will, O Godo: yet without reckoning a considerable Degree of inward Reluctance, if we should feel it, a Sin; or even too great a Degree to be either a heinous Offence, or a bad Sign upon the whole. Our blessed Lord himself, who chose to suffer every Thing, which might instruct us, was probably m Mic, ii. 10, n.Matth. xxvi. 41.

. Heb. X. 7.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

on that Account not intirelyexempt from Dread of Death : but he was intirely obedient under it; and thus furnished us with the fullest Proof, that Infirmity of Nature is


different from Rebellion of Will, and very consistent with perfect Resignation. Indeed so far as Reason can influence, the virtuous have much more Reason of the two, to fear Life, than Death. The former is befet round with Afflictions and Hazards : the Terrors of going through the latter depend, in a great Measure, to all Appearance, on Imagination. This World, we are sure, hath little Good in it: the next hath every Thing, that we can with: why should we be unwilling then to make the Exchange? At the Hour of our Departure, we are still in the fame Hands, in which we have always been. And therefore should we not say, from the Bottom of our Hearts : Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no Evil: for thou art with me??

But some are not so much afraid of dying, as of the painful and wearisome Road, that leads to it. They have suffered already, they think, nearly, if not quite, to the full Extent of their Patience: yet a great deal more Suffering must

P Pl. xxiii. 40


[ocr errors]


come, and they shall never support it. But remember; Thousands and Millions, and amongst them, those of the quickest Sensibility and most timorous Dispositions, have borne before you as much as you can have to bear : nay, perhaps you have borne yourself much more, than remains behind. The fame Help from above, that enabled you to support Yesterday, will enable you to support To-day and Tomorrow. And in fact, we all of us bear Things very well, which yet we call intolerable; and commonly go through severer and more tedious Sufferings with as firm and calm a Spirit, as we do lighter and shorter. At least therefore make not yourself miserable before-hand, by drawing frightful Pictures of what may never come ; or however may fall greatly short of what you imagine. And let the worst come; pray to God, and look unto Jefus, who endured the Cross?; then set

yourself to bear what you can;


will find, that you can bear what you need. Pain, when moderate, is nothing terrible; and when acute, is seldom long. If you recover, you will soon forget all, or think and talk of it with Pleasure: and if you die, that, to a good

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Person, is the completest Recovery, that is possible. In all Events therefore be composed: and to aslist yourself in it, avoid, with the ut, most Caution, all intemperate Words and Behaviour: for indulging them will only exafperate your Mind; and checking them will quiet it very much. Yet never condemn yourself for merely natural Expressions of what

you feel ; (for the most pious men, in Scripture, have used very strong ones) nor too rigidly for a little Excess in them. A Duty so hard, as undergoing sharp Torments, or continued Wearisomness, may well admit of some Imperfection in the Performance, and


us, through our merciful Father's Bounty, to a large Recompence. Nor is it criminal in grievous Agonies, tiresome Confinement, Lowness of Spirits, or Weakness of Body, that make us Burthens to ourselves and others, humbly to ask, when no other Hope of Release appears, (if it be God's Will) for that of Death. Only we must do nothing to halten it; we must use the Means of preserving and supporting Life fo long as Nature permits it to last: and we must not be impatient with Heaven, if that be longer than we wish ; but meekly suffer on, and faithfully maintain our




may seem

Post, until the appointed Hour, when our great Commander shall call us off to Reft.

But besides Resignation in Sickness, we oweto God Thankfulness also; for the numerous other Blessings, which we still enjoy ; for the Blessing of Health, all the Time that we did enjoy it ; for every Interval and Alleviation, every Comfort and Support, which he hath given us since : for we are not worthy of the least of all his Mercies'. Nor have we Cause

" to be thankful under Sickness only, but thankful for it also. Very possibly this Affectation to some, and a hard Saying to others. But confider: are we not often highly thankful, and with great Cause, for what produces only Pain to us at the Time ; as in the Case of any rough Medicine administred or painful Operation performed upon us, Necessity so requiring ? Now God is the Physician of our Souls; and Sickness is one of his principal Methods of Cure. By this he deadens. our immoderate Fondness for Amufc. ments and Pleasures; and removes us out of the Way of Temptations to Vanity and Folly. By this he lowers the swelling Vehemence of haughty Spirits ; and teaches hard Hearts by : Gen. xxxii. 10.

John vi. 6o.


[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »