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of their wisijom and experience. "Wherefore is there a price "in the hand of a fool, seeing he hath no heart to it?" Prov. xvii. 16. The expence of one minute's breath in season, may, if God concur with it, be to you the ground of breathing forth praises to God to all eternity.

Infer. 8. Are souls and bodies tacked together by so frail a thing as a puff of breath ?• How vain and groundless then are all thofe pleasures men take in their carnal projects and defigns in this -world?

We lay the plot and design of our future earthly selicity in our own thoughts; we mould and contrive a design for a long and pleasant lise. The model for raising an estate is already formed in our thoughts, and we have not patience to deser our pleasure till the accomplishment of it, but presently draw a train of pleasing consequents from this chimera, and our thoughts can stoop to nothing less than sitting down all the remainder of our days in the very lap of delight and pleasure; forgetting that our breath is all the while in our nostrils, and may expire the next moment: and if it do, the structure of all our expectations and projects comes to nothing in the same moment. "His breath "goeth forth, he returneth to his dust: And in that very day "his thoughts perish," Psal. cxlvi. 4. The whole frame of his thoughts salls instantly abroad, by drawing out this one pin, his breath. Tis good with all our earthly designs to mingle the serious thoughts of the dominion of providence, and our own frailty; James iv. 15. "If the Lord will, and we live."

'Tis become a common observation, that as soon as men have accomplished their earthly designs, and begin to hug and bless themselves in their own acquisitions, a sudden and unexpected period is put to their lives and pleasures, as you may see Luke xii. 19, 20. Dan. iv. 30.

Oh then drive moderately; you will be at the end of all these things sooner than you imagine. We need not victual a ship to cross the channel, as they do that are bound to the Indies. "What is your life? It is even a vapour, which appear "eth for a little while, and then vanisheth away," James iv. 14. In one moment the projects of many years are overturned for ever.

Infer. 9. Is it but a puff of breath that holds men in lise? Then build not too much hope and confidence upon any man.

Build not too high upon so seeble a foundation. "Cease ye "from man (saith the prophet) whose breath is in his nostrils; "for wherein is he to be accounted of.'" Isa. ii. 22. Ibere are

Vol. III. A a rV .

two things that should deter us from dependance upon any nan, viz. his falseness and his frailty. Grace iu a great measure may cure the first, but not the last. The best of men must die, as well as the worst, Rom. viii. 10. 'tis a vanity therefore to rely upon any man. It was the saying of a philofopher when he heard how merchants lost great eflates at sea in a moment, Nott amo fe)icitatem e funibus pendentem; I love not that happiness (faith he) which hangs upon a rope. But all the happiness of many men hangs upon a far weaker thing than a.rope, even the perishing breath of a creature. ~

Let not parents raise their hopes too high, or lean too hard upon their children. Say not of thy child, as Lamech did of Noah, *' This son shall comfort us," Gen. v. 29. The world is full of the lamentings and bitter cries of disappointed parents. Let not the wise depend too much on her husband, as if her earthly comforts were secured in him against all danger. God is often provoked to stop our friend's breath, that thereby he may flop our way to sin, 1 Tim. v. 5. The trust, and dependance of a soul, is too weighty to be hang'd upon such a weak, and rotten pin, as the breath of a creature.

Infer. »o. To conclude; if this frail breath be all that differenceth the living from the dead, then fear not man -whofe breath it in his nostrils. There is as little ground for our sear of man, as there is for pur trust in man. As death, in a moment, can make the best man useless, and put him out of a capacity to do us any good; so it can in a moment, make the worst man harmless, and put him out of a capacity to do us any injury. Indeed, if the breath of our enemies were in their power, and ours at their mercy, there would be just cause to tremble at them; but they are neither masters of their own, or ours. *' Who art "thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man, that shall die?" said God to Jacob, Isa. li. 12. The breath of the mightiest is no better secured than of the meanest, nor never in more danger to be stopt than when they breathe out threatnings against the upright.

Julian's breath was soon stopt after he threatned to root ont the Galileans. Queen Mary resigned her breath, at the very time when (he had filled the prisons with many of Christ's sheep, and designed them for the staughter. Read Isal xvii. 12. and see what mushrooms we are afraid of. The best way to continue your relations, and fritnds, to your comfort, is to give Goi and nor them, your dependance; and the best way to secure yourselves against the rage of enemies, is to give God your sear, and not them. And thus much of the nature of the foul, atid its tie with the body.

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Revel, vi. 9, 10, 11. .

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of Cod, and for the testimony which they held.

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? . . . .

And white rtbes were given unto every one of them, and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

TTAVING, from the former text, spoken of the nature of the soul, and the tie betwixt it and the body; I shall, from this scripture, evince the immortality of the soul, which is a chief part of its excellency and glory; and in this scripture it hath a firm foundation.

This book of the Revelation completes and seals up the whole sacred canon, Rev. xxii. 18. It also comprehends all the great and signal events of providence, relating either to the Christian church, or to its antichristian enemies in the several periods of time, to the end of the world; chap. i. 19. All which the Spirit of God discovers to us in the opening of the seven seals, the sounding of the seven trumpets, and the pouring out ot the seven vials.

The first five seals express the state of the church under the bloody, persecuting, Heathen emperors.

Seal I.

The first seal opened, ver. 2. gives the church a very encouraging and comfortable prospect of the victories, successes, and triumphs of Christ, notwithstanding the rage, lubtlety and power of all irs enemies. He shall ride on conquering, and to conquer, and his arrows shall be sharp in the hearts of his enemies, whereby the people fhall sall under him. And this chearing prospect was no more than was ueedful: For, Seal H,

The second seal opened, ver. 3, 4. represents the first bloody persecution of the church under Nero, whom Tertulliaa calls * Dedicator damnationis nostrae: he that first condemned Christians to the (laughter. And the persecution under him is set forth by the type of a red horse, and a great sword in the hand of him that rode thereon. His cruelty is by Paul compared to the mouth of a lion, 2 Tim. iv. 17. Paul, Peter, Bartholomew, Barnabas, Mark, are all said to die by his cruel hand; and so fierce was his rage against the Christians, that at that time, as f Eusebius saith, "a man might see cities lie full of dead bo"dies, the old and young, men and women, cast out naked. "without any reverence of persons or sex, in the open street." And when the day sailed, Christians, (saith % Tacitus) were burnt in the night, instead of torches, to give them light in the streets.

Seal III.

The third seal opened, ver. 5, 6. lets forth the calamities which should besal the church by samine; yet not so much a literal, as a sigurative samine, as a grave and learned commentator || expounds it, like that mentioned, Amos viii. 11, 12. which sell out under Maximus and Trajan; the former directing the persecution, especially against ministers, in which many bright lamps were extinguished; the latter expressly condemned all Christian meetings and assemblies by a law. The type by which this persecution was set forth, is a black horse, A gloomy and dismal day it was indeed to the poor saints, when they eat the bread of their fouls, as it were, by weight; for he that sat oa him had a pair of ballances in his hand. Then did John hear this sad voice, " A measure of wheat for a penny, and three "measures of barley for a penny." The quantity was but the ordinary allowance to keep a man alive for a day, and a Romaa penny was the ordinary wages given for a day 's work to a labourer. The meaning is, that, in those days, all the spiritual food men should get to keep their souls alive from day to day, with all their travel and labour, should be but sufficient for that end. Seal IV.

The fourth seal opened, ver. 7, 8. represents a much more fad and doleful state of the church; for under it are found all the former sufferings, with some new kinds of trouble superadded. Under this seal, Death rides upon the pale horse, and

* Tertul. Apol. c. J.

\ Adeo ut videret replstas humanis esrperibus civitates, jacertr tfs mortuos, jimul cum parvulis senes, samiiarumque absque ulla sxus reverentia, in publico rejecla cadavera.

X Tafiiti J. xv. Annal. | Durham on the place.

Hell, or the Grave, follows him. It is conceived to point at the persecution under Dioclesian, when the church was mowed down as a meadow, i

Seal V. The fifth seal is opened in my text, under which the Lord Jesus represents to his servant John, the state and condition of those precious fouls which had been torn and separated from their bodies, by the bloody hands of tyrants, for his name's fake, underall the former persecutions. The design whereof is, to support and encourage all that were to come after in the same bloody path. I saw under the altar, &c. In which we have an account,

1. Of what John saw. i. Of what he heard. 1. We have an account of what he saw: "I saw the souls of "them that were flain for the word of God, and for the testi"mony which they held."

Sonls, in this place, are not put for the blood, or the dead carcasses of the saints who were stain, as some have groundlefly imagined; but are to be understood properly and strictly, for those * spiritual and immortal substances, which once had a vital union with their bodies, but were now separated from them by a violent death; yet still retained a love and inclination to them, even in the state of separation; and are theresore here brought in complaining of the shedding of their blood, and destruction of their bodies.

These souls (even of all that died for Christ, from Abel to that time) John saw, that is, \ in spirit ,. for these immaterial substances are not perceptible by the gross external senses. He had the privilege and favour of a spiritual representation of them, being therein extraordinarily assisted, as Paul was when his soul was wrapt into the third heaven, and heard things unutterable, 2 Cor. xil. 2. God gave him a transient visible representation of those holy souls, and that under the altar* he means not any material altar, as that at Jerusalem was; but as the holy place figured heaven, so the altar sigured Jesus Christ, Heb. xiiv io. Aud most aptly Christ is represented to John in this sigure, and

E,So» T«{ \J/»^«f. i.e. I saiv the souls; here the word foul is uken for the immortal spirit of man, as in Matth. x. 28. in which sense John here says, that he saw the souls, &c, Marlorat on the since.

t Souls divested of bodies are invisible to corporeal eyes; there; fore John law them in the Spirit; Pareus on the place.

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