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be cannot be my disciple. Ponder these things in your hearts whilst yet God delays the trial.
Infer. 3. If the fouls of men be naturally so strongly inclined and assected towards the body; Then hence you may plainly fee the wisdom of God in all the afflictions and burdens he lays upon his people in this world, and find that all is hut enough to wean off their fouls from their bodies, and make them -willing to part with them.
The lise of the saints in this world, is generally a burdened and a groaning lise; 2 Cor. v. 2. "In this tabernacle we groan, "being burdened." Here the saints seel, (1.) A burden of sto, Rom. vii. 24. this is a dead and a finking weight. (2.) A burden of affliction; of this all are partakers, Heb. xii though not all in an equal degree, or in the same kind, yet all have their burdens equal to, and even beyond their own strength to support it; 2 Cor. i. 8. " pressed above measure." (3 ) A burden of inward troubles for sin, and outward troubles in the flesh both together, so had Job, Heman, David, and many of thb saints.
Certainly this befals them not, (1.) Casually, Job v. 6. " Tt '.* rises not out of the dust:" (2.) Nor because God loves and regards them not, for they are fruits of his love; Heb. xii. 6. '* Whom he loveth he correcteth:" (3.) Nor because he takes pleasure in our groans; Lam. iii. 34. " To tread under his seet "the prisoners of the earth,—the Lord hath no pleasure:" it is not for his own pleasure, but his children? profit; Heb. xii. 1 o. And among the profits that result from thde burdens, this is not the least, to make you less fond of the body than you would else be, and more willing to be gone to your eveHasting rest. And certainly all the diseases and pains we endure in the body, whether they be upon inward or outward accounts, by passion or compassion from God or men, Will be found but enough to wean us, and loose off our hearts from the fond love <if lise. Afflictions are bitter things to our taste, Ruth i. 20. so bitter, that Naomi thought a name of a contrary signification fitter for her afflicted condition; call me Marah, i. e. bitter, not Naomi, pleasant, beautiful. And the church, Lam. iii. l£. , calls them wormwood and gall.
The great design of God in afflicting them, is the same that a tender mother projects in putting wormwood to her breast when she would wean the child.
It hath been observed by some discreet and grave minister), that before their remdve from one place to another, God hlda
permitted and ordered some weaning providence to b'efal them; either denying wonted success to their labour,- or alienating and cooling the afsections of their people towards them, which not only makes the manner of their departure more easy, but the grounds of it more clear. Much lo it falls out in our natural death, the comfort of the world is imbittered to us before we leave it; the longer we live in it, the less we (hall like it. We overlive most of o.ur comforts which engaged our hearts to it, that we may more freely take our leave of it. 4t were good for Christians to observe the voice of such providences as these, and answer the designs of them in a greater willingness to die,
1. Is thy body which was once hale and vigorous, now become a crazy, sickly, pained body to thee, neither useful to God, nor comfortable to thee? a tabernacle to groan and sigh in? and little hopes it will be recovered to a better temper; God hath ordained this to make thee willing to be divorced from it: the lels desireable life is, the less formidable death will be."
2. Is thy estate decayed and blasted by providence, so that thy lise which was once full of creature-comforts, is now filled with cares aud anxieties? O it is a weaning providence to thee, and bespeaks thee the more chearf ully to bid the world farewel. The less comfort it gives you, the left it shall eutangle aud eagage you. We little know with what aking hearts, and pensive breasts, many of God's people walk up and down, though for religion, or reputation fake they put a good face upon it; but by these things, God is bespeaking and preparing them for a better state.
. 3. Is an husband, a wise, or dear children dead, and with them the comfort of lise laid in the dust? why this the Lord sees necessary to do to persuade you to come after willingly? It is the cutting asunder thy roots in the earth, that thou mayest fall the more easily. O how many strokes must God give at out names, estates, relations, and health, before we will give way to the last stroke of death that fells us to the ground?
4. Do the times frown upon religion r Do. all things seem to threaten stormy times at hand r Are desirable assemblies scattered r nothing but sorrows and lufserings to be expected ia this world? by these things God will imbitter the earth, and sweeten heaven to his people.
5. Is the beauty and sweetness of Christian society defaced and decayed ?< That communion which was wont to be pithy, lubstantial, spiritual, and edifying*, become either frothy or coatentious, so that thy foul has no pleasure ia it; this also is a, weaning providence to our souls; Strigelius desired to die that he might be freed ab implacabilibus theologorum odiis, from the •wranglings and contentions thai were in his time. Our fond afsection to the body requires all this, and much more, to weaa aud mortisy them.
Inser. 4. How comfortable is the doctrine of the refurrection to believers, which ajjures them of receiving their bodies again, though they part -with them for a time! .
Believers mult die as well as others; their union with Christ privileges them not from a separation from their bodies, Rom. viii. 10. Heb. ix. 27. But yet they have special grounds of consolation against this doleful separation above all others. For,
1. Though they part with them, yet they part in hopes of receiving them again, 1 Thels. iv. 13, 14. They take not a final leave of them when they die. Husbandmen cast their leed-corn into the earth chearfully and willingly, because they part with it in hope; so should we when we commit our bodies to the earth at death.
2. Though death separates these dear friends from each other, yet it cannot separate either the one or other from Christ, Luke xx. 37, 38. "1 am the God of Abraham," &c. Your very dust is the Lord's, and the grave rots not the bond of the covenant.
3>The very same body we lay down at death, we shall assume again at the resurrection; not only the same specifical, but the same numerkal body; Job xix. 25, 26. "With theic eyes fhall *> I see God."
4. The unbodied souL fhall not find the want of its body, so as to asflict or disquiet it; nor the body the want of its foul; but the one shall be at rest in heaven, and the other sweet asleep in the grave; and all that long interval shall slide away without any afflicting sense of each others absence. The time will be long, Job. xiv. 12. but if it were longer, it cannot be afflicting, considering, how the soul is cloathed immediately, 2 Cor. v. 1, 2. and how the body sleeps sweetly in Jesus, 1 Thess. iv. 14.
5. When the day of their re-espousals is corner the foul will find the body so transformed and improved, that it fhall neves receive prejudice from it any more, but a singular addition to its happiness and glory. Now it clogs us: Mat. xxvi. 41, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." It enJ cumbers us with cares to provide for it, and eats up time and thoughts; but then it will be a spiritual body, 1 Cor. xv. 43. like to the angels for manner of subsistence, Luke xx. 35, 36. iCor. vi. 13. and, which is the highest step of glory, like unto Christ's glorious body, Phil. iii. 21. Well therefore might the Father say, Resurrecfio mortuorum eji consohtio Christlansranft the resurrection of the dead is the consolation of Christians. Use second, of reproof.
In the next place, let me press you to regulate your love t* your bodies, by the rules of religion and right reason: I must press you to love them, though nature itself tcacheth you so to do; but I press you to love them as Christians, as men that tin> derstand the right use and improvement of their bodies. There are two forts of errors in our love to the body, one in desect, the other in excess; both come fitly here to be censured and healed.
First, Some ofsend in the desect of love to their own bodies* who use them as if they had no love for them, whose souls act as if they were enemies to their own bodies: they do not for* mally and directly hate them, but'Consequentially aud eventu* ally they may be said to hate them, and that,
(1.) By defiling them with filthy lusts; lo the apostle speaks, 1 Cor. vi. 18. "Every sin that a man doth, is without the bo"dy* but he that cothmitteth adultery sinneth against his own "body:" In other sins it is the instrument, but here it is both instrument and object; not only God, but your own bodies are abused, and wronged by it; The body may be considered two ways, Either,
1. As our vessel; or
2. As the Spirit's temple.
1. As our vessel or instrument for natural and spiritual uses and services: and on that account we should not injure or defile it, I Thess. ivi 4, 5. but possess it in saoctirkatiou and honour. The lusts of uncleannels, gluttony, and drunkenness, quench the vigour, blast the beauty, and destroy the health and honour of the body; and so render it both naturally and morally unfit for the service and use of the soul.
2. And the Injury is yet greater, if we consider it as the Spirit's temple. Gn this ground the apostle strongly cohvincetb, and dissuadeth Christians frdn these abuses of the body, 1 Cor. vi. 15, 16. He argues from the dignity God will put upon our bodies by the resurrection, ver. 13, 14. They are to be transformed, and made like unto Christ's glorious body; and froni the honour he has already put upon the bodies of the saints in their union with Christ, ver. 15, 16. They* as well as the fool, are ingrafted into him, and joined with him; they are his temples, to be dedicated, hallowed* and consecrated to his service. O let them tiot be made a sink for lusts, or mere strainers fas meat and drink.
(2.) By macerating them with covetous lusts, denying them their due comforts and resreshments, and unmercisully burdening them with labours and sorrows about things that perish. (1.) Some deny their bodies due comforts and refreshments, which the natural and positive laws of God both allow and command. Their souls are cruel step-mothers to their bodies, and keep them too short; not out of a prudent and Christian design to starve their lusts, but to advance their estates. Of this Solomon speaks, Eccl. vi. 21. "There is an evil which I have seen *' under the sun, and it is common among men; A man to whom "God hath given riches, wealth and honour, so that he want** eth noth'mg for his foul of all that he desireth; yet God giv"eth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it. **. This is vanity, and it is an evil disease." Tenacity is a disease of the soul, like that of a dyscrasy in the stomach, which so indisposcth it that it cannot receive with any appetite or delight the best refreshments at a plentiful table. (2.) And others there are that wrong and abuse their own bodies, by laying unreasonable and unmerciful loads upon them, especially loads of grief and sorraw, wasting and v/eakening them beyond all rules of reason or religion. If a friend or relation die, they have less mercy on their own bodies than a conscientious man hath on the horse he rides. Cares and sorrows are as deadly to the body as a sword, 1 Tim. vi. 10. Intense and immoderate griefs about worldly lodes and crosses have stain their ten thousands; and, which is strange, the soul seems to take a certain kind of pleasure in loading and tormenting the body. There is a real truth in that strange expression of * Seneca, "Sorrow itself hath a "certain kind of pleasure attending it."
The souls of some mourners do willingly excite and provoke their own grief, when they begin to abate, which is like the whetting of the knise that grows dull, to make it cut the deeper into the body. Thus, as f Seneca observes, " some pa"rents that have lost their beloved children, willingly call ta "mind their pleasant sayings, and pretty actions to find a kind "of pleasure in a fresh shower of tears for them;" when, poor hearts J Sorrow hath so broken them already, that they need consolations under their present sorrows, rather than irritations of new ones. Aud the soul's unmercifulness to the body, is in, such causes sarther discovered by its obstinate refusal of all that
* Tnest quiddam duke tri/litia:. Ep. 806.
\ Cum tccurrant sermones eoruf/i jucundi, ctnversatie hli.-pu, officie/a pittas: tanc oculi veins in gaud/a reiaxantur. Id. ib<