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• Arg-. 5. There are many scriptures which very much favour, if they do not positively, conclude for the soul's inclination to, and desire to be rc-uni;ed with its own body, even whilst it i$ in the (late of its single glorification in heaven: Certainly our fouls leave not their bodies at death, as the ostrich doth her egg io the send, without any further regard to it, or concernment for it; but they are represented as crying to God to remember, avenge, and vindicate them, Rev. vi. 10, 11. "How long, "Lord, how long wilt thou not avenge our blood?" Our blood, speaks both the continued relation, and suitable affection they have to their absent bodies.
And to the fame sense * a judicious and learned pen expounds that place, Job xiv. 14. (which is commonly, but I know not how fitly, accommodated to another purpose) "All the days of "my appointed time will I wait till my change come." Which words, by a diligent comparing of the context, appears to have this for their proper scope and sense.
'Job in the former verse had expressed his confidence by 'way of petition, that at a set and appointed time God would 'remember him, so as to recal him out of the grave; and now,
• minded to speak out more fully, puts the question to himselfj "If a man die, slull he live again?' And thus answers it, 'Ail "the days of my appointed time' (that is, of the appointed 'time which he mentioned before, when God should revive 'him out of the dust) 'will I wait till my change come;' that 'is, that glorious change, when the corruption of a lothsome 'grave should be exchanged for immortal glory: Which he 'amplifies, and utters more expressly, ver. 15. 'Thou shalt *' call, and I will answer; thou shalt have a desire to the work "of thy hands:' Thou wilt not always forget to restore and . persect thine own creature. And surely this waiting is not
• the act of his inanimate sleeping dust, but of that part which 'should be capable of such an action: q. d. I, in that part 'which shall be still alive, shall patiently wait the appointed 'time of reviving me in that part also, which death and the 'grava shall insult over in a temporary triumph in the mean 'time.'
Upon these grounds, I think, the inclination of the separated ipirits of the just to their own bodies to be a justifiable opinion. As for the damned, we have no reason to think such a re-union to be desirable to them; for alas, it will be but the increase
* Mr, Howe's blesssdness of the righteous, p, 170, 171, Vox. UI. S x
and aggravation of their torments: Which consideration is sufficient to over-power and stifle the inclination of nature, and make the very thoughts of it horrid r.<d dreadful. To what end (as the prophet fpeaks in another case) is it for them to desire that day? It will be a day of darkness and gloominess to them; re-union being designed to complete the happiness of the one, and the misery of the other.
But before I take off my hand, and dismiss this question, I must remember that I am debtor to two objections.
Object. I. The soul can both live, and atl separate from the body, it needs it not; and if it do not want, -why should it desire it?
Sol. The lise and actings of the glorified are considerable two ways, (i.) Singly and abstractedly for the lise and action of one part: And so we consess the foul lives happily, and acts forth its own powers freely in the state of separation. (2.) Personally, or concretely, as it is the lise and action of the whole man, and so it doth both need and desire the conjunction or reunion of the body; for the body is not only a part of Christs purchase, as well as the soul, and to have its own glory, as well as it, but it is also a constitutive part of a complete glorified person; and so considered, the saints are not persectly happy till this re-union be effected, which is the true ground and reason of this its desire.
Object/ 2. But this hypothesis seems to thwart the account given in scripture of the rest, and placidstate of separate souls: for look, as bodies which gravitate and propend do not rest, so neither do souls which incline and desire.
Sol. There is a vast disserence betwixt the tendencies, and propensions of souls in the way to glory, and in glory: We that are absent from the Lord, can find no rest in the way; but those that are with the Lord can rest in Jesus, and yet wait without anxiety, or self-torturing impatience, for the accomplishment of the promises to their absent bodies, Rev. vi. 10, 11.
Corollary. Let this provoke us a^ll to get sanctified souls, to rule and use these their bodies now for God. This will abundantly sweeten their parting at death, and their meeting again at the resurrection of the just; else their parting will be doleful, and their next meeting dreadful. And lo much for the doctrine of separation.
The Uses of the Point. .
Our way is now open to the improvement, and use of this excellent subject and doctrine of separation; and certainly it affords as rich an entertainment for our affections, as for our minds, in the following uses ; of which the first will be for our information In fix practical inferences.
Infer. 1. If this be the lise and state of gracious fouls after their separation from the body, Then holy persons ought not to entertain dismal and terrifying thoughts of their own dissolution. The apprehensions and thoughts of death should have a peculiar pleasantness in the minds of believers. You have heard into -what a blessed presence and communion death introduceth your souls; how it leads you out of a body of fin, a world of sorrows, the society of impersect stints, to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made persect, to that lovely mount Sion, to the heavenly sanctuary, to the blessed visions of the face of God. Oh! methinks there hath been enough said, to make all the souls, in whom the wellgrounded hopes of the lise of glory are found, to cry out with the apostle, "We are confident, I say^ yea, and willing rather '' to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord," 2 Cor v. 8.
When good Musculus drew near his end, how sweet and pleasant was this meditation to his soul I Hear his swan-like song:
* Nil superest, vitae frigus praecordia captat;
Sed, tu Chrifle, mihi vita perennis acles:
En tibi duEtor adest angelus ille tuus.
<guam tibi jida Dei dextera restituet.
Peccata expurgat sanguine cuntla suo.
Ad quam te Chrifti gratia cert a vocat.
Why quiverest thou, my foul, within my breast?
* Mehhior Adams, in vita Musculi, p 385.
Hast finn'd? I know it, let not that be urg'd;
For Christ thy sms, with his own blood hath purg'd.
Is death affrighting? True, but yet withal
Consider, Christ thro' death to lise doth call.
He triumphs over Satan, sin, and death;
Therefore with joy resign thy dying breath.
Much in the fame chearful frame was the heart of dying Builinger #, when his mournful friends expressed their sense of the loss they should sustain by his removal. "Why, said he, if God "will make any farther use of my labours in the ministry, he "will renew my strength, and I will gladly serve him: But if "he please (as 1 desire he would) to call me hence, I am ready "to obey his will; and nothing more pleasant can befal met "than to leave this sinful and miserable world to go to my Sa"viour Christ." O that all, who are out of the danger of death, were thus got out of the dread of death too.
Let them only tremble, and be convulsed at the thoughts and fight of death, whose souls must fall into the hands of a sinrevenging God by the stroke of death; who are to breath out thefr last hope with their last breath. Death h yours, faith the apostle, i Cor. iii. 22. your friend, your privilege, your passage to heaven; it is your ignorance of it, which breeds your fears about it.
Inser. 2. Gather from hence, the absolute, indispensibk necessity es your union -with Christ, besore your dissolution by death.
Wo to that foul which shall be separated from its body before it be United with Christ : None but the spirits of just men are made persect at death. Righteous fouls are the only qualified subjects of blessedness.
'Tis true, every foul hath a natural capacity of happiness, but gracious fouls only have an actual meetness for glory. The scriptures tell us in the plainest words, that "without holiness "no man shall see the Lord," Heb. xii. 14. that "except we "be regenerate, and born again, we cannot fee the kingdom "of God," John iii. 3. You make the greatest adventure that ever was made by man; indeed, an adventure infinitely too great for any man to make, when you shoot the gulph of vast eternity upon terms of hazard and uncertainty.
* Si Deo visum suerit, mea opera ulterius in ecclejta ministtrio vti; ipse vires sufficiet, et libens illi parelo; Jin me volueril (quod op/o ) ex hac vita evocare, paratus sum illius voluntati obsequi; ac nihil est quod mihi jucundius posit contingere, quam ex hoc misera et comiptissimo seculo ad Chrisluvi servaterem meitm tn'tgrandumsit. Idem. p. 503.
What thinkest thou, reader? Darest thou adven ture thy soul and eternal happineis upon it, that the work of regeneration jnd sanctification, that very same work of grace, on which the Spirit of God has placed all thy hopes of heaven ia these scrip* tures, is truly wrought by him in thy soul? Cansider it well, pause upon it again and again before thou go forth. Should a mistake be committed here, (and nothing is more easy or com4 xnon, all the world over, than such mistakes) thou art irrecoverably gone. This venture can be made but once, and the miscarriage is never to be retrieved afterwards; thou hast hot another foul to adventure, nor a second adventure to make of this. Well might the apostle Peter call for all diligence to make our calling and our election sure: That can never be made too sure, which is so invaluable in its worth, and to be but once adventured.
Inser. 3. How prejudicial is it to dying Inert to be then inctttnbred, diverted, and distra&ed about earthly concernments, whett the time of their departure is at hand.
The business and employment of dying persons is of so vast importance and weight, that every moment of their time need to be carefully saved, and applied to this their present and most important concern. How well soever you have improved the time of lise, believe it, you will find work ecoilgh upon your hand at death: dying hours will be found to be busy and laborious hours. even to the most painful, serious, and industrious fouls, whole lise hath been mostly spent in preparations for death. Leave not the proper business of other days to that day; for that day will have business enough of its own. Sufficient for that day are the labours thereof. Let a sew considerations be pondered, to clear and confirm this inserence.
Consider. 1. The business and employment of dying persons, is of the most serious, awful, and solemn nature and importance; it is their last preparatory work on earth, to their immediate appearance before God their judge, Heb. ix. 27. it is their fhooting the gulph into eternity, and leaving this world, and all thtir acquaintance and interests therein for ever, Isa. xxviii. 11. It is therefore a work by itself to die, a work requiring the most intense, deep, and undisturbed exercises of all the abilities and graces of the inner man; and all little enough.
Consider. 1. Time is exceeding precious with dyinrt men; the last land is ready to sall, and therefore not to be wasted, as it was wont to be. When we had a sair prospect of many years. before us, we made little account of an hour or dny; but now tone of those hours, which we so carelessly lavished away, is