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entering makes them submit to it with patience, yet they cannot but abhor and shrink from so bitter a medicine, even when it is tempered with the strong consolations of the Spirit of God.


3. To give the bighest instance that can be of the dreadfulnsę of death, we find, that even our Lord Jesus Christ himself, in whom there were no disordered passions, no sinful fears, none of those weaknesses and follies which in us do too often serve only to increase and enhance the dreadfulness of death; yet even he loaths and nauseates to drink of that cup; and prays, with all fervency and importunity, that it might pass from him : Matt. xxvi. 39. O my Father', if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. And nothing, but his Father's will, was of power enough to reconcile him to it: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Certainly, that must needs be a very direful composition, which should make Him, who was God as well as man, so averse from taking it: that must needs be a very formidable enemy, which should make Him loth to conflict, though he were sure to conquer it; and not only restore life to himself, but to all the world. Indeed, that, which made this cup so exceeding bitter to our Lord Christ, was the wrath of God, and the curse of the Law, that were tempered in it; but, yet, the very vehicle of these, death itself, and the separation of his body and soul, was in itself very unpleasant and irksome, even unto Him whose person was divine and whose nature was innocent. And, therefore, it must needs be, that death hath in it a great deal of dread and terror.

Thus we see it demonstrated, that death is a very dreadful and tremendous enemy to human nature.

ii. Let us next consider, WHAT THERE IS IN DEATH, THAT SHOULD MAKE IT THUS DREADFUL; that should make its sting so sharp and poignant, and cause such a natural abhorrency and antipathy against it in us.

And this I shall shew, in Five particulars. 1. The harbingers, which go before it, to prepare its way. And these are, usually, languishing diseases, or racking pains; which, as the avant-couriers of a hostile army, commonly commit little less spoil than the whole body of it: these spend the strength and waste the comfort of life; and scarce leave any thing, besides a consumed carcase, for death to prey upon And, must it not needs be terrible and irksome to nature, to conflict with these scouts of death ? to be cast upon the bed of languishing; restlessly tossing to and fro in the night-season, watching for the morning; and, in the day, wishing for night, and finding no ease, no refreshment in either? when a fever shall burn us to ashes; a dropsy deluge us; and, it may be, with those floods which our own intemperance hath let in, quench the vital flame and lamp of our life? And, while we are struggling for life and gasping for breath, our assisting-friends, with their officious mournings, increase, but cannot help our grief, by theirs.

2. Death is likewise dreadful, as it deprives us of all the comforts and enjoyments of life.

If God hath blessed thee with plenty and affluence of these temporal good things; if thou enjoyest riches, honour, friends, and whatsoever thy heart can here desire to make thy life sweet and comfortable to thee; will it not grate upon thee, to think, that shortly all these must be sequestered? Thou must be haled from the embraces of thy dearest friends, degraded of thy titles, divested of thy robes, turned out of thy possessions, and must take up thy abode in the silent chambers of darkness and corruption. These are the things, which make men loth to die. And, indeed, those, who have made them their treasures and their good things, will find it a very hard task, to be willing to leave all behind them at the mouth of the grave. They can wait upon thee no farther. And oh, what a sad parting hour will it be to the poor soul, when it must be compelled to remove into another world, and leave all its good things behind in this ! how will it protract and linger! how loth will it be to enter upon so great a journey, and have nothing left to defray the charge of it! how wistly will it look back upon all those dear vanities, that it had hoarded up together! « What! cannot I carry

this session and those riches, this estate and that treasure, out of the world with me? Must we then part for ever? Yes, O soul, for

None of these things canst thou carry with thee.” And oh, think, what a sad thing it will be for thy poor soul to be set on shore in a vast and dismal eternity, all naked and destitute; having nothing of all the superfluities and abundance of comforts, which here it made its chief good, to relieve and support it!

Or, if men's estate be low and mean in the world, exposed to many wants and miseries : yet, even to such, death is terrible;



por can they be willingly brought to part with their share of enjoyments, though it be nothing but the common air, and dear light, and their own flattering hopes that yet they may live to possess more. For hope of better for the future, is a most tenacious thing: and those, who have nothing else to live upon, yet cannot look upon death with content; because, although it put an end and period to their present miseries, yet it likewise cuts off their hopes, in which, at least, they are as rich and happy as the greatest.

3. Another thing, which is dreadful and stinging in death, is that, which truly and properly is death itself: I mean, the separation of those dear companions, the soul and body.

They are, in life, knit together by an unintelligible bond of union and friendship. There is a most secret and powerful sympathy between them; and that, which is the very life of friendship, a communication of passions and affections. They have spent many years together in perfect amity and concord; and, therefore, it may well be dreadful to think of parting at the last. And,

4. The consideration of those dishonours and disgraces, which shall befal the body upon this separation, is likewise very stinging and irksome unto nature.

There it must lie, a sad, wan, and ghastly spectacle to thy friends, and afterwards be lodged in the bed of silence and putrefaction. There, whole heaps of worms shall crawl upon thee and devour thee: and the next corpse, that wants room, may perhaps disturb thy bones, and not allow thee so much as the quiet of death, and the peaceable possession of thy grave. Thy few remains may lie scattered about the mouth of it: and thou, who art now respected and honoured, mayst have thy only visible relics rudely and irreverently dealt with. And, certainly, there is in us all such a natural love to our bodies, that we, who think all our care and pains too little in pampering and indulging them, cannot but look upon death as a most dreadful enemy, that shall bring upon them so many contumelies and dishonour's. And,

5. The most sharp and stinging consideration of all, is, That death delivers us over into eternity, which we have ten thousand times deserved should be infinitely wretched and miserable to us.

Our consciences do misgive, and presage very dreadful things against us; and often represent to our view all the woes and



plagues which are stored up in hell, the treasury and magazine of all plagues. And, though the former considerations tender death very frightful; as it is inflicted upon us by pains and diseases; as it deprives us of all the comforts of life; as it is the separation of soul and body; as it leaves the body under the dishonours and ghastly deformities of rottenness and putrefaction: yet, had death nothing in it more dreadful than these, it might be supportable. Yea, and we know, that many, who have been borne up by the consolations of the Holy Spirit, have opened their arms to it and embraced it: though with natural reluctance, as it is death; yet, with joy and exultation, as it is to them an admission into eternal life. But, when death shall summon us to appear before the dreadful tribunal of God, and suggest to us horrid apprehensions of woe and torments that we shall by him he adjudged unto; this is that sting, which is most sharp and piercing; that sting, the poison of which affects the soul with most inexpressible anguish and agonies.

II. And this brings me to the Second Proposition, which is the

very words of the text, THE STING OF DEATH IS SIN. For,

i. It was only sin, that BROUGHT DEATH INTO THE WORLD.

So the Apostle, expressly : Rom. v. 12. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. This serpent owes his being, as well as his sting and poison, unto man's transgression. Indeed, Adam was no more created immortal by nature, than he was impeccable: but as he had potentiam non peccandi, so he had likewise potentiam non moriendi; a power, neither to have sinned nor died; but might have prolonged his days, either to a happy eternity here upon earth, or to a blessed translation into heaven. But, as soon as sin had gotten possession of his soul, death lays in claim to his body; and sends a numerous train of grim attendants, fear, sadness, decays, troubles, pains, and diseases, to secure him from making his escape: and, by these, we must all, sooner or later, fall into his hands.


It is the consciousness of sin and guilt, which makes death so bitter and intolerable to us; and therefore the Apostle, Heb, ij. 15. speaks of some, who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage : and this bondage of fear and terrors, under which they were held, was from the scorching apprehensions of that hell and everlasting wrath, which were to follow after death. And, though now, possibly, in the jollity of thy youth and health, thou puttest far from thee all such dreadful and disturbing thoughts; though, it may be, when conscience begins to recal them, thou desperately chokest it, either by the cares of the world, or intemperance, or by wicked and lewd company, or some such hellish artifice : yet, know for certain, that it will watch its advantages to return upon thee; and, it may be, represent all the horrors and dread of these things to thee, when thou art just entering into thy eternal state, to feel them. When our souls, in the very agonies of death, are just loosening themselves from those bands that tied them to the body, they will, doubtless, then make strange discoveries of those terrible things, which now, in our health, when we are any thing serious, make our hearts ache and our consciences tremble: but, then, the terrors of them will be such, as will even cramp and confound the soul; when it shall see them all come rolling upon him, and no possibility left to escape or defer them: now, they are upon the very borders and confines of that region, where ghosts and spirits are the only inhabitants : here, a holy and just God is summoning them to his bar, and passing an irreversible doom upon them: there, they see hell casting up black and sooty flames, and thousands of wretched souls wallowing in them : all these dreadful things, conscience will represent to convinced sinners; and make them infinitely more dreadful, by suggesting, that they all make against them, and are the preparations of divine wrath and vengeance to punish them. Now, Sinner! how canst thou encourage thyself? how wilt thou bear up thy heart against the thoughts and fears of death? doth it not almost kill thee, only to think, that thou must die, and then have all the wrath of the Great God executed upon thee, to eternity ? death is still waiting for the forfeiture of your lives; and, after death, hell and eternal torments; torments, which shall never have end or ease: under the sharpest tortures we can suffer here, we comfort ourselves, that they will shortly wear off; but, there, your tortures shall be most exquisite, and yet have no end.

It is in vain to cry, as here we do, when we are under pains or diseases, “Would to

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