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fucure Account ; must make to ourselves Friends of the Mammon of Unrighteousness, that when we fail, they may receive us into everlasting Habitations. What concerns a better Life, must take up most of our Thoughts and Care; and whatever endangers our future Happiness, must be rejected with all its Charms. It would not be worth the while to live some few Years here, were we not to live for ever; and therefore it becomes a wise Man, who remembers that he must shortly leave this World, to make his present Life wholly fubfer. vient to his future Happiness.
The Second Notion of Death, that it is our
putting off these Bodies. E T us now consider Death as it is our
putting off these Bodies; for this is the proper Notion of Death, the Separation of Soul and Body, that the Body returns to Dust, the Soul or Spirit unto God who gave it. When we die, we do not cease to be, nor ceafe to live, but only cease to live in these earthly Bodies; the vital Union between Soul and Body is diffolved, we are no longer encloystered in a Tabernacle of Flesh, we no longer feel the Impresfions of it, neither the Pains nor Pleasures of the Body can affect us, it can charm, it can tempt, no longer. This needs no Proof, but very well deserves our most serious Meditations.
For, 1. This teaches us the Difference and Dil tinction between Soul and Body, which Men who are funk into Flesh and Sense, are apt to forget; nay, to lose the the very Notion and Belief of it: All their Delights are fleshly, they know no other Pleafures but what their five Senles furnish them with ; they cannot raise their Thoughts about this Body, nor entertain any noble Designs, and therefore they imagine, that they are nothing but Flesh and Blood, a little organized and animated Clay ; and it is no great Wonder, that Men who feel the Workings and Motions of no higher Principle of Life in them, but Flesh and Sense, should imagine that they are nothing but Flesh themselves. Though methinks, when we see the sensess and putrifying Remains of a brave Man before us, it is hard to conceive that this is all of him; that this is the Thing which fome few Hours ago could reason and discourse, was fit to govern a Kingdom, or to infruct Mankind, could despise Flesh and Sense, and govern all his bodily Appetites and Inclinations, and was adorned with all divine Graces and Virtues, was the Glory and Pride of the Age: And is this dead Carcase, which we now see, the Whole of him? Or was there a more divine Inhabitant, which animated this earthly Machine, which gave Life, and Beauty, and Motion to it, but is now removed ?
To be sure, those who believe that Death does not put an End to their Being, but only removes them out of this Body, which rots in the Grave, while their Souls survive, live, and act, and may he happy in a separate State, should carefully con, sider this Distinction between Soul and Body, which would teach them a most divine and heavenly Wifdom.
For when we consider, That we consist of Soul and Body, which are the two diftinct Parts of Man, this will teach us to take care of both. For can any Man, who believes he has a Soul, be concerned only for his Body? A compound Creature can
not be happy, unless both Parts of him enjoy their proper Pleasures. He who enjoys only the Pleasures of the Body, is never the happier for having a human and reasonable Soul: The Soul of a Beast would have done as well, and it may be better i for brute Creatures relish bodily Pleasures as much, and it may be more, than Men do; and Reason is very troublesome to those Men who resolve to to live like Brutes; for it makes them ashamed and afraid, which in many Cases hinders, or at least allays, their Pleasures. And why should not a Man desire the full and entire Happiness of a Man? Why should he despise any part of himself, and that, as you shall hear presently, the best Part too? And therefore, at least, we ought to take as much Care of our Souls as of our Bodies. Do we adorn our Bodies, that we may be fit to be seen, and to converse with Men, and may receive chose Respects which are due to our Quality and Fortune , and fhail we not adorn our Souls too with those Chriftian Graces, which make us lovely in the Sight of God and Men ? The Ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit, which is in the Sight of God of
great Price; which St. Peter especially recommends to Christian Women, as a more valuable Ornament than the outward adorning of plaiting the Hair, or wearing Gold, or putting on Apparel, 1. Pet. iii. 3, 4. The Ornaments of Wisdom and Prudence, of wellgovern'd Pallions, of Goodness and Charity, which give a Grace and Beauty to all our Actions, and such a pleasing and charming Air to our very Countenance, as the most natural Beauty, or artificial Washes and Paints can never imitate.
Are we careful to preserve our Bodies from any Hurt, from Pains and Sickness, from burning Fevers, or the racking Gout or Stone; and shall we
not be as careful of the Ease of the Mind too? To quiet and calm those Passions, which when they grow outragious, are more intolerable than all natural or artificial Tortures ? To moderate thote Defires, which rage like Hunger and
Thirft; those Fears which convulse the Mind with Trembling and Paralytick Motions; those furious Tempests of Anger, Revenge, and Envy, which ruffle our Minds, and fill us with Vexation, Restlessness and Confusion of Thoughts; especially those guilty Reflections upon ourselves, that Worm in the Conscience which gnaws the Soul, and torments us with Shame and Remorse, and dreadful Expectations of an Avenger. These are the Sicknesses and Distempers
of the Soul: These are Pains indeed, more sharp and puugent, and killing Pains than our Bodies are capable of: The Spirit of a Man can bear bis Infirmity; natural Courage, or the Powers of Reason, or the Comforts of Religion, can support us under all other Sufferings; but a wounded Spirit who can bear? and therefore a Man who loves Ease should in the firft Place take care of the Ease of his Mind, for that will make all other Sufferings easy; but nothing can fupport a Man, whose Mind is wounded.
Are we fond of bodily Pleasures ? Are we ready to purchase them at any Rate? And if we be Men, why should we despise the Pleasures of the Mind ? If we have Souls, why should we not reap the Benefit and the Pleasures of them? Do you think there are no Pleasures proper to the Soul ? Have we Souls that are good for nothing? Or of no Use to us, but only to relish the Pleasures of the Body? Ask those who have tried, what the Pleasures of Wisdom and Knowledge are, which do as much excel the Pleasures of seeing, as Truth is more beautiful and glorious than the Sun: Ask them what
a Pleasure it is to know God, the greatest and best Being, and the brightest Object of our Minds; to contemplate his Wisdom, and Goodness, and Power in the Works of Creation and Providence; to be swallowed
in that stupendous Mystery of Love, the Redemption of Sinners, by the incarnation and Sufferings of the Son of God? Ask them what the Pleasures of Innocence and Virtue are ; what the Feast of a good Conscience means; which is the greatest Happiness, to give or to receive; what the Joys even of Sufferings and Perfecutions, of Want and Poverty, and Reproach are, for the Sake of Christ? Alk a devout Soul, What Transports and Ravishment of Spirit he feels, when he is upon his Knees, when with St. Paul, he is even snatched up into the Third Heavens, filled with God, overflowing with Praises and Divine Joys? And does it not then become a Man, who has a reasonable Soul, to feek after these rational, these manly, these divine Pleasures, the Pleasures of the Mind and Spirit, which are proper and peculiar to a reasonable Creature? Let hiin do this, and then let him enjoy the Pleasures of the Body as much as he can, which will be very insipid and tasteless, when his Soul is ravished with more noble Delights.
In a word, if we are so careful to preserve the Life of our Bodies, which we know must die, and rot and putrify in the Grave, methinks we should not be less careful to preserve the Life of our Souls, which is the only immortal Part of us. For though our Souls cannot die, as our Bodies do, yet they may be miserable, and that is called Eternal Death, where the Worın never dieth, and the Fire never goeth out. For to be always miserable, is infinitely worse than not to be at all, and therefore is the most formidable Death. And if we are so unwil