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1. That the general Period of human Life, which

is the fame Thing with the Time of our Death,

is fix'd and determined by God. II. That the particular Time of every Man's

Death, tho' it be foreknown by God, who foreknows all Things; yet it does not appear, that it is peremptorily decreed and determined by

God. III. That the particular Time when any of us

shall die, is unknown and uncertain to us. IV. That we must die but once : It is appointed

for all Men once to die.


SECT. I. That the general Period of human Life is fix'd

and determined by GOD, and that is but

very short. 1.

IHAT the general Period of human Life,

which is the fame Thing with the Time of our Death, is fix'd and determin'd by God; that is, there is a Time set to human Life, beyond which no Man shall live, as Job fpeaks, Job xiv. 5. His ·Days are determined, the number of his Montbs are with thee; thou haft appointed bis Bounds that he cannot pass. Which does not refer to the Period of every particular Man's Life, but is spoken of Men in general, that there are fix'd Bounds fet to human Life, which no Man can exceed.

What these Bounds are, God has not expreslly declar'd, but that must be learn'd from Obfervation. Such a Time as most commonly puts a Period to Mens Lives who live longest, may generally pass for the common Measure of human Life, tho' there may be some few Exceptions.

Before the Flood no Man lived a thousand Years; and therefore we may conclude, That the longest Term of human Life, after the Sentence


of of Death was passed on Man, was confined within a thousand Years. Methuselah, who was the longest Liver, lived but nine hundred sixty-nine Years, and he died; so that no Man never lived a thousand Years : And comparing this Obfervation with that Promife of a thousand Years Reign with Christ, which is called the first Resurrection, and is the Portion only of Martyrs and Confessors, and pure and fincere Chriftians, Rev. xx. I have been apt to conclude, That to live a thousand Years is the Privilege only of immortal Creatures; that if Adam had continued innocent, he should have lived no longer on Earth, but have been translated to Heaven without dying; for this thousand Years Reign of the Saints with Christ, whatever that fignifies, seems to be intended as a Reparation of that Death which they fell under by Adam's Sin : But then these thousand Years do not put an End to the Happiness of these glorious Saints, but they are immortal Creatures; and tho' this Reign with Christ continues but a thousand Years, their Happiness Thall have no End, tho' the Scene may. change and vary : For over Juch Men the Jecond Death bath no Pocwer. Or else this thousand Years Reign with Christ must fignify an eternal and unchangeable Kingdom, a thousand Years being a certain Earnestof Immortality ; but there is an unanswerable Objection against that, because we read of the expiring of these thousand Years, and what shall come after them, even the final Judgment of all the World. But this is a great Myftery, which we must not hope perfectly to understand, till we see thc blessed Accomplishments of it.

But tho' before the Flood fome Persons lived very near the thousand Years, yet after the Flood


the Term of Life was much shorten'd: Some think this was done by God, when he pronounced that Sentence, Gen. vi. 3. And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with Man, for ibat he alfo is Flesh, get his Days fall be an bundred and twenty years. As if God had then decreed, that the Life of Man should not exceed an hundred and twenty Years.

But this does not agrec with that Account, we have of Men's Lives after the Flood; for not only Noah and his Sons, who were with him in the Ark, lived much longer than this after the Flood: Arphaxad lived five hundred and thirty Years, Salab four hundred and three Years, Eber four hundred and thirty Years, and Abrabam himself a hundred seventyfive Years; and therefore this hundred and twenty Years cannot refer to the ordinary Term of Man's Life, but to the Continuance of God's Patience with that wicked World, before he would bring the Flood upon them to destroy that corrupt Generation of Men; that is, That he would bear with them a hundred and twenty Years. before he would send the Flood to destroy them. But afterwards by Degrees Life was ihorten’d,

nfomuch, that tho' Mofes himfelf lived a great deal longer, yet if the goth Psalm was composed by him, as the Title tells us it was, the ordinary Term of Life in his Days was but threescore and ten, or fourscore Years, ver. 10. The Days of our years are threescore yeurs and ten: and if by reason of Strength They be fourscore years, yet is their Strength Labour and Sorrow; so foon passeth it away, and it is gone. And this has continued the ordinary Measure of Life ever fince; which is so very thort, that David might well fay, Behold thou hast - made my Days as an Handbreudth, and mine Age is as nothing before thee:


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verily every Man at his best Estate is altogether Vanity, Pfal. xxxix. 5.

I shall not scrupulously enquire into the Reason of this great Change, why our Lives are reduced into so narrow a Compass: Some will not believe that it was so, but think there is a Miftake in the Manner of the Account ; that when they are said to live eight or nine hundred Years, they computed their Years by the Moon, not by the Sun ; that is, their Years were Months, twelve of which make but one of our Years ; and then indeed the longest Livers of them did not live so long as many do at this Day; for Methuselah himself, who lived nine hundred fixty nine Years, according to our Computation of Months for Years, lived but fourscore Years and five Months. But it is very absurd to imagine, that Moses should use two such different Accounts of Time, that sometimes by a Year he should mean no more than a Month, and fometimes twelve Months, without giving the least Notice of it, which is unpardonable in any Hiftorian : And therefore others complain much, that they were not born in those Days, when the Life of Man was prolonged for so many hundred Years: There had been some Comfort in living then, when they enjoyed all the Vigour and Gaiety of Youth, and could relish the Pleasures of Life for seven, eight or nine hundred Years. A Bleffing which Men would purchase at any rate in our Days: But now we can scarce turn ourselves about in the World, but we are admonished by grey Hairs, or the sensible Decays of Nature, to prepare for our Winding-theet.' And therefore, for the farther Improvement of this Argument, I shall, 1. Shew you, What little Reason we have to complain of the Shortness of Life. 2. What Ule we are to make of it,


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What little Reason we have to complain of the

Shortness of human Life.
HAT little Reason we have to complain

of the Shortness of Life, and the too hasty Approaches of Death to us : For, 1. Such a long Life is not reconcileable with the present State of the World. And, 2dly. Our Lives are long enough for all the wise Purposes of Living.

1. Such a long Life is not reconcileable with the present State of the World. What the State of the World was before the Flood, in what Manner they lived, and how they employed their Time, we cannot tell, for Moles has given no ACcount of it; but taking the World as it is, and as we find it, I dare undertake to convince those Men who are most apt to complain of the Shortness of Life, that it would not be for the general Happiness of Mankind to have it much longer : For, 1. The World is at present very unequally divided; some have a large Share and Portion of it, others have nothing, but what they earn by very hard Labour, or extort from other Mens Charity by their restless Importunities, or gain by more ungodly Arts: Now, tho’the Rich and Prosperous, who have the World at Command, and live in Ease and Pleasure, would be very well contented to spend fome hundred Years in this World, yet I Thould think fifty or threescore Years abundantly enough for Slaves and Beggars; enough to spend in Hunger and Want, in a Goal and a Prison. And those who are so foolish as not to think this enough, owe a great deal to the Wifdom and Goodness of God, that he does : So that the greatest Part of Mankind have great



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