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confess himself to be in all things else as bad as ever he can or dare. Honesty is renounced by that man or woman that profess themselves to be atheists or infidels : methinks in congruency with their profession they should take it for a wrong to be called or reputed honest! If you tell me that heathens had a kind of honesty; I must tell you again, that most heathens believed the immortality of the soul, and that kind of seeming honesty which they had was only in those of them that thus expected a life to come. But those that believe not another life where man is to have his punishment and reward, have nothing like to honesty in them, but live like greedy, ravenous beasts, where they are from under the laws and government of them that look for another life. The cannibals that eat men's flesh, and some such savages as they, are the nations that expect no life but this. It is believed so commonly by all the civil infidels and Turks, as shews it to be a principle that nature doth reveal.
7. Yea, the whole creation that is within the sight of man, is destroyed opinionatively by the infidels that look for no immortal life: for all things were made to further our salvation: the "heavens to declare the glory of God, and the firmament to shew his handy work," and all creatures to be our glass in which we must behold the Lord, and our book in which we must read and learn his nature and his will. The sun is to light us, and maintain our life, and the life of other lower creatures, while we prepare for immortality: the earth is to bear us, and to bear fruit for us; and the trees and plants, and every creature, to accommodate and serve us, while we serve the Lord and pass on to eternity. And therefore the atheist that denieth us our eternity, denieth the usefulness of all the world. What were all the creatures here good for, if there were no men? The earth would be a wilderness, and the beasts would for the most part perish for want of sustenance, and all would be like a forsaken cottage that no man dwelleth in, and doth no good; and if man be not the heir of immortality, they can do him no good. All creatures are but our provision in the way to this eternity: and therefore if there were no eternity, what should we do with them? What should we do with ways, and pavements, or with inns for travellers, or with horses or other provision for our journey, if there were no travelling that way? And who will travel to a place that is not, or a city that is no where but in his brains, besides a madman? It is evident therefore that as all the tools in a workman's shop, are made useless to him if he be forbidden to use his trade, and all the books in my library are useless, if I may not read them to get knowledge; so all creatures under heaven are made useless and destroyed doctrinally by the atheist, that thinks there is no eternal life for which they should be used. I must seriously profess, if I believed this (being in other things of the mind I am), I knew not what to do with any thing. What should I do with my books, but to learn the way to this eternity? What should I do with my money, if there be no treasure to be laid up in heaven, nor friends to be made with the mammon abused commonly to unrighteousness? What should I do with my tongue, my hands, my time, my life, myself, or any thing, if there were no eternity? I think I should dig my grave, and lay me down in it and die, and perish, to escape the sorrows of a longer life that must be my companions.
Remember then, Christians, and still remember it, that Eternity is the matter of your faith and hope ! Eternity is your portion and felicity ! Eternity is the end of all your desires, and labours, and distresses ! Eternity is your religion, and the life of all your holy motions; and as without the capacity of it, you would be but beasts, so without the love and desire of it, and title to it, you would be but wicked and miserable men. Set not your hearts on transitory things, while you stand near unto eternity. How can you have room for so many thoughts on fading things, when you have an eternity to think on? What light can you see in the candles or glow-worms of this world, in the sunshine of eternity ? Oh, remember when you are tempted to please your eyes, your taste, and sensual desires, that these are not eternal pleasures! Remember when you are tempted for wealth or honour to wrong your souls, that these are not the eternal riches! Houses and lands are not eternal! Meats and drinks are not eternal! Sports and pastimes, and jocund sinful company are not eternal! Alas, how short! how soon do they vanish into nothing ! But it is God, and our dear Redeemer that are eternal! The flower of beauty withereth with age, or by the nipping blast of a short disease; the honours of the world are but a dream; your graves will bury all its glory. Down comes the prince, the lord, the gallant, and suddenly takes his lodgings in the dust. The corpse that was pampered and adorned yesterday, is a clod to-day. The body that was bowed to, attended and applauded but the other day, is now interred in the vault of darkness, with worms and moles. To-day it is corruption and a most loathsome thing, that lately was dreaming of an earthly happiness. One day he is striving for riches and pre-eminences, or glorying and rejoicing in them, that the next day may be snatched away to hell. O fix not your minds on fading things, that perish in the using, and by their vanishing mock you that set your hearts upon them. You will not fix your eye and mind upon every bird that flyeth by you, as you will on the houses that you must dwell in: nor will you mind every passenger, as you will do your friends that still live with you. And shall transitory vanity be minded by you above eternity?
3. It is Eternity that must direct you in your estimate of all things. It is this that sheweth you the excellency of man above the beasts: it is this that tells you the worth of grace, and the weight of sin, the preciousness of holy ordinances and helps, and the evil of hindrances and temptations ; the wisdom of the choice and diligence of the saints, and the folly of the choice, and negligent, sinful lives of the ungodly; the worth of God's favour, and the vanity of man's; and the difference between the godly and the unsanctified world, in point of happiness.
Were not grace the egg, the seed, the earnest of an eternal glory, it were not so glorious a thing. But O how precious are all those thoughts, desires, delights and breathings of the soul, that bring us on to a sweet eternity! Even those sorrows, and groans, and tears are precious that lead to an eternal joy! Who would not willingly obey the holy motions of the Holy Spirit, that is but hatching and preparing us for eternity! This is it that makes a Bible, a sermon, a holy book, to be of greater value than lands and lordships. It is eternity that makes the illuminated soul so fearful of sinning, so diligent in holy duties, so cheerful and resolved in suffering, because he believeth it is all for an eternity. A Christian in the holy assemblies, and in his
reading, learning, prayer, conference, is laying up for everlasting, when the worldling in the market, in the field or shop, is making provision for a few days or hours. Thou gloriest in thy riches and pre-eminence now, but how long wilt thou do so? To-day that house, that land is thine ; but canst thou say, it shall be thine to-morrow? Thou canst not: but the believer can truly say, My God, my Christ, is mine to-day, and will be mine to all eternity! O death! thou canst take my friends from me, and my worldly riches from me, and my time, and strength, and life from me! but take my God, my Christ, my heaven, my portion from me, if thou canst! My sin is all thy sting and strength! But where is thy sting when sin is gone ? and where is thy strength when Christ hath conquered thee? Is it a great matter that thou deprivest me of my sinful, weak, and troublesome friends, when against thy will thou bringest me to my perfect blessed friends with whom I must abide for ever! Thou dost indeed bereave me of these riches; but it is that I may possess the invaluable eternal riches ! Thou endest my time, that I may have eternity! Thou castest me down, that I may be exalted! Thou takest away my strength of life, that I may enter into life eternal! And is this the worst that death can do ? And shall I be afraid of this? I willingly lay by my clothes at night, that I may take my rest, and I am not loath to put off the old when I must put on new. The bird that is hatched is not grieved because he must leave the broken shell. Nor is it the grief of man or beast that he hath left the womb ! Death doth but open the womb of time and let us into eternity, and is the second birth-day of the soul. Regeneration brings us into the kingdom of grace; and death into the kingdom of glory. Blessed are they that have their part in the new birth of grace and the first resurrection from the death of sin; for to such the natural death will be gain; and they shall have their part in the second resurrection, and on them the everlasting death shall have no power. O sirs, it is Eternity that telleth you what you should mind, and be, and do! and that turneth the scales in all things where it is concerned. Can you sleep in sin so near eternity! Can you play and laugh before you are prepared for eternity! Can you think him wise that selleth his eternal joy, for the ease, the mirth, the pleasure of a moment! and trifleth away the time in which he must win or lose eternity! If these men be wise, there are no fools! nor any but wise men in bedlam! Dare thy tongue report, or thy heart imagine, that any holy work is needless, or a heavenly life too much ado, or any suffering too dear, that is for an eternity! O happy souls that win eternity with the loss of all the world! O bless that Christ, that Spirit, that Light, that Word, that Messenger of God, that drew thy heart to choose eternity before all transitory things! That was the day when thou began to be wise, and indeed to shew thyself a man! Thy wealth, thy honour, thy pleasure will be thine when the sensual world hath nothing to shew, but sin and hell, of all they laboured for. Their pleasures, honours, and all die, when they die; but thine will then begin their perfection! The hopes of the ungodly are like an addle egg that when it is broken sends forth nothing but an odious stink, when another sends forth the living bird. O all you worldlings, rich and poor, you dream, you play, you trifle, because you labour not for eternity! Even worldly princes, and nobles of the earth, your glory is but a squib, a flash, a nothing, in comparison of the eternal glory which you lose; you are doing nothing when you are striving for the world; you are trifling and befooling your immortal souls while you are grasping a shadow, the uncertain riches. It is the believer whom you despise, that seeks for something, that loseth not his labour, that shews himself a man of reason, who is caring, and studying, and labouring, and praying, and watching, and suffering for eternity. Why is a day in the courts of God, so much better than a thousand in the tents or palaces of wickedness, but because it is the exchange where we have news of heaven, and trade for an eternity ? And why is it better to be a door-keeper in the house of God, than to flourish in the prosperity of sinners, but because God's house is the porch or entrance of an eternity of delights, and the lowest room among the saints affords us a better prospect into heaven, than the highest state of worldly dignity! The ungodly are near to cutting down when they flourish in their greatest glory. (Psal. xxxvii.2.20.) Stay but a little, and he that flourisheth will be withered and cast into the fire, and the righteous shall see it when he is cut off, and shall seek him, but he is not to be found. (verse 34–36. 38.) For the enemies of God, and all