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the time shall be on the stage. There will be generarions after os, as there have been before us; and the work will be devolved on the next generation for their time ; with whom we, being gone off the stage, will have no more access to join, than those already dead have to join with us. And then they will go, and another rise up in their stead, and get the work put into their hands, none of the former to meddle with it: and so on to the end. The rea
ift, There is no returning to this world when once gone. Death is a fitting for good and all, never to come back, Job vii. 9. 10. 7ob was senfible of this, Chap. X. 21. when he said,-1. go whence I Mall not return, even to the land of darkness, and the shadow of death. We must praise him before we lie down in the grave, or never ; for there is no rising out of it to that work, Pfal. Ixxxviii. 10. We cannot come back, and God will not bring us back.
2dly, The state and business of the two worlds are, by an unalterable purpose, made quite different. Here men are in a state of trial; there in a settled Aate for ever, according to their management in the trial. Here is the place of working at the command and for the honour of the Master; there is the place of the reward of their works. If the fun'fhould come back over from west to east, and fo make night day too, the ordinance of heaven would be quite altered ; so no body expects it.
As little is the acccfs of any but she living, to praise God in the world, to be expected or looked for.
3dly, This world is under a peculiar mark of divine indignation, as defiled by fin, Gen. iii. 17. ;
and should have been destroyed when it was first defiled, had not the Mediator interposed to keep up the tottering fabric for some time for the elect's fake, IJ. xlix. 8. So men are hasted through it, as through a defiled place, and have an opportunity of praising God by the way. And therefore it cannot be expected, that ever that opportunity shall be repeated.
Lastly, When the dead shall live again, this world shall be destroyed, and be no more. As long as we shall lie in our graves, incapable to praise, this world will last : but when we shall live again at the resurrection, it shall be confumed by the general conflagration, and be no more. So there is no access to praise God in the world, but for those that now live, and those that shall live, to the end : Rev. xx. 12.-.The dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. Chap. xxi. 1. And I saw a new heaven, and a new' earth: for the first heaven and ihe first earth were paled an way; and there was no more sea. In the new
heavens and earth, no doubt God will be praised, ..? Pet. iii. 13. : but he will have no more praises
here off the hand of any, when once they are gone off the stage, which will falì down under the last generation to be on it.
USE 1. of Information. Hence learn,
1. That the business of life is to honour God in the world. And if that be 'so, many have been many years in it, that have never yet fallen to their business, nay nor once seriously laid to heart what their business is. o hear the
Master saying to you, Matth. xx. 6. Why fiand ye bere
all the day idle ? and see how ye will answer that question. Ye are busy doing nothing, worse than nothing : but what have ye done, are you doing, will ye d, for God? Ye are living ; but what praise, what honour comes to God by your li. ving? W hat more honour comes to God by your living, than ye would do him if ye were in the grave ? I beleech you consider this, as ye will answer it to God, who hath said, Mal. i. 6. A fon honoureth his father, and a fervant his master : if then I be a father, where is mine honour and if I be a master, where is my fear?
Cbject. 1. Some I fear will think, though not say, that they have other business to fill their heads and hands with, how to get a throughbearing in the world for them and theirs. Anf. Ah, is ano ther world not worth your consideration? Or can ye think that ever ye shall enjoy God in that world, who are not careful to honour him bere? Consider what the Lord says, 1 Sam. ii. 30. Them that honour me, I will honour; and they that de. spise me, shall be lightly esteemed. To spend all the time you live in wrestling with this world for a throughbearing, and after ye are dead to wrestle with the wrath of God for ever, is a sad tryft; better
had never been born. Be concerned to honour God while ye live; and God will see to your provision while ye live, and make you happy after.
Object. 2. But I have no access to do any thing for the honour of God, in respect of my circumstances in the world: worldly business is by Providence laid to my hand for the business of my life. Anf. 1. It is a common mistake in point of
practice, that there are any who have no access to honour God in the world. Though some are placed in higher and more extensive spheres of activity for God, yet there is no station so low in the world, but it is a sphere wherein people may honour God, if they have a heart for it. This you may see verified in the parable of the talents, Matth. XXV. 14. 15. The kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods : and unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to every man according to his fever al ability, and straightway took his journey. If one is in life, though never so low, according to the text, he may hunour God. If one is a magistrate, or a church-officer, he has access to honour God among those over whom he is set. Though he be neither, if he is a person of weight and consideration in the place where he lives ; as far as that weight goes, fo far goes the sphere of his activity for God, which he is to all up by ho. nouring of God. If he is a master of a fainily, there is a sphere of activity for God he is put in. If he is a single member of a family, he has a sphere of activity among other single members of it. To this purpose breaks the Apostle, 1 Cor. vii. 24. Brethren, let every man wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
2. It is the honouring of God in our several stations that is the true honouring of him, i Cor. vii. 24. just now cited. That we cannot do for the honour of God what does not belong to our station, is so far from being our sin, that it would be a dishonouring of him to attempt it. The moon is useful to the world, though it shines not
by day; the stars too, though they shine not fa bright as the moon. The hands are useful to the body, though one does not walk on them; the feet, though one does not see with them, &c. Are you a child of a family? your business of life as such is to be an obedient, dutiful, pliable child : are you a fervant? yours is to be a faithful, honeft, dutiful servant. Whatever relation you stand in, ye are to honour God by a conscientious practice of the duties of your relation,
3. Whatever business God has laid to your hand, follow it as duty from God laid upon you; so ye will live to his honour. Hence is that exhortation of the Apostle, Col. iii. 17. Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. And verf. 23. Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord. Set about your business as commanded you of God, acting in it as under the eye of God, and looking to his word as your rule, and to the merit of Christ for God's accept-, :ance of it. Whatever trials and sufferings the Lord lays on you, bear them patiently, because it is his will; and bear them for the sake of Christ that bare greater for us ; and look for the accept ance of your bearing them through Christ. So fhall the honouring of God be the bufiness of your life whatever your circumstances are, high or. low.
2. The business of honouring God in the world, formerly in the hands of the former generation, is now devolved on you. See what ye will do with it. To this purpose prophesies the Psalmist David, Psal. cxlv. 4. 'One generation Mall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy migh