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to do, and not delay one moment, but look well to ourselves, test we lose the ends which it is calculated to answer.
Is there a life after this ? and an everlasting life, the happiness or misery whereof is so extreme? Let it then engross all our thoughts.
Is it impossible we should attain the happiness, or escape the misery of a future life, without we bear the character, and answer the description above given ? Then, let us examine ourselves respecting these particulars,--and not rest till this character be
THE BELIEVER WAITING FOR HIS
JOB xiv. 14, 15. All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change
come, Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee; thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
How just and important, and how well adapted to man in his present state of frailty and mortality, are the reflections contained in this chapter, and in many other parts of this admirable book ! “ Man that is born of a woman;" a creature, weak, corrupt, and sinful, and of that sex by which sin, and a long train of other calamities were brought into the world ; is of few days ;" few at the most, compared with the days of the first Patriarchs, much more in comparison with the days of eternity, “ and full of trouble," liable to a great variety of miseries ; exposed to labour and toil, affliction and pain, grief and fear; some cause of vexation and distress arising every day. “He cometh forth like a flower," tender and delicate, fair and beautiful, his faculties and members opening and expanding by degrees; “ and is cut down ;” by the scythe of some spreading malady, or cropped by the ruthless hand of some distemper, or withered by the frost of some lingering weak
“He fleeth as a shadow;" which being caused by the sun,
follows its motions, and is in perpetual variation, till, at last, it quite vanish, and disappear. " And dost thou,” the infinite and eternal Jehovau, the almighty Governor of all,“ open thine eyes upon” a creature so insignificant and helpless, " and bringest me into judgment with thee;” pleadest with me by thy judgments, and thereby, in a manner, forcest me to plead with thee? With thee, who art so piercing in sight, to discover the least failing ; so holy, to hate it; so just, to condemn it; so mighty, to punish it? The consideration of our inability to contend with God, and of our sinfulness and weakness, should engage us to pray, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O LORD; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.”_" Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?” I confess I am an unclean creature, and therefore abhorrent to thy holiness, and obnoxious to thy justice; but this is the common case of every man. Why then inflict such peculiar and extraordinary judgments upon me?" Seeing his days are determined ;” limited to a certain period ; 66 the number of his months are with thee; exactly known to thee, and in thy power and disposal ; “thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass ;
a certain end of his days, beyond which he cannot prolong his life.
.-66 Turn from him that he may rest, till he accomplish, as a hireling, his day." As the poor mercenary gladly rests when he has finished the work of the day, and received his wages ; so must that be an acceptable and joyful time, which puts a period to the life and sufferings of a man sinking under accumųlated troubles, and which introduces him into a state of perfect rest and endless felicity. For there is hope of a tree if it be cut down,” if the stump only be left in the ground, that it will sprout again.” Heb. gibt, will yet renew itself, will revive and flourish as the spring comes on, 6. Though the root thereof wax old and the stock die,” in appearance, “yet through the scent of water," or by means of moisture from the earth, and rain ; scent or smell being here figuratively ascribed to a tree; " it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man,” though of so much nobler nature, “ dieth, and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he ? »
Two words are here used for man, the one signifying “ a mighty man,” the other“ a man of earth ; " but though mighty, he dies ; being made of earth, he returns to it. He dieth and wasteth away;” before death he is dying daily, continually wasting away ; in death, he gives us the ghost;" the spirit leaves the body, and returns to God, the Father of spirits, who gave it. After death, “ where is he?! Not where he was; his place
knows him to more ; his body, all that was visible of him is rotting away in the grave. But where is the thinking, intelligent principle, the self-conscious being, the proper man? Is this no where? Yes, it is somewhere; and it is a very awful consideration to think, where they are that have given up the ghost, and where we shall be when we give it up. It is gonė into the world of spirits ; gone into eternity; gone to return no more to this world. 66 As the waters fail from the sea.” This may mean either, As the waters go, or flow out from the sea, and return not thither again. (Eccles. i. 7.) Or, as some portion of the waters are exhaled from the sea, by the sun, or are received and sunk into the dry and thirsty earth ; Or, as the waters of the sea fail when they forsake the place into which they used to flow ; “ And the flood,” river or lake, (for the word signifies any considerable confluence of waters,) “ decayeth and drieth up,” in a season of great drought, so that the same waters never return to their former places. So it is with man; when once the fountain of life is dried up, he dies, and never revives again in the present life. “Man lieth down,” in his bed, the grave, sleeping the sleep of death, " and riseth not till the heavens be no more ;” until the time of the general resurrection and restitution of all things, when these visible heavens shall pass away for ever; or, at least, exist no more in the same form in which they are now. The meaning of the passage is, that as we see every thing fluctuating and subject to change, so the whole shall one day be changed. The sea itself will at length be absorbed ; and the running rivers which now perpetually flow, as if supplied by everlasting springs, will nevertheless, in time, quite cease and disappear. This visible frame of things shall be dissolved, and the present heavens shall be no more ; and then, and not before, will be the resurrection and
general judgment.—“O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, and keep me secret!” The grave is not only a resting place, but a hiding-place to the children of God. In the grave they are concealed, as treasure in a place of secresy and safety. O that thou wouldst hide me, not only from the storms and troubles of this life, but for the bliss and glory of a better life ! « Until thy wrath be past.” As long as our bodies lie in the grave, we experience some effects of God's wrath against sin ; but when the body is raised, that wrath is wholly past, and death, the last enemy, is totally destroyed. “That thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me ;” not only fix a time when thou wilt end my
sufferings, and my life, but when thou wilt remember my flesh, lodged in the grave, as thou didst rememember Noah and “ every living thing,” in the ark. (Gen. viii. 1.) “If a man die shall he live again ?" He shall not in this world, but he shall in another and a better; and therefore, “ All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”
Let us consider,
I. THE CHANGE HERE SPOKEN OF.
This was evidently intended of death, which, certainly, makes a wonderful change in the state and condition of every one, in whom it takes place, removing us from the visible and temporal to the invisible and eternal world ; -- from the society of men in the flesh, to the society of spirits, good or bad, happy or miserable, who have put off the body ;-from a state of trial, now for ever ended, to a state of final and everlasting recompense ;—from a state of incessant change and fluctuation, to a state permanent and constant; - from a mixed state of ignorance and knowledge, folly and wisdom, sin and holiness, misery and happiness, to a state of unmixed wisdom or folly, holiness or sin, happiness or misery.
“ It must be done, my soul, but 'tis a strange,
The change, however, here intended, is not that which passes on the wicked at death, but that which Job expected to pass on himself; and which passes on all the truly righteous. Accordingly the word used, in the original, noin, properly signifies a change for the better, a renewal.
This leads me to observe, that the change which will pass on the saints at the general resurrection and final judgment, is here especially intended, when Jesus shall transform their vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto his glorious body," and cause their corruptible body to put on incorruption, and their mortal, to put on immortality, their dark, dead, gross, and sluggish body of flesh and blood, and bones, to become spiritual, luminous, active, and full of life and vigour, perfect and everlasting, incapable of any infirmity, affliction, or pain, and much more of death and dissolution. For though it is sown, immediately after death, “in corruption,” being ready to putrefy, and by the various degrees of
corruption and decay, to return to the dust from whence it came; “it is raised in incorruption,” utterly incapable of either dissolution or decay; though “ sown in dishonour,” shocking to those who loved it best, human nature in disgrace, “it is raised in glory," clothed with robes of light suited for those whom the King of heaven delights to honour; though“ sown in weakness,” deprived of that feeble strength it once enjoyed, “it is raised in power,” endued with vigour, strength, and activity, such as we cannot now conceive; though “ sown a natural body,” or rather an animal body, supported by food, sleep, and air, “it is raised a spiritual body,” of a more refined texture, needing none of those animal refreshments, and endued with qualities of a spiritual nature, like the angels of God. “There is a na ral body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written,” with respect to the animal body, (Gen. ii. 7,) “ The first man Adam was made a living soul;" God gave him an animal life, in many respects resembling that of other living creatures ; the last Adam was made,” or rather was, or is, “a quickening spirit.” Having life in himself, and quickening whom he will, he shall impart even a more refined life to men’s bodies at the resurrection, than that which they formerly possessed. Curist is called Adam, because believers receive their sanctified spiritual nature, and their immortal bodies from him, just as mankind have derived their corrupted nature and mortal bodies from the first Adam. He is also called the last Adam, because he is posterior in time to the first Adam, or because there shall be no restorer and head of the human race after him. 6 Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards, that which is spiritual.” As the first Adam existed before Christ was sent to assume our nature, and become our Saviour, so must we first wear that animal body, which we derive from the one, before we put on that spiritual body which we receive from the other. (1 Cor. xv. 42-46.)
Again, the change intended in this passage is from earth, a world suited to our state of infancy and childhood,- for
“ This is [only] the bud of being, the dim dawn,
to heaven, where none of the imperfections of earth can have any place, and God will, doubtless, give unspeakably greater displays