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for which upon a nearer view, I am more fensible than ever, the utmost that can be done, is little enough. O spare me, that I may recover Arength.
3. The reason with which he urges his request, taken from the notion of death as it is an eternal farewel to the present state, a departure so as never to return : Before I go hence, and be no more, i. e. No more in this world, or upon my tryal bere, as I now am: No more in a capacity to finish the work of life, and prepare for death and eternity. If this be not done before this life ends, it can never afterwards be done.
He that goes hence does not absolutely go out of being, so as to exist no more : But as he is a probationer for eternity, the time for this ends at death, and he is to be allowed as such, no more opportunity for ever.
Doct. The confideration that at death we are to go from bence, so as to be here no more, is that which makes life upon earth of the greatest moment, and wbat even good men may sometimes pray to have continued a while longer, that they may be better prepared
for their everlasting remove. This the Psalmist here does, from the consideration mentioned : having but one life wherein to prepare for an endless state, how earnest was he, that it might not conclude, till his work was finished; as it was to be done now or never. O Spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.
Here let us consider, I. The notion under which death is represented, A going hence.
II. How, when once gone, we are to be no
III. Wherein our strength lies for going hence. IV. How much we are concerned to pray that
God would spare us, to get or recover strength
preparatory to our final remove. V. That this is the great thing good men have
in their eye, in defiring life. VI. When they may be led to pray that God
would spare them. Lastly, The use of the Whole.
1. The notion under which death is represented : it is a going hence, a departure out of this world, and from all the concerns and comforts of it, from having any thing more to do with it.
Of this we are often minded, as we are said to have here no continuing city, and that here is not our rest. Agreeably to this, David speaks of himself as a siranger, and a sojourner, one in motion to a more fixed state, ver. 12. of this Pfalm. When we come into this world we are not to dwell or abide here, but to act a part for eternity, and then to remove and receive according to what we have done in the body, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. God has set us here as in our passage to an after-state, Our journey begins as soon as born, and ends at death.
This is the way of all the earth, the way of all flesh. As surely as we had an entrance into the world, or are now in it, we are moving off again, and must e're long leave it for ever.
Man goeth to his long home: This is true of every one of the race. We are all going hence, one as well as another. Every man shall draw after us, as there are innumerable gone be
Continually, whether we sleep, or wake, think of it, or not, every breath we draw, évery pulse that beats, brings us nearer our end. Death is a wide and open door; through which multitudes are passing day and night. How thick have graves opened of late, and what numbers been hurried into them? Within a week or two, what changes have been made by death in one family and another ? and they that yet furvive, are in motion the same way, drawing nearer and nearer the end of time, and fo to an expecting eternity.
We gradually decline and wear away. Every day and hour that has paffed fince we came into the world, has brought us fo much nearer, our departure ; and the number of our days that remains, is continually lessening. Through various changes and turns of life, we are approaching to the last and greatest change of all, when by death we are to change worlds, and go out of time into eternity The
young man is walking on to this with an upright face ; aged persons are going to the fame end, stooping downward to the earth; and poor infants are tending to it, before they can go, beginning to die, as soon as they begin to live.
We are going. hence very swiftly : There is a time to be born and a time to die; and how
foon is the space between passed over ! Some indeed make a shorter stay, and are sooner gone than others, but all make haste. My days, faith yob, are swifter than a post : they flee away. They are passed away as the swift skips : as the eagle that hasteth to the prey, Job. ix. 25, 26. Upon this account, our life in scripture, is compared to a vapour, that appeareth a little while, and then vanisheth away. Man cometb forth like a flower, and is cut down : be fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not, Job.
As for man, bis days are as grass : as a flower of the field, so be flourisheth. For the wird passeth over it, and it is gone ; aud the place thereof Mall know it no more. Some by sudden diseases, or unexpected accidents are speedily removed : But they whose lives are drawn to the longest date, may say as David, Thou hast made my days as an hand-breadth, and mine age is as nothing before thee.
We are going swiftly, and when the time is come, most certainly and unavoidably. It is appointed unto man once to die ; and the bounds are set which none can pass. This is a truth of which we have frequent affecting instances, as warnings that our turn is coming, our turn to leave this world, as they have done : and that it will be e'er long said of us as it is of them, They are dead and gone. How delightful foever we may count the present world ; how willing soever of a longer stay, especially when our circumstances are easy and prosperous, when death comes, we must away. The sentence of death passed on fallen man, is
to be pu
irreversible: though the sting of it to believers is taken out by Christ, all must feel its stroke, and be thereby removed. Saints must thus
go hence: how else shall they be happy in being with the Lord. Their heavenly Father will call them home, from a world of labour and suffering, to everlasting rest. And as the righteous shall go hence, to be rewarded ; so the wicked shall be taken away, nished.
No exemption from this can be purchased, whatever should be offered. They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none of them can by any means redeem bis brother (or himself) nor give to God a ransom : that he should live for ever. Wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others; and removing out of this world, take their flight to an unchangeable state, Psalm xlix. 6, &c.
So much for the first thing : death is a departure from the present world.
II. How, when once gone, may we be said to be no more ?
This is not to be understood as if our being should be extinguished, or either soul or body lost. No; the soul is immortal, and capable of endless joy or misery, and enters into the one or the other, upon its remove from hence. The body also shall be fetched up from the grave, at the general resurrection, and folemnly sentenced to share with the soul, in blessedness or torment for ever.