ETernall Life is the glorious gift mentioned in the Text, and though I was concluding this verse, yet the consideration of this glorious matter shall make me once more endeavour throughly to possess your hearts there∣with. It was the fault of one of the Kings of Israel that he did not strike arrows often enough to the ground, 2 King. 13.19. for then he should have obtained more victories. It shall therefore be my endeavour, if possible, that the ar∣rows of this truth may be stricken often even through and through your hearts. And that I may further quicken you hereunto, consider these particulars, as so many effectuall conclusions upon this subject.
And first,*The chief and most principall and necessary question which every one should seriously propound, ought to be that Luk. 18.18. What shall I do to inherit eternall life? Not indeed upon such a corrupt opinion as he did, who thought by his own works meerly to obtain this eternall life; No, that cannot be, it's the gift of God: and when we have done all, this eternall life is of grace, not merit, but in a right sense, viz. what way ought we to walk in, what is to be done that at last we may not eternally perish. This (I say) is a most noble and necessary question, if this were more studied and practised, it would ad∣vantage the soul ten thousand times more then other unnecessary and imperti∣nent disputations. The best method in morall Philosophy is to begin first with the end, because that is the chiefest, there must be first a knowledge and desire of that: Now all Divinity agreeth with morall Philosophy in this, it's wholly practicall. The first thing then in your thoughts and meditations should be, What is that end for which I was made? how may I obtain that eternall life for
which I came into this world? Oh why are we busie in unnecessary things? for what end and purpose were you made? Was it to heap up wealth? To sa∣tisfie the lusts and pleasures of the flesh? No, it was at last to injoy this eter∣nall life. The Heathen did well call man the orizon of time and eternity; for in respect of his body, he partaketh of time, in respect of his soul eternity: So then the chief and more excellent part of thee, that which makes thee differ from a beast, it is that which relateth to eternity, so that the first and the last thing thou hast to think on is, how to come to this eternall life. The Apostle useth an emphaticall word, 1 Tim. 6.12. Lay hold on eternall life; as a man that runneth in a race, at the end thereof streacheth out himself to lay hold on the garland; so that as he who runneth in a race neglects all the pleasant objects he runneth by, and hath his eye only upon the prize: Thus it ought to be with us, neither riches, honours, friends or earthly advantages ought to be inordi∣nately minded by us, but eternall life that is the prize, upon that our eye is to be, after that we are to pray and strive: But who may not blame himself, and judge himself for neglect herein? Oh how little is this eternall life in thy affe∣ctions and hopes; thy cares about thy body, about thy estate will greatly con∣demn that sluggishness about eternall life.( Read more...Collapse )