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not confist in feeding, and cloathing, and pleafing it; but in getting it united to Christ, and made the temple of the Holy Ghost in using it for God, and dedicating it to God.
I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to prefent' bodies living facrifices to God, which is your reasonable service, Rom. xii. 1. The foul fhould look upon the body as a wife parent upon a rebellious or wanton child, that would, if left to itself, quickly bring itself to the gallows; the father -looks on him with compaffion and melting bowels, and faith, with the rod in his hand, and tears in his eyes, "My child, my "naughty, difobedient, headftrong child, I refolve to chaftife "thee feverely, I love thee too well to fuffer thee to be ruin
ed, if my care or correction may prevent it.' So fhould our fouls evidence their love to, and care over their own rebellious Aleth. It is cruelty, not love or pity, to indulge them to their own deftruction.
Except you have gracious fouls, you shall never have glorified bodies: except your fouls be united with Chrift, the happiness of your bodies as well as your fouls, is lost to all eternity. Know you not that the everlasting condition of your bodies follows, and depends on the intereft your fouls now get in Chrift? Oh that this fad truth might fink deep into all our confiderations this day; that if your bodies be inares to your fouls, and your fouls. be now regardless of the future ftate of themfelves, and them; affuredly they will have a bitter parting at death, a terrible meeting again at the refurrection, and horrid reflections upon each other, naturally charging their ruin upon each other to all eternity. Whilft they that are in Chrift, part in hope, meet with joy, and blefs God for each other for ever
2 PET. i. 13, 14. Yea, I think it'meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to fir you up, by putting you in remembrance. Knowing that Jhortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jefus Chrift hath fhewed me.
T the tenth verfe of this chapter, the apostle fums up his foregoing precepts and exhortations in one great and most important duty, the "making fure of their calling and e"lection." This exhortation he enforceth on them by a moft folema and weighty motive, ver. 11. "Even an abundant entrance into the everlafting kingdom." No work of greater
neceffity or difficulty, than to make fure our falvation, no argu ment more forcible and prevalent, than an eafy and free entrance into glory at death, an avaria, a fweet and comfortable diffolution, to enter the port of glory before the wind, with our full lading of comfort, peace, and joy in believing, our fails full, and our freamers flying: Oh! how much better is this, than to ly wind-bound, I mean heart-bound, at the harbour's mouth! toffed up and down with fears, doubts, and manifold tempta. tions, making many a board to fetch the harbour; for so much is fignified in his figurative and allufive expreffion, ver. 11.
And for their encouragement in this great and difficult work, he engageth himself by promise to give them all the affistance he can, whilft God fhould continue his life; and knowing that would be but a little while, he refolves to use his utmost endeavour to fecure these things in their memories after his death, that they might not die with him. This is the general scope and order of the words.
Wherein more particularly we have,
1. His exemplary industry and diligence in his ministerial work.
2. The confideration ftimulating and provoking him there
1. His exemplary induftry and diligence in his minifterial work. In which two things are remarkable, viz. (1.) The quality of his work, which was to flir them up, by putting them in remembrance, to keep the heavenly flame of love and zeal lively upon the altar of their hearts. He well knew what a fleepy disease the best Christians are troubled with, and therefore he had need to be stirring them up, and awaking them to their duty. (2.) The conftancy of his work: as long as I am in this tabernacle; i. e. as long as I live in this world. The body is here called a tabernacle, in refpect of its moveablenefs and frailty, and in oppofition to that houfe made without hands, eternal in the heavens. And it is observable how he limits and bounds his ferviceableness to them, by his commoration in his tabernacle or body, as well knowing after death he could be no longer useful to them or any others in this world. Death puts an end to all our ministerial usefulness: but till that time he judged it meet, and becoming him, to be aiding and aflifting their faith our life and labour must end together.
2. We have here the motive, or confideration, ftimulating and
Ayuper, fignifies to raise up, or awake, i, e. your minds, which are, as it were, fleepy or flumbering, and dull, &c. Pool's fynopfis,
provoking him to this diligence; "knowing that I must shortly put off this tabernacle, even as the Lord Jefus Christ hath thewed me." In which words he gives an account of, (1) The speedinefs; (2.) neceffity; (3.) voluntarinefs of his death, and the way and means by which he knew it. All these must be confidered fingly and apart, and then valued all together, as they amount to a weighty argument or motive to excite him to diligence in his duty.
(1.) He reflects upon the speedinefs or near approach of his death. "I must [† shortly] put off this my tabernacle ;" which is a form of speech of the fame importance with that of Paul, 2 Tim. iv. 6. “The time of my departure is at hand," my time' in the body is almost at an end.
(2.) The neceffity of his death: It is not I may, but I must put off this my tabernacle; yea, I must put it off shortly; for fo the Lord hath fhewed him: Chrift had fignified it exprefly to him, John xxi, 18, 19. And befide this, most expofitors think this clause refers to fome special vifion or revelation which Peter had of the time and manner of his own death: fo that befides the natural neceffity, or the inevitablenefs of his death by the law of nature, he was certified of it by special revelation. We have bere alfo,
(3.) The voluntarinefs of his death; for voluntarinefs is confiftent enough with the neceffity of the event. I must put off, or lay down my tabernacle; he faith not, I must be torn, or rent by violence from it, but I must depofe, or lay it down.
Camero will have the word here used for death, properly to fignify the laying down of one's garments: he made no more of putting off his body than his garment.
Upon the confideration of the whole matter, the speedinefs of his death which he knew to be at hand; the neceffity of it, that when it came he must be gone from, and could be no more useful to them; and his own inclination to be with Chrift in a better state, being as willing to be gone, as a weary traveller to be at home; he judged it meet, or becoming him, as he was called of Chrift to feed his fheep, as he was gifted extraordina
Taxon brevi futurum, Every Chriftian knows not the time of his death, as Peter did by special revelation.--But though we know it not by a word spoken to us in particular, we know it by a word written for all in common, Eccl. ix. 5. "The living know that * they must die.”
↑ He calls it a putting off or laying down, thereby fignifying his willingness to die for Chrift. Pool
rily for the church's fervice, full of fpiritual excellencies, ali which in a fhort time would be taken away from them by death: I fay, upon all these accounts, he could not but judge it meet to be stirring them up, and every way ftriving to be as ufeful as he could. Hence the note will be,
Doct. How strong foever the affections and inclinations of fouls are to the fleshly tabernacles they now live in, yet they must put them off, and that Speedily.
The point lies very plain before us in the fcriptures. That is a remarkable expreffion we have in Job xvi. 22. "When a few years are come, I fhall go the way whence I thall "not return." In the Hebrew it is, " " When "the years of number, or my numbred years are come; years "fo numbred, that they are circumfcribed in a very short period "of time." When those few years are past, then I must go to my long home, my everlasting abode, never more to return to this world: "The way whence I fhall not return;" elsewhere called "the way of all flesh," Josh. xxiii. 15. and "the way of "all the earth," I Kings ii. 2.
(1.) The certainty of death, Job xvi. 22.
"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain "the fpirit; neither hath he power in the day of death, and "there is no difcharge in that war," Eccl. viii. 8. By fpirit understand the natural fpirit, or breath of life, which, as I shewed before, connects or ties the foul and body together. This fpirit no man can retain in the day of death. We can (as one fpeaks) as well fop the chariot of the fun when posting to night, and chafe away the fhadows of the evening, as efcape this hour of darkness that is coming upon us *. A man may escape the wars by pleading privilege of years, or weakness of body, or the king's protection, or by fending another in his room; but in this war the prefs is fo ftrict, that it admits no difpenfation; young or old, weak or strong, willing or unwilling, all is one, into the field we must go, and look that last and most dreadful enemy in the face. It is in vain to think of fending another in our room, for no man dieth by proxy; or to think of compounding with death, as those felf-deluded fools did, Ifa. xxviii. 15. who thought they had been difcharged of the debt by feeing the ferjeant: No, no: there is no discharge in that war. Nihil prodeft ora concludere, et vitam
Anni numeri (i. e.) qui numerati funt adeo ut breviffimi peri odo circumfcripti.
*No diligence avoids, no happiness fubdues, and no power overcomes death, fays Seneca.
fugientem retinere, faith Hierom on that text: Let us shut our mouths never fo clofe, ftruggle against death never fo hard, there is no more retaining the fpirit, than a woman can retain the fruit of her womb, when the full time of her deliverance is come. Suppose a man were fitting upon a throne of majesty, surrounded with armed guards, or in the midst of a college of expert and learned phyficians, death will pafs all thefe guards to deliver thee the fatal meffage: Neither can arts help thee, when natüre itfelf gives thee up.
The law of mortality binds all, good and bad, young and old, the most ufeful and defirable faints, whom the world can worit fpare, as well as ufelets and undefirable finners, Rom. viii. 10. "And if Chrift (or though Chrift) be in you, the body is dead " because of fin." Peter himself muft put off his tabernacle, for they are but tabernacles, frail and moveable frames, not built for continuance; thefe will drop off from our fouls, as the fhells fall off from the bird in the neft; be our earthly tabernacles never fo ftrong or pleasant, we must depofe them, and that shortly; our leafe in them will quickly expire, we have but a fhort term. James iv. 14. like a thin mift in the -morning, which the fun presently diffipates; this is a metaphor chofen from the air: You have one from the land, where the fwift poft runs, Job ix. 25. So doth our life from stage to ftage, till its journey be finished; and a third from the waters, there fail the swift fhips, Job ix. 26. which weighing anchor, and putting into the fea, continually leffen .the land, till at last they have quite loft fight of it: from the fire, Pfal. lviii. 4. The lives of men are as foon extinct as a blaze made with dry thorns, which is almost as foon out as in. Thus you fee how the Spirit of God hath borrowed metaphors from all the elements of nature, to fhadow forth the brevity, and frailty of that life we now live in thefe tabernacles: fo that we may fay as one did before us, Nefcio an dicenda fit vita mortalis, an vitalis mers; I know not which to call it, a mortal life, or a living death.
(2.) The Speediness of death. The fcriptures borrow meta
phors from all the elements to this purpose.
The continuance of these our tabernacles or bodies is fhort, whether we confider them abfolutely, or comparatively.
1. Abfolutely. If they fhould ftand 70 or 80 years, which is the longeft duration, Pfal. xc. 10. how foon will that time run out? What are years that are past but as a dream that is va nished, or as the waters that are paft away? it is in fluxu contiVOL. III. I i