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be distinctly heard for two or three miles round about, Such phantastical miracles as thefe, make up a great part of his hiftory. And, admitting all these to be true, which a wife man would be loth to do, our departed friend had that which is much greater and more excellent than all these, a fervent charity to God and men; which is more than to peak (as they would make us believe St. David did) with the tongue of men and angels; more than to raise or remove mountains.

And now methinks it is pity fo good a defign, fo hap pily profecuted, fhould fall and die with this good man. And it is now under deliberation, if poffible, ftill to continue and carry it on; and a very worthy and charitable perfon pitched upon for that purpose, who is willing to undertake that part which he that is gone performed fo well. But this will depend upon the continuance of the former charities, and the concurrence of thofe worthy and well-difpofed perfons in Wales to contribute their part as formerly; which I perfuade myself they will chearfully do. I will add but one thing more concerning our deceas'd brother, that though he meddled not at all in our prefent heats and differences as a party, having much better things to mind; yet, as a looker-on, he did very fadly lament them; and, for feveral of the laft years of his life, he continued in the communion of our church, and, as he himself told me, thought himself obliged in confcience fo to do.

He died in the feventy feventh year of his age, October 29. 1681. It fo pleafed God, that his death was ve ry fudden; and fo fudden, that in all probability he himfelf hardly perceived it when it happened; for he died in his fleep. So that we may fay of him, as it is faid of David, After he had ferved his generation according to the will of God, he fell asleep.

I confefs, that a fudden death is generally undefirable, and therefore with reafon we pray against it; because so very few are fufficiently prepared for it. But to him, the conftant employment of whofe life was the beft preparation for death that was poffible, no death could be fudden: nay, it was rather a favour and blessing to him, because by how much the more fudden, fo much the more eafy; as if God had defigned to begin the reward of the

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great pains of his life in an eafy death. And indeed it was rather a tranflation, than a death; and, faving that his body was left behind, what was faid of Enoch, may not unfitly be applied to this pious and good man with refpect to the fuddennefs of his change: He walked with God, and was not; for God took him.

And God grant that we who furvive may all of us fincerely endeavour to tread in the fteps of his exemplary picty and charity; of his labour of love, his unwearied diligence and patient continuance in doing good, that we may meet with that encouraging commendation, which he hath already received from the mouth of our Lord, Well done, good and faithful fervant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

Now, the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jefus Chrift, that great jhepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you alweys that which is pleafing in his fight, through Jefus Chrift; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

SERMON
O N

XXIV.

Preached at the funeral of the Reverend Benjamin Whichcot, D. D. May 24. 1683.

2 COR. v. 6.

Wherefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are abfent from the Lord.

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Hefe words contain one of the chief grounds of encouragement which the Chriftian religion gives us against the fear of death. For our clearer underftanding of them, it will be requifite to confider the context, looking back as far as the beginning of the chap er, where the Apoftle purfues the argument of the foregoing

foregoing chapter, which was, to comfort and encouragé Christians under their afflictions and sufferings, from this confideration, that thefe did but prepare the way for a greater and more glorious reward: Our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. And fuppofe the worlt, that these fufferings fhould extend to death, there is comfort for us likewife in this cafe: verf. 1. of this chapter, For we know, that if our earthly houfe of this tabernacle were diffolved, we have a building of God, &c. If our earthly houfe of this tabernacle: He calls our body an earthly houfe; and that we may not look upon it as a certain abode, and fixed habitation, he doth, by way of correction of himfelf, add, that it is but a tabernacle, or tent, which must shortly be taken down; and when it is, we shall have a building of God, a houfe not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. This is a description of our heavenly habitation, in opposition to our earthly houfe or tabernacle. It is a building of God; not like thofe houses or tabernacles which men build, and which are liable to decay and diffolution, to be taken down, or to fall down of themselves; for fuch are thofe houses of clay which we dwell in, whofe foundations are in the duft; but an habitation prepared by God himfelf, a houfe not made with hands; that which is the immediate work of God, being in fcripture opposed to that which is made with hands, and effected by human concurrence, and by natural means and being the immediate work of God, as it is excellent, fo it is lafting and durable, which no earthly thing is; eternal in the heavens, that is, cternal and heavenly.

For in this we grone earnestly; that is, While we are in this body, we grone by reafon of the preffures and afflictions of it. Defiring to be clothed upon with our boufe which is from heaven: if fo be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. Defiring to be clothed upon; that is, We could wish not to put off thefe bodies, not to be ftripped of them by death; but to be of the number of those who, at the coming of our Lord, without the putting off thefe bodies, fhall be changed, and clothed upon with their houfe which is from heaven, and, without dying, be invested with thofe fpiritual and glo

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rious and heavenly bodies which men fhall have at the relurrection./

This, I doubt not, is the Apoftle's meaning in these words; in which he fpeaks according to a common opinion among the difciples, grounded, as St. John tells us, upon a mistake of our Saviour's words concerning him: IfI will that be tarry till I come. Upon which St. John tells us, that there went a faying among the brethren, that that difciple fhould not die; that is, that he should live till Chrift's coming to judgment, and then be changed; and confequently that Chrift would come to judgment before the end of that age. Suitable to this common opinion among Chriftians, the Apoftle here fays, In this ve grone earnestly, defiring to be clothed upon with our houfe which is from heaven; if fo be that being clothed, we shall not be found naked. It hath puzzled interpreters what to make of this paffage: and well it might; for, whatever be meant by being clothed, how can they that are clothed be found naked? But I think it is very clear, that our tranflators have not attained the true fenfe of this paflage, Εἶχε καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι, ε γυμνοὶ ευρεθη

uba, which is moft naturally rendered thus, If fo be we shall be found clothed, and not naked; that is, If the coming of Chrift fhall find us in the body, and not divefted of it; if at Chrift's coming to judgment, we fhall be found alive, and not dead. And then the fenfe of the whole is very clear and current: We are defirous to be clothed upon with our houfe from heaven, (that is, with our fpiritual and immortal bodies), if fo be it fhall fo happen, that at the coming of Chrift we fhall be found alive in thefe bodies, and not stripped of them before by death. And then it follows, For we that are in this tabernacle do grone, being burthened, (that is, with the afflictions and preffures of this life); not that we would be unclothed, (that is, not that we defire by death to be divefted of thefe bodies), but clothed upon, (that is, if God fee it good, we had rather be found alive, and changed, and, without putting off these bodies, have immortality as it were fuperinduced), that fo mortality might be fwallowed up of life. The plain fenfe is, that he rather defires, if it may be, to be of the number of those who shall be found alive at the coming of Christ,

and

and have this mortal and corruptible body while they are clothed with it, changed into a spiritual and incorruptible body, without the pain and terror of dying: of which immediate tranflation into heaven, without the painful divorce of foul and body by death, Enoch and Elias were examples in the Old Teftament.

It follows, y 5. Now he that hath wrought us for the felffame thing, is God; that is, it is he who hath fitted and prepared us for this glorious change; who alfo hath gi- ven us the earnest of the Spirit. The Spirit is frequently in fcripture called the Witness, and Seal, and Earnest of our future happiness, and bleffed refurrection or change of these vile and earthly bodies into fpiritual and heavenly bodies. For as the refurrection of Chrift from the dead, by the power of the Holy Ghoft, is the great proof and evidence of immortality; fo the Spirit of him that raifed up Jefus from the dead dwelling in us, is the pledge and earnest of our refurrection to an immortal life.

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From all which the Apostle concludes in the words of the text, Therefore we are always confident; that is, we are always of good courage against the fear of death, knowing that whilft we are at home in the body, we are abfent from the Lord, ἐνδημοῦντες εν τῷ σώματ', which may better be rendered, whilst we converfe or fojourn in the body, than whilst we are at home; because the defign of the Apostle is, to fhew, that the body is not our houfe, but our tabernacle; and that whilst we are in the body, we are not at home, but pilgrims and ftrangers. And this notion the Heathens had of our prefent life and condition in this world. Ex vita difcedo (faith Tully) tanquam ex hofpitio, non tanquam ex domo; commorandi enim natura diverforium nobis, non habitandi locum dedit: "We go out of "this life, as it were from an inn, and not from our "home; nature having defigned it to us as a place to 66 fojourn, but not to dwell in."

We are abfent from the Lord; that is, we are detained from the bleffed fight and enjoyment of God, and kept out of the poffeffion of that happiness which makes heaven.

So that the Apostle makes an immediate oppofition between our continuance in the body, and our blessful

enjoyment

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