Billeder på siden

J. What are the evils or grand inconveniences that generally flow from the pains we suffer here; and as we go we shall sura vey the satisfactions which arise by our freedom from them all in heaven.-II. What just and convincing proofs may be given that there are no such uncasy sensations to be felt in heaven, or to be feared after this life.--II. What are the chief reasons or designs of the blessed God in seuding pain on his creatures in this world; and at the same time I shall shew that pain is banished from the beavenly state, because God has no such designs remaining to be accomplished in that world.-IV. What lessons we may learn from the painful discipline which we feel while we are here, in order to shew there is no need of such discipline to teach us those lessons in heaven. Let us address ourselves to make these four enquiries in their order.

SECTION 1.-First.“ What are the evils which flow from pain, and usually attend it in this life; and all along as we go we shall take a short view of the heavenly state, where we shall take a short view of the heavenly state, where we shall be re. leased from all these evils and inconveniences."

1. “ Pain has a natural tendency to make the mind sorrow, ful as well as the body uneasy," Our souls are so nearly united to fresh and blood, that it is not possible for the mind to possess perfect happiness and ease, while the body is exposed to so many occasions of pain. It is granted, that natural courage and strength of heart inay prevail in some persons to bear up their spirits under long and intense pains of the flesh; yet they really take away so much of the ease and pleasure of life, while any of us lie under the acute sensations of them. Pain will make us confess that we are flesh and blood, and force us sometimes to cry out and groan. Even a stoic in spite of all the pride of his philosophy, will sometimes be forced by a sigh or a groan, to confess himself a man. What are the greatest part of the groans and outcries, that are heard all around this our globe of earth, but the effects of pain, either felt or feared.

But in heaven, where there is no pain, there shall be no sighing or groaning, nor any more crying, as my text expresses. There shall be nothing to make the flesh or the spirit uneasy, and to break the eternal thread of peace and pleasure that runs through the whole duration of the saints : Not one painful moment to interrupt the everlasting felicity of that state. When we have done with earth and mortality, we have done also with sickness and anguish of nature, and with all sorrow and vexation for ever. There are no groans in the heavenly world to break in upon the harmony of the harps and the songs of the blessed ; no sighs, no outcries, no anguish there to disturb the music and the joy of the inhabitants. And though the soul shall be united to the body new-raised from the dead to dwell for ever in union,

yet that new-raised body shall have neither any springs of pain in it, nor be capable of giving anguish or uneasiness to the indwelling spirit for ever.

2. Another evil which attends on pain is this, that "it so indisposes our nature as often to unfit us for the businesses and duties of the present state.” With how much coldness and ina differency do we go about our daily work, and perform it too with many interruptions, when nature is burdened with continual pain, and the vital springs of action are overborne with perpetual uneasiness ? What a lisilessness do we find to many of the duties of religion at such a season, unless it be to run more frequently to the throne of God, and pour out our groanings and our complaints there? Groanings and cries are the language of nature, and the children of God address themselves in this language to their beavenly Father: Blessed be the name of our gracious God, who hears every secret sigh, who is acquainted with the sense of every groan, while we mourn before him and make our complaints to him, that we cannot worship him, nor work for him as we would do, because of the anguish and maladies of nature.

And what an indisposition and backwardness do we feel in ourselves to fulfil many of the duties towards our fellow-creatures while we ourselves are under present smart and anguish ? Pain will so sensibly affect self as to draw off all our thoughts thither, and centre them there, that we cannot so much employ our cares and our active powers for the benefit of our neighbours: It abates our concern for our friends, and while it awakens the spirit within us into keen sensations, it takes away the activity of the man that feels it from almost all the services of human life. When human nature bears so much it can act but little.

But wliat a blessed state will that be, when we shall never feel this indisposition to duties, either human or divine, through any uneasiness of the body? When we shall never more be subject to any uneasiness of the body? When we shall never more be subject to any of these painful impediments, but for ever cast off all those clogs and burdens which fetter the active powers of the soul? Then we shall be joyfully employed in such unknown and glorious services to God our Father, and to the blessed Je. sus, as require much superior capacities to what we here possess, and shall find no weakness, no weariness, no pain throughout all the years of our immortality ; Rev. vii. 15. None of the blessed above are at rest or idle, either day or night, but they serve l-im in his temple, and never cease.' And chapter iv. 8. no faintness, no languors are known there. The inhabitants of that lared shall not say, I am sick: Everlasting vigour; clear,

fulness and ease shall render every blessed soul for ever zealous and active in obedience, as the angels are in heaven.

3. “ Pain unfits us for the enjoyments of life, as well as for the labours and duties of it.” It takes away all the pleasing satisfactions which might attend our circumstances, and renders the objects of them insipid and unrelishing. What pleasure can a rich man take in all the affluence of earthly blessings around hiin, while some painful distemper holds him upon the rack, and distresses bim with the torture | How little delight can he find in meats or in drinks which are prepared for luxury, when sharp pain calls all his attention to the diseased part? What joy can be find in magnificent buildings, in gay and shining furniture, in elegant gardens, or in all the glittering treasures of the ladies, when the gout torments his hands and his feet, or the rheumatism afflicts bis limbs with intense anguish? If pain attacks au y part of the body, and rises to a high degree, the luxuries of life grow tasteless, and life itself is imbittered to us : Or when pains Jess acute are prolonged through weeks and months, and perhaps stick in our fesh all the night as well as in the day ; how rain and feeble are all the efforts of the bright and gay things around us to raise the soul into chearfulness; Therefore Solomon calls old age the years wherein there is no pleasure. Ecc. xii. 1. because so many aches and ails in that season pursue us in a con. tinual succession ; so many infirmities and painful hours attend us usually in that stage of life, even in the best situation that mortality can boast of, as cuts off and destroys all our pleasures.

But 0 what a wondrous, what a joyful change shall that be, when the soul is commanded to forsake this flesh and blood, when it rises as on the wings of angels to the heavenly world, and leaves every pain behind it, together with the body in the arms of death? And what a more illustrious and delightful change shall we meet in the great rising day, when our bodies shall start up out of the dust with vigorous immortality, and without any spring or seat of pain ? All the unknown enjoyments with which heaven is furnished, shall be taken in by the enlarged powers of the soul with intense pleasure, and not a moment's pain shall ever interrupt them.

4. Another inconvenience and evil which belongs to pain is, that " it makes time and life itself appear tedious and tiresome, and adds a new burden to all other grievances." Many evidences of this truth are scattered throughout all gatore, and on all sides of this globe. There is not one age of mankind but can furnish us with millions of instances. In what melancholy language does Job discover bis sensations of the tiresome nature of pain ? I ani made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me: When I lie down I say, when shall I rise and The night be gone? And I am full of tossing to and fro unta


the dawning of the day ; Job vii. 3, 4. When pain takes hold' of our flesh it seems to stretch the measures of time to a tedious length : We cry out as Moses expresses it ; Deut. xxvii, 67. In the morning we say, would to God it were evening, and at the return of the evening we say again, would to God it were morning.

Long are those hours indeed, whether of day-light of darkness, wberein there is no relief or intermission of acute pain." How tiresome a thing is it to count the clock at midnight in long succession, and to wait every hour for the distant approach of morning, while our eyes are unable to close themselves in slum-, ber, and our anguish admits not the common refuge of sleep. There are multitudes among the race of mortals who have known these truths by sore experience. Blessed be God that we do not always feel thein. But when we turn our thoughts to the heavenJy world, where there is no pain, there we shall find no wearisome hours, no tedious days, though eternity with all its unmeasurable lengths of duration lies before us. What a dismal thought is eternal pain? The very mention of it makes nature shudder, and stand aghast ; but futurity with all its endless years, in a land of peace and pleasure gives the soul the most delighful prosa pect, for there is no shadow of uneasiness in that state to render our abode there tiresome, or to think the ages of it long.

5. Another evil that belongs to pain is, that "it has an unhappy tendency to ruffle the passions, and to render us fretful and peevish within ourselves, as well as towards those who are round about us." Even the kindest and the tenderest hand that ministers to our relief, can hardly secure itself from the peevish quar, rels of a man in extreme pain. Not that we are to suppose that this peevish humour, this fretfulness of spirit are thereby made innocent and perfectly excused : No, by no means ; 'but it must be acknowledged still, that continuance in pain is too ready to work up the spirit into frequent disquietude and eagerness : We are tempted to fret at every thing, we quarrel with every thing, we grow impatient under every delay, angry with our best friends, sharp and sudden in our resentments, with wrathful speeches breaking out of our lips.

This peevish humour in a day of pain is so common a fault, that I fear it is too much excused and indulged. Let me rather say with myself, “ My God is now putting me to the trial what sort of christian I am, and how much I häve learned of selfgovernment, and through his grace I will subdue my uneasy passions, though I cannot relieve my pain.” O it is a noble point of honour gained in a sick chamber, or on a bed of anguish, to lie pressed with extreme pain, and yet maintain a serenity and calmness of soul; to be all meekness, and gentleness, and patience, among our friends or attendants, under the sharp twiuges

of it; to utter no rude or angry language, and to take every thing kindly that they say or do, and become like a weaned child ; Ps. cxxxi. 2. But such a character is not found in every house. À holy soul, through the severity of pain may sometimes in such a hour be too much ruilled by violent and sudden fits of impatience. This proceeded to sucli a degree even in that good man Job, under bis various calamities and the sore boils upon liis flesh, that made him curse the day wherein he was born, and cry out in the anguish of his spirit, my soul chuseth strangling, and death rather than life; Job iii. 1-10. and vii. 15. and there have been several instances of those wlio, having not the fear of God before their eyes, with hasty violence and murderous hands, have put an end to their own lives, through their wild and sinful impatience of constant pain.

But these trials are for ever finished when this life expires : Then all our pains are ended for ever if we are found among the children of God. There is not, nor can be any temptation in heaven, to fretfulness or disquietude of inind : All the peevish passions are dropped into the grave, together with the body of fesh ; and those evil bumours which were the sources of smart and anguisli liere on earth have no place in the new raised body : Tbose irregular juices of animal 'nature which tormented the nerves, and excited pain in the flesh, and which at the same time provoked choler and irritated the spirit, are never found in the heavenly mansions. There is nothing but peace and pleasure, joy and love, goodness and benevolence, ease and satisfaction diffused through all the regions on high : There are no inward springs of uncasiness to ruffle the mind, none of those fretful ferments which were wont to kindle in the mortal body, and explode themselves with fire and thunder upon every supposed offence, or even sometimes without provocation. O happy state and blessed mansions of the saints, when tbis body of sin shall be destroyed, and all the restless atoms that disquieted the flesh and provoked the spirit to impatience, shall be buried in the dust of death, and never, never rise again !

6. “ Pain carries a temptation with it, sometimes to repine and murmur at the providence of God.” Not fellow-creatures alone, but even our sovereign. Creator comes within the reach of the peevish humours, which are alarmed and roused by sharp or continual pain. Jonah the prophet, when he felt the sultry heat of the sun spite fiercely upon him, and the gourd which gave him a friendly shadow. was withered away, he told God himself iu a passion, ihat he did well to be angry, even unto deuth ; Jonah.iv, 9. And even the man of Uz, the pattern of patience, was sometimes transported with the smart and maladies that were upon him, so that he complained against God, as well as complaiued to him, and used some very unbecoming expressions

« ForrigeFortsæt »