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either the physician to be a fool, or the evil to be incurable. Which of the two is the true case, will appear when we consider whether religion affords a proper remedy against this evil or no.
Since death is inevitable, this world can afford no cure for the apprehensions of it; nothing on this fide the grave can calm these fears of nature: riches and honours are not worth mentioning in this question ; even the wisdom of the world, and all the folemn lectures of philosophy against the fear of death, are but like cordials given to criminals before execution, which lefsen their fears only in proportion as they weaken their fense and understanding. Since then we must necessarily die, the fear of death can be allayed by nothing but the hope of living again: if we can have any good grounds upon which we may entertain this hope, it is evident what an alteration it makes in the case : death is no longer the fame thing; it is a seep, from which we expect to wake to immortality: it is a step from a life of misery to a life of peace and pleasure, attended with no fears but what are fwallowed up in the blessed expectation of eternity. This is the very hope which religion affords. The man who believes in God, and has a trust and confidence in his power, wisdom and goodness, sees manifold reason to believe that God made him for better purposes, than to live a few years upon this stage in misery and affliction: he cannot suppose that a Being of such excellency of wisdom and goodness sent him into the world merely to live in perpetual fears of going out of it again. All the visible works of nature are liable to decay and dis
solution; and in that we are mortal, we are akin to all things round us : but then, of all the works of God, man alone lives in continual apprehensions of his diffolution : the material world is void of senses and therefore void of fear; the brutes have so much fear of present danger, as is necessary to their prefervation; but remove from them immediate danger, and they shew no signs of the fear of death. This fear therefore, which is peculiar to man, if it ferves no purpose beyond this world, is an additional misery, which makes the condition of man to be worse than that of the brute which perishes. What Thall we say then that God has made all things perfect in their kind, and suited to their natural enjoyments; and created man only for misery and affliction? God forbid. The truth is, that the creatures, made for this world, have such fears only as are necessary for their preservation in this world: but man, ordained to eternal life, has such desires of life, such fears of death implanted in him, as are necessary to preserve to him that immortality to which he is created : these fears of death are perpetual calls to him, to secure to himself that life which shall never fail ; they are conftant intimations to him to weañi himself from this world, which will so foon fail, and to look out for a more certain abiding place. This is the language of God, speaking to us by the fears and the hopes of nature ; these are the comforts which refresh the soul in the multitude of thoughts which distract it.
But does not this hope, you will say, bring with it a great increase of fear ? The man who lives with
out God may shrink sometimes at the thoughts of death, and the apprehensions of falling into nothing: but the believer has a much greater terror, even the terror of damnation, to alarm
fear and suspicion of his soul, and to keep him upon a perpetual rack. He lives in a state of insecurity ; perfect he is not, but often fins; and every sin refreshes all his fears, and places the awful Judge, armed with anger and vengeance, full in his fight. Put this into his scale, and see which is the happier man, he who has only natural death to fear, or he who fears damnation also.
True it is, there is no comparison between the fear of temporal death, and of death eternal : Fear not them, says our Saviour, who can only kill the body, but fear him who can cajt both body and soul into hellfire: a plain intimation, were any intimation wanting in fo plain a case, that there is no comparison to be made between the fears. But then it must be considered, that the hopes and fears of futurity are not things of our own invention; they will not come at our calling, and go at our bidding; for men hardly fear death itself more naturally, than they do a judgment to come: and the difference between a religious man and an irreligious man does not lie in this, that one fears a future judgment, and the other fears it not ; for, commonly speaking, both fear it, and he the most who has least religion. It is no unusual thing for men to deny God in their actions, who confess him in their fears and apprehensions : and the bravery of irreligion confifts more in hiding these fears froin the world, than in being able to throw them out of the mind. This being
the case, it is very evident, that the natural fear of death is very much heightened by the fears of futurity; which are very corroding and exasperating, where there are no hopes to mitigate and allay them: and this is the irreligious man's case; he loses all the hopes of futurity by his irreligion, but cannot get rid of the terrors and apprehensions of it. And though the religious man may often have reason to fear, yet even his fear is a symptom of health, and is working towards the repentance not to be repented of: for the Lord is his refuge, and God is the strength of his confidence.
But suppose the religious man to be surrounded with the fears of futurity, if he has reason for his fears he must blame himself, and not his religion : religion wants not its comforts, however some who have a sense of religion may, poffibly, be too wicked to be capable of any. Be this as it will, certain it is, that the fear of death arises from nature, and is common to all ; but admits of no cure, but from the comforts and consolations which religion administers. But to proceed :
There are many other evils and calamities in life, which prove daily occasions of sorrow and affliction to us; so many they are, that it would be endless to enumerate them : these are so constantly near us, and do so often overtake us, that a wise man would, if it be possible, always be provided with a remedy. In private life, we suffer often unexpectedly in our fortune, in the loss of acquaintance, friends and relations, and find ourselves bereaved of those comforts of life which were our greatest enjoyments; and not only fo, but given up a prey to forrow and yex
ation of spirit. What shall we do in this case? where Mall we look out for ease? The world has little pity, and yet less help for such fufferers: much less help ftill has it for those, who are seemingly fortunaté and prosperous, and live furrounded with plenty and abundance, but are secretly unhappy, restless and diffatisfied in their minds, and utterly void of that inward peace which is the only fource of pleasure. Thousands there are of this fort, who possess all the world can give, and yet have nothing to enjoy. Others, though they have nothing to disquiet them at present, and have all they wish for, have yet an heart to torment themselves, by raising fad profpects at a distance, and bringing within their view all the calamities which a warm imagination can represent. Consider now upon what foot you will place humán happiness: take the good things of the world, divide them as you please, and try how many you can make easy. You will soon fee fome employing your gifts in the purchase of vice and distempers ; and growing extremely miserable, by having these means of happiness put into their hands. Some you will fee worn out with the care and anxiety of preserving, others tormented with losing their share ; some restless and uneasy, whose minds no outward fortune can cure ; some fearful and suspicious, with whom no peace can dwell; and all perhaps secretly diffatisfied with the prosperous condition in which you have placed them. If this be the condition of human life, and that it is every day's experience bears witness, we must look out for something more solid and lasting than this world affords, if ever we mean to be happy in it: we must