Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

20 BAXTER'S DYING TFIOUGISTS. ourselves ! Nature, indeed, teacheth us to be most sensible of our own case ; but grace tells us, that we should not make so great a difference as we do, but should love our neighbors as ourselves. Use 7. And now, O my soul, consider how mercifullyGod hath dealt with thee, that thy strait should be between two conditions so desirable. I shall either die speedily, or stay yet longer upon earth ; whichever it be, it will be a merciful and comfortable state ; that it is desirable to depart and be with Christ; I must not doubt, and shall anon more copiously consider. And if my abode on earth yet longer be so great a mercy as to be put in the balance against my present possession of heaven, surely itmust be a state which obligeth me to great thankfulness to God, and comfortable acknowledgment; -and surely it is not my pain, or sickness, my sufferings from malicious men, that should make this life on earth unacceptable, while God will continue it. Paul had his prick or thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him, and suffered more frommen (though less in his health) than I have done; and yet he gloried in such infirmities, and rejoiced in his tribulations, and was in a strait between living and dying ; yea, rather chose to li$e yet longer. Alas ! it is another kind of strait that most of the world are in. The strait of most is between the desire of life for fleshly interest, and the fear of death, as ending their felicity. The strait of many is, between a tiring world and body, which maketh them weary of living, and the dreadful prospect of future danger, which makes them afraid of dying : if they live, it is in misery ; if they must die, they are afraid of greater misery. Whichway ever they look, be- hind or before them, to this world or the next, fear and trouble is their lot. Yea, many an upright Christian, through the weakness of his trust in God, doth live in this perplexed strait ; weary of living, and afraid of dying ; between grief and fear, they are press- ed continually. But Paul's strait was between two joys ; which of them he should desire most; and if that be my case, what should much interrupt my peace or pleasure ? If I live, it is for Christ ; for his work, and, for his church ; for preparation for my own and others' everlasting felicity : and should any suffering, which maketh me not unserviceable, malte me impatient with such awork and such a life ? If I die presently, it is my gain ; God, who appointeth me my work, doth limit my time ; and sure his glo- rious reward can never be unseasonable, or come too soon, if it be the time that he appointeth. When I first engaged myself to preach the gospel, I reckoned (as probable) but upon one or two years ; and God bath continued me yet above forty-four ; (with such interruptions as others in these times have had;) and what reason have I now to be unwilling, either to live or die? God's