Hopkins - HP BR75 .H65 1710

A Funeral Sermon. Ecclefia!les IX. 5· For the Living ~now that they fhaO die. LIFE, whether an altive fp:1rk !truck out from themeeting ofSoul and Body together, or whatfoever fprightful and bufic thing clfe it be, is the highell: perfeCtion of Corporeal Beings, becaufe the nearefi: rcfembl:lnce of the Divine. The Variety of its Motions, the Multiplicity of irs Funaions, the fecret conveyance of its influences through thofe hidden Channels of the Organs, into the feveral parts of the Body, give it a precminence above all that the inanimate greatncfs or luftre of other things cm attain nntn. Upon this very account Philofophy teacheth us, that thc·le:lft fiy, though it be nothing but Dufi: animated by the Sun, is yet of greater excellency than the Sun it felf; and St~mpfon's Bees than the Lyon that bred them. Thefe nigh t and contemptible Creatures, which fervc tor little clfe than to 1hew the \Vorld in how fmall a Room God can enclofc the fprings and engines of filch various Motions, h:we yet a perfeB:ion beyond a 11 the large Volumes of the He~wcns, !lild the Light and Duration of all the Stars in them: Upon thcfe Principles Solomon m.:tking a Comparifon, in the verfe immediately preceeding the Text, Petween lifclcfs and living things, prefers the meancft of thefe before the beft and nobleft of .the other: .A livinp; Dog Ubetttr than a dead Lyon. . . This though it be true o( all Creatures in general, yet the acconlmodation of it isjlere more particularly intended unto Man; and the derir.:n of the Spirit of God is, to fhew that Life hath a vall: Prerogative above Death. One would think it ftrangc, that there lhould need fo nlucli folem.nity, fttch a train of prcp:tratives, reafous, and fimilitndes to ufhcr ifl, a tonclufion fa obvious and undoubted as this is, th.1t it is :bcttcr to li·ve than to die. And yet, if we ohferve it, the method of the Holy Gho~ is mu~h ftran~cr in confirming fo plain a Tmfis by an abftrufe Argnmcnt, thC Argument we have Ill the Text: For tiJc li1.tinr knoro that they flMII die.' Becaufe weknm.V that we mnfl die, therefore it is better t'o live. This might fe,cm fomcwhat an har01 kind .of Argumentation, were it not, tltit ;~no die is tlle ran: period, fo to die well, and breath out an holy Soul into the arms. of 3. merciful God, is the greatefl: end of Life: Thi s advantage have the Jivi11g. The dead t:an die no more; .For it iJ appointtd muo Men once to die: nor, ifHeb.!P· 1· tHey en i11 this, can they ever recal or amend it. This is th:1t warf.1re, as the Ecclc1: 8. '-:".ifeman calls it, .in which "~e cannot ~wi~e 1~ifbke. But it .is the privilege of the 8 • hvmg, that know~ng the frailty of. the1r }J\•es, and nhe certaJnty of their di!li:>luti~ on, they m1y hy repent~ nee and holmefs, fo prcpare-t:hemflilvcs for death as tOmake it: on\y an happy tranfition from a Temporal to an EternaL Life, and an inlet into endlefs Dlif" and Joy. Sp that if we briefly g.:ttber np the Sum and .Force of rite rea~ fon, V·.'e m:ty find th:tt it lias thus: J,c is better to live th:tu die, becaufc the li'!Jir~'( ~ow thar thry j1Mil die, a:nd the,]$:uowlcdg<? an"l exp~Cht iou of our death is the mort likely